Bring back the Geo Metro! - Page 3 - Fuelly Forums

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Old 03-28-2014, 12:59 AM   #21
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There's not really a huge demand in the US for these small cars anymore. By the looks of things, of the very few environmentally conscious Americans that do exist, they tend to opt for Hybrids. Fuel is still dirt cheap in the US, and has been for decades, where as our fuel, currently at around $10 a gallon, has been steadily increasing for decades, combine that with emission regulations that have become stricter and stricter, small economical hatchbacks are still the top choice for most of Europe.
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:36 AM   #22
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Fuel used to be dirt cheap in the US. It's still not at European levels but it's expensive enough to get our attention for sure. It's 35-40% of that $10/gallon mark, and a shocking 300-400% of what it was 15 years ago. Either it was this price in Europe at that time or Europe hasn't experienced as severe of an increase as the US has (though, as has already been said, actual prices are still way lower).

That's why Smart, Mini, and Fiat are here and why some other brands have smaller cars than before, as well as all the hybrids and electrics, a slightly improved acceptance of diesel, and vehicles designed with fuel economy as an actual priority instead of an afterthought with technologies such as GDI, CVTs, more and more gears in automatic transmissions, aerodynamic mods like grille shutters, etc.

Availability of better fuel economy isn't as great as it is in Europe but it's nowhere near as bad as it was a few years ago, the problem is just that people would rather go deeper into debt or drive less than drive something efficient.
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:40 AM   #23
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There's not really a huge demand in the US for these small cars anymore. By the looks of things, of the very few environmentally conscious Americans that do exist, they tend to opt for Hybrids. Fuel is still dirt cheap in the US, and has been for decades, where as our fuel, currently at around $10 a gallon, has been steadily increasing for decades, combine that with emission regulations that have become stricter and stricter, small economical hatchbacks are still the top choice for most of Europe.
And that hasn't changed since at least the early 1960s. There have been several fuel crises in the intervening time. Each time the US makers introduce a "small" fuel saving car, and each time it doesn't sell more than a year or so. To be perfectly truthful, and politically incorrect, nobody really likes small underpowered cars. The only reason they sell in Europe or Japan, or anywhere else, is high fuel prices which (economically) force people to buy them. Tax structures get into the act, too, with disproportionately high taxes on anything other than the smallest, cheapest, most basic cars.
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Old 03-28-2014, 07:47 AM   #24
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Thats not true. Going by the data right here on Fuelly, the twelve 1.0L manual Metro's tracked average 43.5 MPG vs. 39.9 MPG for the new Mitsubishi Mirage (2014), which you said is the best of the 3. I don't know how you get the cost of a new Metro being $13k today? I bought my '98 new in '99 for $7200 at a dealer. If GM had kept this model line going, with low cost and efficiency as the primary market, advertised and marketed it aggressively, they may have been able to keep the price down in that same ballpark. Good condition, low mileage, used Metros currently go for well over the Blue book value and are pretty tough to find. People know a winner when they have one in their hands!
I was using EPA numbers which, along with the NEDC and Japanese tests, control for all the variables; trip route, driving style, weather, etc. that we deal with on the road. The numbers may not come out close to the 'real world', but they are the best apples to apples comparison between models available.

The 2014 Mirage is a brand new model. The numbers here are going to be skewed by any break end period miles being a higher percentage of the total miles. With the geo that is less of an issue. It may not even be an issue with Geo's on their second, third, or even fourth owner.

Except for maybe a few in Australia, the Mirage entries here have only seen winter. Between the cold temperatures and winter blend fuel, fuel economy drops during a mild winter. For most of the US it has been harsher. The Geo numbers here reflect cold winters, hot summers, and the ideal fuel economy temps in the spring and fall.

Then there is a self selection bias with Fuelly. We, the users, generally care more about our fuel economy than the broad public. The interest in it here isn't the same across the population. It's a scale of some wanting to see how little fuel they can burn to others that just like keeping track of it. The youngest Geo is 13 years old, and there really isn't much more beyond fuel economy for someone to keep one running. So the owners of it here likely are more along the line of seeing how little fuel they can burn compared to the owners of nearly any new car here.

As to a new Geo's price today, inflation will bump what you paid in 1998 up over $10k. How many airbags does your Geo have? The Spark has 10 with a more robust frame. The Spark also has a longer list of standard features, which is what the consumer as come to expect. The only passenger cars that I am aware of coming stripped like econo boxes of the past are the smart fortwo and the Nissan Versa sedan. Hyundai and Kai don't even offer strippers anymore.

The Geo got great fuel economy because it had a manual mated to the 1L. manual transmissions are dying out in the US. The 2001 Geo wasn't even offered with a manual. They only sell in well in sports cars. This has lead manuals offered even in economy cars to be geared higher for performance over economy. Whether due to a change in the transmission gearing or increased weight from mandatory safety improvements, the 2000 Geo's, with manual and 1L, combined EPA had dropped 4mpg.

