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Old 01-20-2007, 06:08 AM   #1
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Car choices in the US

I was looking at the 2008 Prius article and was wondering. Why do they make different cars for different countries? I don't understand why we are not given the same choices as other countries and can only get the gas guzzlers. Is it emissions standards? Wouldn't it be cheaper and more profitable for the car companies to make the same models with different options. Why can't we have a CAFE standard as high as Europe? Some one enlighten me please

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Old 01-20-2007, 07:42 AM   #2
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Because we are a different market and in general have different priorities. Europeans have been paying through the nose for gasoline for a very long time, and are much more likely to choose a more fuel efficient car. They also tend to drive in a much more congested city enviromnent, so a smaller size is a plus. Not to mention that european countries are prone to tax very heavily on vehicles with larger displacement engines.

Here it's a totally different game. We tend to idenfity with our cars as much more than a means of getting from A to B, as they become almost an extension of who we are. We think of a dinky little car as reflecting a dinky little person, whereas a real man should be driving a truck or a muscle car whether it's practical or not.

As a result car companies are forced to tune their offerings for each market to give the buyer what he or she wants. In europe that means a Fit with a 1.3L iDSI powerplant and a super-tall CVT. Here that means a Fit with a 1.5L VTEC motor and a shorter final drive for better kick, albeit at the expense of fuel economy. That's why we have hybrid cars. They aren't about fuel economy so much as fuel economy and retaining some of that size and performance.

Not to mention differing emissions and safety standards dictating what is legal to be sold in which market.

'07 Toyota Prius
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Old 01-20-2007, 01:50 PM   #3
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Even Canada vs. the U.S.

What shocks me is that Canada offers additional, efficient vehicles that would easily pass all of the bumper/collision and emission regulations we have here, but it all comes down to marketing.

The Acura CSX, for example, is a Honda Civic with a different exterior, leather interior, and the base K20 engine. Granted the larger engine is a minus, the plus is that it's smaller, lighter and a higher FE is possible.

We would have bought this car if offered in the U.S. instead of the TSX (there's a thread here of where I began researching the process of importing one, but of course wouldn't be feasible).

Both cars are offered up there... but here they didn't want the CSX to "steal" sales away from the TSX. So, it turns out we got the entry-level Acura here, and have to pay a lot more money for it. Secondly, a "Compact Luxury Car" isn't easy to understand here and can be contradictory in terms. For the definition of "Luxury", older generations think of Caddies and Lincolns or younger folks picture a big Lexus, Inifiniti, or a TL-sized Acura as "Luxury". In Europe, the A-Class Mercedes or BMW 1-series Diesel are sub-compact luxury vehicles, and are considered "personal executive" cars. Perhaps that's why SUVs have been so popular here: size and a sense of superiority (albeit false).

It's all marketing and profits.

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Old 01-20-2007, 03:50 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by rh77 View Post
What shocks me is that Canada offers additional, efficient vehicles that would easily pass all of the bumper/collision and emission regulations we have here, but it all comes down to marketing.
I remember making an online review of my 1989 Mazda 323 station-wagon (bad FE because the 5th gear was broken and it had a leaky gas tank) and someone from the U.S.A. said that there was no station-wagon model for 1989. I looked at the printed date on the serial number and the car was in fact manufactured in February of 1989.

Then there's the Turbo 1.0L Pontiac Firefly which apparently isn't available in the U.S. either. The smart car was available as early as 2004 here too (and Canadian smart cars can't be registered in the U.S.A. for whatever reason).
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Old 01-20-2007, 04:39 PM   #5
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Fuel prices too. The average car in France got 46mpg and gas was ~$4/gallon when gas here was under $2/gallon. The downside to cheap fuel is that Americans aren't as insulated to price spikes, but the upside is we consume a lot of the stuff, and drive the overall price up. That's not an upside for us, but, eh...
Originally Posted by FormulaTwo
I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 01-20-2007, 06:34 PM   #6
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Hello -

Don't forget the Japanese market. I think they have a 3-cylinder sub-700cc micro car class with tax benefits, the idea being that they need to conserver gas because they don't have any. I don't know the details, but the bottom like is that the government regulations promote small thrifty cars. In the USA, the government regulations give you a tax break for owning a HUMMER. I wonder who wrote that law ?

Since I am an American, I also identify with my cars. Since I have always thought of myself as small, lightweight, maneuverable, and fuel efficient, I will always think of the CRX as "me".

If I don't own an CRX anymore, does that make me not me?

Old School SW2 EPA ... New School Civic EPA :

What's your EPA MPG?
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Old 01-21-2007, 05:37 AM   #7
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I think the GT6 represents me pretty well, but I'm generally a pretty quiet and calm person, even if I tend to freak people out at times. It will be a much better fit when converted to electric.
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Old 01-21-2007, 09:54 AM   #8
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There is hope. Canada got the Toyota Echo Hatchback (old Yaris in Europe) in 2003, and the USA only got the next generation version.

Canada got the smart and it's been a success, with about 9000 sold in two years, which prompted D-C to sell them in the USA beginning in 2008.

My main beef is with timid European automakers like PSA Peugeot-Citroén, Renault, Fiat and a couple of others. They make some great cars that I would love to be able to buy.

One example was the Renault Scénic 1.9 dCi that we drove 9000 km in Europe in 2005. Five large seats, monster luggage room, 300 Nm of torque, 205 km/h on tap, and 6.5 litres per 100 km overall on our trip, in which five people travelled either at top speed on superhighways or at a crawl in Rome and Paris. We SO need a car like that here.
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Old 01-22-2007, 05:53 PM   #9
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how does the "smartcar" fare when in an accident? it looks much worse than my crx especially if a car smashed into your rear.
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Old 01-22-2007, 06:05 PM   #10
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Mike - your Smart is in the wrong list in the garage. You've got it classified as a gasoline engine, I think. (Now I understand why someone asked you if it was a gasser in another thread.)

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