Posts Tagged ‘United States’
When it comes to sub-compact cars, the industry has never been hotter. Rapidly increasing fuel prices around the world have prompted manufacturers to cater to increasing consumer demand for vehicles that can drive long distances on relatively low amounts of fuel. To that end, Fiat recently reintroduced itself to the North American market, selling its vehicles in both the United States and Canada for the first time in decades. Its mission in Canada and the United States is clear: compete with sub-compact vehicle manufacturers and beat them at the game of winning over MPG-conscious consumers.
So, who are Fiat’s biggest competitors in Canada? Who will the company be taking direct aim at in the very near future?
1. SMART (a division of Daimler)
There is perhaps no better-known sub-compcact car manufacturer than the SMART company owned by Daimler. The company has made a name for itself by producing ultra fuel efficient vehicles that have just two seats. The cars are extremely small — up to half as small as modern compact cars and sedans — and they offer unparalleled fuel mileage without incorporating a hybrid engine. SMART cars, especially the SMART ForTwo, have taken off in Canada, the United States, and abroad, as the smart vehicle choice for urban residents who don’t regularly haul equipment, belongings, or more than one other person.
The SMART line of vehicles has also made its way into may urban “car sharing” programs, such as ZipCar, on account of its compact size, ease of maintenance, and the high mile-per-gallon averages that these cars get on the highway. Most of these companies pay for the gas their consumers use, so it’s the wise choice to keep those costs down.
2. The Mini (produced by BMW)
Once produced by the British Motor Corporation, or BMC, the Mini (or Mini Cooper), is a strong sub-compact car offering in the United States and Canada that directly competes with the SMART ForTwo — and, therefore, with Fiat and its 500 model sub-compact automobile. The Mini is one of the longest-running sub-compact cars and was winning this game long before it became fashionable to drive such a small car in North America. Though its original manufacturer is now out of business, the rights to the Mini brand and design cues were recently purchased by BMW for manufacture, sale, and distribution in the North American market.
To that end, the first “new” Mini rolled off the assembly line in Canada in 2009, and it has been a complete success for BMW. The car is undoubtedly a fashion statement and, when it comes to classic design, it bests even the more modern SMART ForTwo in aesthetics. Fiat is competing directly with BMW for the title of leading sub-compact car in Canada, and it’s going to be a tough battle. While BMW and the BMC-based Mini brand have a storied history in Canada, Fiat has been gone for several decades and is a relatively unknown brand for many consumers interested in a new sub-compact model of automobile.
3. The Ford Fiesta
Ford has traditionally been resistant to selling a sub-compact automobile in the North American maker, but as demand has increased for these cars, the company has seen its balance sheet struggle. In bringing the Fiesta to Canada and the United States from the European market where it was traditionally sold, the company has thrown its hat into the ring for the title of leading sub-compact manufacturer. And there’s a good reason to believe that it may end up beating all of the other competitors, including the brand new Fiat 500 recently introduced the Canada. The car is stylish, modern, and far more forward-thinking than either the Mini or the SMART ForTwo.
Lots of Work Ahead
Fiat has its work cut out for it in the months and years to come, as many already-established brands vie for the title of Canada’s leading sub-compact manufacturer. The company has an uphill battle to fight, and only time will tell if it manages to emerge with a great balance sheet and marketshare statistic.
One thing that Fiat has going for it is competitive auto insurance rates. These sub-compacts are relatively cheap to insure which makes them particularly appealing to cost cutting consumers. Drivers can quickly compare car insurance quotes at Kanetix and determine which vehicles best match their budget.