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Say Goodbye To Small Cars?


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#1 mab01uk

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 03:47 PM

"Young folk often start their driving careers in tiny A-class (or city) cars, exemplified by the Volkswagen Group’s VW Up, Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo. Cheap to run and easy to park, they’ve been popular with young and old alike, but that’s about to change. Ford, Peugeot Citroen, the VW Group and others are having doubts about the economics of producing these tiddlers, which also make small profits."

https://www.telegrap...endation-widget

 

 



#2 unburntfuelinthemorning

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 04:12 PM

Crazy world.



#3 Ethel

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 04:18 PM

It is a thought. It's always been true that there's little in the way of cost savings when you still need to put a wheel on each corner and an engine, gearbox, brakes and so on.

I don't suppose they any longer sell in the volumes that Mini did, nor will there be the versatility of sitting other bodies atop the floorpans to split expensive development costs.

We could find even more badge engineering being the solution

Perhaps there'd be greater savings when we've all gone electric? With batteries being a bigger and more proportional chunk of production costs, size and weight might matter once more.

#4 Tupers

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 05:41 PM

Harry Metcalfe has an interesting take on small cars being discontinued due to up coming due to the struggle of reaching up coming emissions standards. It’s in the video below from 29:00.

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=g6Yx4rvB8VE

#5 Ethel

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 07:00 PM

Harry Metcalfe has an interesting take on small cars being discontinued due to up coming due to the struggle of reaching up coming emissions standards. It’s in the video below from 29:00.

https://m.youtube.co...h?v=g6Yx4rvB8VE

Don't get his logic, if they're counting each car sold towards the fleet average then a small petrol/diesel car is still going to be better than a bigger one. On emissions alone you'd want to replace the worst polluting/higher volume models first, which is surely the point of the "fleet" regulation.



#6 Tupers

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 07:13 PM

I would imagine that the majority of hybrid and full electric cars (the ones that help their fleet average) are larger & more expensive 4x4/crossovers and large saloon cars.

Although they do make an electric UP they’re expensive so the majority of their small cars aimed at young people that are sold will be petrol or diesel(?) and pollute more than the larger hybrids and electrics.
VW and other manufacturers will have to either dramatically reduce the price of small electric cars to give lower income buyers a green option or stop making them to avoid the EU fines for a higher fleet average.

#7 Magneto

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 07:56 PM

Over here in the States where really small cars have never been popular or sold well, we're finding the pace of technology is giving us mid size crossovers and such that get fuel mileage similar to what small cars like a Civic used to do, a good example is the Smart car - EPA rated at 37 mpg, while a 4 cyl turbocharged Mustang will get close to that - why buy a Smart unless you live in the very tight confines of a large inner city? A Buick Encore (smallish crossover) is a mid 30's MPG car too now. Couple that with relatively cheap gas (around $2 a gallon in most areas) and no one cares about small cars. The funny thing is most people buy a crossover because of the higher seating position allowing them to see better  - but how's that gonna work when everything in front of the is equally huge and tall?

 

And pickup trucks are now getting close to 30 mpg....

 

Although I can't abide by how huge our pickup trucks have gotten - they're enormous, and usually only have one person in them and nothing in the back - it's crazy!

 

Over here Ford is discontinuing making all cars except the Mustang, General Motors still has a few but Chrysler has stopped making small cars, and Fiat is on it's last legs - the 500 was down to an electric version only, sold only in a few markets and it's dead now too. Toyota, Honda and Kia/Hyundai still sell some, but they're not really small anymore unless compared to a pickup truck!

 

I'd rather have a small, well appointed comfortable small car - which is why I drive Mini/MINIs


Edited by Magneto, 15 September 2019 - 08:02 PM.


#8 unburntfuelinthemorning

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 08:40 PM

Whereas here in the UK we have narrow roads and narrow parking spaces and narrow garages yet our cars are getting wider taller and longer all the time.  We could do with more small cars.



#9 Tupers

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 08:45 PM

Unfortunately you won’t get small cars while keeping modern crash safety standards.

Somewhat ironically the vast amount of body reinforcement and airbags add a lot of weight which negatively affects fuel economy.

#10 paulrockliffe

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 08:12 AM

The whole debate on CO2 emissions from vehicles is completely flawed and this is just another extension of that.  The idea that in order to reduce CO2 emissions we need to be driving bigger cars is the complete opposite of reality.  A huge percentage of journeys are 1 person sat in 1.5-2 tonnes of metal.  In cities all that inherent crash safety is irrelevant at speeds well under 30mph.

 

My view is that if there was genuine desire to reduce CO2 emissions (and air quality in cities), we would legislate for a new class of vehicle - 1 or 2 seats, 300kg, 50mph, half the width, powered tow-pods to put goods or kids in something like that.  Smaller than the original Mini and work towards removing other vehicles from city roads over time.  Cheap, practical, minimum weight being moved around and would allow for doubling of the number of lanes.

