Photo of a compact car.
Ford and General Motors are trying to gain ground in the subcompact car market. CC by randomduck/Flickr

Since the 1970s, sales of subcompacts have taken off. Since then, domestic automakers have been trying to get a share of that market. Small and inexpensive cars with great gas mileage  have largely been the domain of Honda and Toyota. GM, Ford and Chrysler have been trying to get in on it for decades. A new Ford Focus in the works. GM is set to start selling the Chevy Cruze very soon. Both car makers seem to be poised for aggressive marketing of those models.

Not long until the Chevy Cruze

Though the marketing for Chevrolet in past years may give the impression that the company only wants to sell trucks and SUVs, nothing could be further from the truth. There are actually two Chevy cars that list for less than $15,000 and get 25 mpg or better. Those are the Cobalt and the Aveo. This year’s big Chevy debut is the Volt, but make no mistake. The Cruze is aimed right at competing with Honda and Toyota. According to the New York Times, the Cruze will get 26 miles per gallon on the standard model. Also up to 36 mpg on the highway. The Cruze retails for $16,995.

Oh, Ford is still here too

The Ford Fiesta, a subcompact, gets 29 mpg and 40 mpg, city and highway, and has been selling incredibly well. The Focus is getting a facelift, and a new one will be out for 2012. The basic Focus now gets 25 mpg. A Focus costs $16,640, and the Fiesta lists at $13,320. That makes either of those cars comparable to the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla. Fiat and Chrysler joined forces earlier this year. Fiat has been selling subcompacts in Europe for a long time, so expect one in the U.S. next year.

New look for Big Three

Chrysler, Ford and GM, “The Big Three,” want to change the public’s perception. It is not that none of those companies have ever tried to sell a subcompact — far from it. Buying American is something all three car makers want people doing, and all three will get aggressive in getting the name out there again.

Sources

New York Times: http://nytimes.com/2010/09/09/business/09auto.html?_r=1&ref=automobiles

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