(Image: Oliver Tacke)
Small cars are dropping like flies! Blame it on:
1) Unusually low U.S. gas prices, 3 years running ...
... and ...
2) The "crossover" frenzy: a shift to cars where owners (often older) can "sit up higher". (My aunt just traded her Mazda 3 sedan for a Ford Escape for this very reason.)
The result of poor sales means automakers are dropping small cars from their line-ups:
- Mazda reversed plans to bring its new Mazda2 hatch to the States/Canada (although Toyota sells a rebadged version of the Mazda2 sedan as the Yaris).
- Ford canceled the Fiesta 3-cylinder 1.0t option in the U.S. and is likely dropping the Fiesta entirely once the Ecosport crossover takes its place.
- Smart will no longer be selling a gasoline-powered version of the Fortwo -- EV only from now on.
- Chrysler dropped the Dart (not a subcompact, but it was their smallest & most efficient car)
- GM scaled back production at the plant that makes the Sonic, due to declining sales
- Hyundai dropped the Accent hatchback in the States (but not in Canada) for 2018; the sedan remains
What other small cars are facing the axe?
Well, Fiat 500 sales have collapsed, for one. (To less than half of Mirage sales.) I wonder how much longer it'll be around.
Is the Mirage safe?
I think so.
U.S. Mirage sales have bucked the subcompact sales trend, increasing every year since it's been available. And the company doesn't (yet) have a crossover that can easily replace it in its lineup.
If I were a betting man, I'd say the odds are high we'll see the next generation Mirage in North America, despite what's happening to the rest of the segment.