The Nissan Versa sedan starts at $11,900. That price is possible because it is a stripper using an outdated engine and transmission. Which shows up in its fuel economy ratings. In order to keep a new Metro cheap, GM would have to follow the same path. keeping it small would save some more cost over the Versa. Then it would be competing with the smart and iQ. Neither of which are big sellers. Or they could make it a little bigger, use a newer engine and transmissions, make all the features the vast majority will buy anyway standard, and the $10k~$11k price will rise to above $12k. Which is the Spark.
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Old 03-28-2014, 08:08 AM   #25
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Another driver for higher costs in new cars, besides inflation, is the increase in mandatory safety equipment. Air bags were mentioned, but we also add mandatory Vehicle Stability Control (by whatever name), changes in structure to meet new and more severe crash tests, tire pressure monitoring systems, agreements with SiriusXM forcing most vehicles to be equipped with satellite radios, upcoming requirements for backup cameras, and the list will no doubt go on.

As far as I know, none of the fuel mileage estimates include any full-throttle accelerations. Imagine a right-angle turn onto a short uphill on-ramp to a high-speed Interstate (motorway, autobahn). Seems to me that test ought to be part of the fuel mileage estimate.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:49 AM   #26
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To be perfectly truthful, and politically incorrect, nobody really likes small underpowered cars. The only reason they sell in Europe or Japan, or anywhere else, is high fuel prices which (economically) force people to buy them. Tax structures get into the act, too, with disproportionately high taxes on anything other than the smallest, cheapest, most basic cars.
I can only imagine with Stereotyping like that, you've haven't been to Europe, or driven a European marketed car for 20+ years? Unfortunately a lot of Americans still have that 1950's view that "Bigger is better" but the truth is, even the smallest cars have pretty powerful engines now. Almost everything is Turbocharged or Supercharged or as VW's are, both, meaning even a small car has amazing performance. The 1.0 litre Ford engine with 125 HP springs to mind, even my little Abarth has 170 HP from it's modest 1.4 litre engine, 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, but is still capable of 50 MPG.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:56 PM   #27
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I can only imagine with Stereotyping like that, you've haven't been to Europe, or driven a European marketed car for 20+ years? Unfortunately a lot of Americans still have that 1950's view that "Bigger is better" but the truth is, even the smallest cars have pretty powerful engines now. Almost everything is Turbocharged or Supercharged or as VW's are, both, meaning even a small car has amazing performance. The 1.0 litre Ford engine with 125 HP springs to mind, even my little Abarth has 170 HP from it's modest 1.4 litre engine, 0-60 in 6.9 seconds, but is still capable of 50 MPG.
They are also nice cars. The small American cars of the past weren't exactly something you wanted to spend a lot of time in. That has changed with recent models. We are now getting those engines with a nice car to go with them. The Cruze is a 'compact'(B-class) car here and it is outselling the C-class Malibu. That might not be surprising, but the Cruzes numbers aren't far off from some competitors midsize sedans' numbers.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:50 PM   #28
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There are a lot of numbers in the automotive world that do not add up. For example, the cited Ford 1.0 liter engine making 125 horsepower. 125 horsepower per liter is mighty healthy output, even with a supercharger (and a turbocharger is just a form of supercharger). At that horsepower, and more-or-less standard efficiency, that engine would be burning about 10 (US) gallons of fuel per hour, and making about 1.2 million BTU/hour. Somewhere around a third of that heat leaves through the cooling system, and I doubt very strongly the car has a big enough radiator to handle that heat load.

I have been half-heartedly trying to learn just how the horsepower is measured. Is it instantaneous, as on a Dynojet dynamometer? Or is it sustained, as in driving a generator or pump? We have a lot of irrigation pumps around here, some powered by diesel, some by propane, some by natural gas. Few of them make more than about 30 horsepower per liter; most less; but all of them are expected to run for a week or so at a time essentially untended. The people who buy irrigation pumps and engines buy the size engine that will do the job, and don't want to pay for an engine bigger than needed. If a small engine could really produce those huge horsepower ratings, and be reliable while doing it, you can rest assured we'd be seeing them power the pumps.
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Old 03-28-2014, 09:36 PM   #29
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Ford's site is only listing the peak numbers for the 1L Ecoboost. It is 123hp at 6000rpm and 125lb.ft. torque at 2500rpm. These should be the numbers at the wheel.
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:42 AM   #30
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The Geo got great fuel economy because it had a manual mated to the 1L. manual transmissions are dying out in the US. The 2001 Geo wasn't even offered with a manual. They only sell in well in sports cars. This has lead manuals offered even in economy cars to be geared higher for performance over economy. Whether due to a change in the transmission gearing or increased weight from mandatory safety improvements, the 2000 Geo's, with manual and 1L, combined EPA had dropped 4mpg.
For me, the ideal car is one which gets me around for the least trouble and cost. The Metro is not only right at the top in MPG of any commonly available vehicle, but its the lowest cost to purchase, operate, maintain and repair. Only its manual tranny is sometimes an irritation. When I lived in San Francisco, the heavy stop/go traffic and steep hills were tiring with all the constant shifting and clutching. I think if GM had continued the model, they could easily have improved the auto tranny to come close to matching the manual in fuel economy. In fact, if they had continued to improve the car (rather than discontinue it) I am sure they could have tweaked even more mileage and/or power out of that L3 engine. Kept it as the flagship economy car of their entire line, they could have competed well with the hybrids in MPG and overall costs of operation. Even if they didn't make much money on the car, a company the size of GM could certainly afford to keep making it. Gas prices will just keep going up. Seems that eventually a car like the Metro would become more desirable. But then I am also amazed by how much pain at the pump the typical american driver can put up with. When I fill up my Metro now for about $25, and I see the guy next to me with his big truck and the pump is "ching chingin" rolling past $100 I can't help but just shake my head.
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