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Old 07-10-2013, 03:59 PM   #41
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Joe - What is the modern equivalent to the 1974 Civic? A car that exists in foreign markets but not here, gets ~50% - 80% better fuel economy using currently available US fuels, and costs the same or less than a domestically-available counterpart?


sixshooter - The same people that would buy that car are walking around with a 20-pound boombox on their shoulder, shopping for a new 50" Mitsubishi rear-projection TV to go in their 1200 square foot house that does not have central air.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:49 PM   #42
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What is the modern equivalent to the 1974 Civic? A car that exists in foreign markets but not here, gets ~50% - 80% better fuel economy using currently available US fuels, and costs the same or less than a domestically-available counterpart?
Well, let's see. (All MPG numbers below are euro-spec, converted to US MPG)

Renault Clio dCi 90, 14,345, 73.5 MPG.

Hyundai i20 1.1 CRDi, 11,740, 73.5 MPG.

Kia Rio 1.1 CRDi, 11,345, 73 MPG.

Smart Fortwo Coupe CDi, 10,675, 71.2 MPG.

Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi, 14,595, 71.3 MPG.

Citroen C3 e-HDi 70, 14,790, 69.2 MPG.

Peugeot 208 1.4 e-HDi, 13,545, 69.1 MPG.

Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI, 13,875, 69.1 MPG.


That's not all of them, I just got bored searching after a while. Obviously there's room in there for the Dacia Sandero, the Fiat Panda, the VW Up!, the Euro-spec Fiat 500, etc...


Obviously these are all diesels, and diesel is slightly more expensive than petrol in the US. As of Jul 8, the nationwide spot average for a gallon of reforumulated regular unleaded (87R+M/2) was $3.66, and for ultra-low-sulpher diesel it was $3.83. That's a 4.6% premium, so you can effectively derate 73.5 MPG to 70.1 MPG and 69 MPG to 65.8 MPG on a dollars-to-miles basis.


It's tough to compare car prices in the US vs. Europe. Anybody who has ever watched Top Gear knows that in the EU, and especially in the UK, cars seem to cost a lot more (in real value) than in north America. So all prices which I have quoted are base-model OTR in UK .

For comparison, what we in the US would consider to be a midrange 2013 Honda Accord sedan (EX trim, 2.4 liter 4-cyl gasoline engine w/ 6-speed manual and 17" wheels) has a US MSRP of $24,605.

The equivalent UK model with all the same specs (same engine, same transmission, same interior, etc.) has an OTR of 27,430, which is equivalent to US$40,957.

Thus, if we use the Accord as a broad generalization, cars cost roughly 50% more in the UK than in the states. So in real terms, the cars in the above list would effectively carry an MSRP of between $11,000 and $16,000 in the US. This, coincidentally, is almost exactly the same as the range of actual MSRPs of the ten cheapest cars available in the US today, and with roughly 65% better fuel economy, on average. (mirror image to bolded text in your leading quote.)

It's almost as though you knew the answer before you asked the question.




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The same people (...) shopping for Renting to Own a new 50" Mitsubishi rear-projection TV to go in their 1200 square foot house that does not have central air.
FTFY.
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Old 07-10-2013, 06:18 PM   #43
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In for modern chinese version of honda in the 70's.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:31 PM   #44
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Obviously these are all diesels, and diesel is slightly more expensive than petrol in the US.
Is the diesel that these cars run on is roughly equivalent to the diesel available here in the United States?


Also, to be clear, you listed a bunch of primarily small European hatchbacks.

Earlier, your premise was that domestic executives in the '70s ignorantly dismissed the notion of US consumers buying small, no-frills-but-high-MPG compacts over large, feature-laden sedans and that there were parrallels with today.

Is your current premise that both domestic and global executives, including those of the Volkswagen/Audi Group, are also being ignorant on the buying proclivity of US consumers when it comes to small, no-frills, diesel-powered compacts?
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:24 PM   #45
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Is the diesel that these cars run on is roughly equivalent to the diesel available here in the United States?
I'm no fuel expert, but from what I can tell, the specs seem pretty much identical. Both have roughly the same energy content, the only noticeable difference being that the spec for ULSD in the US is max 15ppm of sulphur, and in the EU it's 10ppm. (This distinction is functionally irrelevant when you consider that the old standard for LSD was 500ppm.) I gather that apart from the resultant particulate emissions, Diesel #2 is pretty much the same stuff all the world 'round.


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Also, to be clear, you listed a bunch of primarily small European hatchbacks.
Yes. You asked me for cars "that exist in foreign markets but not here," and you were non-specific as to which continent they should come from.