 

I live in the Countryside, commute 20 miles 2-3 times a week, so my second car does next to no mileage and is completely over the top for what it does.  There's no real alternative though.  I would get a motorbike if they weren't a pain in the cold/wet and if someone wouldn't knock me off.  My local garage is a Can Am dealer, so I looked at them, not in any seriousness, but even second hand they're £8k!  So I'm obviously sticking with my £1k Lexus IS200.

 

Going back to the original article, I don't think it's really right.  I learned to drive 20 years ago, even then we all  learned in Civics and Almeras and the like, there was only really the Ford Ka that was much smaller and that's still a decent size.  The VW Up replaced the VW Fox which was bigger, the reality is that these small cars have only been around for a few years, other than the Smart Car.  I'm ignoring the Toyota IQ because no one bought one.  

 

As someone who likes Minis essentially because they're small, this topic annoys me because the 'right' answer would give us some genuine modern versions of the Mini.



#11 unburntfuelinthemorning

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 08:32 AM

A friend drives a 1969 Morris Minor.  It's had one or two engines and various mechanical and bodywork repairs to keep it on the road.  It gets 40mpg which is similar to many modern petrol engined cars, so on the CO2 front it is comparable in regard to fuel useage.  Granted the toxic exhaust emissions will be higher. 

 

From a CO2 point of view is it better to have kept a car from 1969 and repaired it or would it have been better to have scrapped it after seven years say and made a new one from scratch.  And then the same in another seven years.  He'd be on his eighth car now. 

 

It would even have been relatively simple to upgrade the engine when replaced to something meeting more recent emission standards thus reducing the toxic exhaust gasses too. 

 

But then car manufacturers wouldn't sell the volume of vehicles they sell now so lets forget that idea.  It's the economy stupid.

 

Us Mini enthusiasts should be supported for saving waste, recycling, driving economical cars which take up little space and generally being solid chaps.


Edited by unburntfuelinthemorning, 16 September 2019 - 08:34 AM.


#12 Ethel

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:07 AM

Not to mention the advanced biodegradability technology that every Mini is fitted with  :wacko:

 

Things might be changing: the next bit of EU regulation in the pipeline will force manufacturers to look harder at that too. There'll be an even more direct correlation than fuel emissions to how much stuff is used to make a car when the bean counters ask how much stuff will need disposing of.

 

How many new car drivers actually own it is another factor. The mainstream auto manufacturers have been precariously sat on the edge of a credit crisis for years. Downsizing the risk, along with the size and net costs of their car lease portfolio could be a welcome way out. Though underwriting the risk might have to be another thing for the bank of mum 'n dad.



#13 paulrockliffe

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:11 AM

There's a strong argument that the reason so many people have cars is that they're relatively cheap to make because they're made in volume.  I'd counter that by arguing that if there weren't so many versions of the same rubbish then you'd have the economies of scale without needing to flood the market , but it's essentially a good thing that so many cars are made and turned over.

 

Problem with your mate and his Morris Minor is that if I applied that principle to my Mini/Second Car situation, the Mini would get nicked from where I park when I commute.  If I could park at work I'd probably use it everyday - It's fibreglass so isn't gong to rust and it's getting a Nissan engine, so it's only the security side that's a problem.  I can't really solve that, but even if I could the issue is as much that scrotes think it's easy to nick, so they'll try.  I'd be gutted if it was stolen!



#14 Ethel

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:45 AM

"In cities all that inherent crash safety is irrelevant at speeds well under 30mph."

 

Maybe there's a "paradigm shift" ( >_<) in the offing there too. If self driving cars become a reality, or even if the technology only gets to "cars designed so well they're impossible to crash", as a certain somebody said once (almost), then the  emphasis might switch to the factors outside that can't be controlled by car design - cyclists & pedestrians and the damage 2 tonnes of SUV can do to them. More so, if they're part of the legislators' plan to cut the congestion. 

 

"My view is that if there was genuine desire to reduce CO2 emissions (and air quality in cities), we would legislate for a new class of vehicle"

 

Like this?

002.png

 

It'd never catch on surely  :P



#15 paulrockliffe

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 10:21 AM

Is that Kei Car spec?  I've not come across any modern ones, but I had a look.  Can I get one of these on the road in the UK:

 

https://www.topgear....rs-we-need-uk#3

 

They're still bigger (width is the issue as you can't get two on a standard carriageway) and heavier than required, they're a bit closer to trying to be proper cars than working towards what's required, but I'd happily start from there.

 

On the crash safety side, although that's a significant blocker, according to the Climate Lobby, we're all going to die of weather and this is urgent, so perhaps more people dying in cars is a sensible step?  Not sure I'd be happy if they gave me what I want but said only a computer can drive it!






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