Automakers May Bring Tiny MicroCars to U.S.

Posted: Oct 07, 2008 10:41 a.m.

2009 Ford Ka

2009 Ford Ka

The success of the little Smart ForTwo microcar in the United States has many automakers thinking small.

Kicking Tires reports, "With demand for small cars increasing, Ford is reassessing its decision not to bring" its tiny European city car, the Ka, to the United States. "Similar in size to the tiny Smart ForTwo, the Ka was originally slated only for Europe because Ford didn't think it would sell stateside." Now, "Ford CEO Alan Mulally recently told a Detroit radio station that the crash of the truck and SUV market has led Ford to reconsider."

The AP reports, "A new version of the Ka was unveiled last week at the Paris Motor Show. It will be launched in European markets late this year or in early 2009."  The tiny car was designed for European cities that have narrower roads and more congested traffic that what is found in most U.S. cities.

Jalopnik says the car is "about the same width as the old Kia-sourced Ford Aspire -- remember the Aspire? -- and roughly ten inches shorter. Fortunately, the new Fiat 500-based Ka is also rumored to be at least an order of magnitude more fun to drive."  

2009 Toyota iQ

2009 Toyota iQ

With the wheels pushed out nearly to the corners of the car, it's highly maneuverable even in tight corners.  But it's no race car.  The Ka "in Europe with a choice of 1.2L gas or 1.3L diesel engines," according to Autoblog Green, and "with a start stop system, is rated at 60.3 mpg (U.S.) in Europe."

Ford isn't alone, either.  Autoblog reports, "Toyota's cleverly packaged iQ is also being considered for sales in the US. A company insider told Automotive News that Toyota was looking into the viability of the iQ in the US. The sharp looking micro car goes on sale in Europe beginning in early 2009, and we wouldn't be surprised if it arrived Stateside some time after that."

The return of the Peel P50, however, hasn't yet been officially scheduled.

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