The choice of Euro vs. Asian is mostly a factor of what TV shows I like and what countries I have visited. If there were a Japanese version of Top Gear which I watched on a regular basis, and I'd spent time working in eastern Asia, I'd probably be more familiar with small Asian hatchbacks. And, to be fair, I did include both a Kia and a Hyundai in the list.

EDIT: I also feel that, culturally-speaking, the US has more in common with western Europe than with eastern Asia insofar as values, sensibility of style, financial habits, and so forth. Thus, the car-buyers of the UK, France, etc., are a more valid proxy for north Americans than those of Korea, China, etc.


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Originally Posted by Scrappy Jack View Post
Earlier, your premise was that domestic executives in the '70s ignorantly dismissed the notion of US consumers buying small, no-frills-but-high-MPG compacts over large, feature-laden sedans and that there were parrallels with today.

Is your current premise that both domestic and global executives, including those of the Volkswagen/Audi Group, are also being ignorant on the buying proclivity of US consumers when it comes to small, no-frills, diesel-powered compacts?
I'm not really sure, to be honest. Part of the reason why I find this subject fascinating is that I am often stymied by the behavior of both automakers and consumers when it comes to the subject of both car production and new-car buying. So my writing all of this is as much a journey of exploration as anything else.


When looking back at the performance of consumers and industry in the late 70s and early 80s, it's easy to make absolute judgements, since we have empirical data. So it's not "my premise" that US automakers dismissed small, cheap cars while US consumers flocked to them, it's a simple matter of historical fact. The data speaks for itself.


The same thing happened in the early 20th century when Ford introduced the very notion of the small, inexpensive, no-frills car, starting with the Model N and culminating with the famous Model T. Even by the standards of the day, these cars were cheap in every sense of the word, and they were scoffed by the coachbuilders which were producing much more comfortable, refined, and beautiful cars. Of course, none of those companies are still in business today.


So with regard to forward-looking statements, I really don't know. Obviously there is still a very healthy market for small and cheap- marques such as Kia and Hyundai are proof of this. And I predict that when Chery, Shuanghuan and others start selling in the US, they will be to the present-day what the Germans were in the 1960s, the Japanese in the 1970/80s and the Koreans in the 1990/2000s.

It will be interesting to observe how the industry, and north American consumers, react.

Last edited by Joe Perez; 07-11-2013 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:19 PM   #46
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So.......why doesn't everyone who wants a crummy, no-frills vehicle with pathetic safety standards and great mpg, just start buying NA6s and swapping in diesels?
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:48 PM   #47
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Makes me wish I'd kept my 1991 Honda CRX HF. Averaged 49 mpg on a trip to TX and back, cruising around 74 mph on the interstate.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:33 PM   #48
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So.......why doesn't everyone who wants a crummy, no-frills vehicle with pathetic safety standards and great mpg, just start buying NA6s and swapping in diesels?
Apologies if this was not meant as a serious question. I sometimes find it difficult to distinguish between sarcasm and ignorance.

I'd answer by observing that:

1: Not everyone wants crummy vehicles with pathetic safety standards. Some of them just want inexpensive vehicles which offer good economy.

ii: A lot of people seem to want new cars, as opposed to 20+ year old cars,

C: Performing an engine swap is outside of the capability envelope of the vast majority of car-owners, and

IV: This swap would be illegal in California, and probably in most (all?) other states and provinces in which emissions-testing is commonly performed.
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Old 07-13-2013, 06:47 PM   #49
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1. It was half-serious, there seemed to be lots of responses complaining about weight/features of modern cars........weight being the result of dramatically improved safety, comfort, etc.

2. I don't like driving old crap cans either.......at least for my DD. Then again my last two DD's recorded less than 20mpg combined, so I don't care that much about mpg. If that's a deciding factor in your budget, you need to make some adjustments (the general you that is)

3. It was really directed at those posting in this thread. I think someone on GRM actually has done a diesel Miata.

4. Very true. In the land teen pregnancy, blue laws, and Jebus..........we don't even have annual vehicle inspections let alone emissions testing.
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Old 07-14-2013, 08:43 AM   #50
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Having recently driven a relatively stock '66 VW Beetle with rubber floor mats and a bakelite shift **** mounted on a spindly metal shifter rod, I saw no immediate need for anything more complicated at that moment. The shifter is light with a positive engagement, the steering is tight and direct without being too heavy or light. It had turn signals, windshield wipers, and room for four people. It is transportation that makes no attempt to be your living room. And driving it was enjoyable. It actually made me smile to drive it. I haven't felt that way in a while.

It would not be legal to sell new in this country today.
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