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European Cars In The U.S.  
User currently offlineaf773atmsp From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2688 posts, RR: 1
Posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5377 times:

While MPVs, wagons and hatchbacks are popular in Europe, in the U.S. sedans, pickup trucks, and SUVs are probably the most popular types of vehicles. There seems to be a strong presence of hatchbacks in America, but wagons are still pretty limited, and the only true MPV sold in the U.S. at the moment is the Mazda5 (we still have plenty of options for minivans but those are much bigger than European MPVs).

So with gas prices constantly getting higher and Americans looking for more efficiency will wagons once again make a comeback, and will MPVs be introduced to the U.S.? I don't have a lot of knowledge about what kind of road taxes European countries have, but aren't there certain taxes that make people want more efficient vehicles like wagons and MPVs? Will certain taxes in America be raised or introduced to convince people to buy more practical vehicles? Are there other factors that may convince Americans to look at wagons and MPVs over the usual crossover SUV?

As I'm typing this I'm looking at some cars from Volkswagen, Opel, and Citroen. I'm in love with their MPVs and they're definitely my practical dream car. Ford is introducing a Transit Connect MPV to America next year, but from pictures I'm not sure if its being marketed as a minivan or a commercial van.

A few of my favorite MPVs:
http://www.carautoportal.com/car-images/citroen/citroen-c4%20Picasso/citroen-c4%20Picasso-2008.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d1/VW_Sharan_(1).JPG

http://www.midlandsbusinessnews.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Vauxhall-Zafira-Tourer.jpg

And here is the 2014 Transit Connect:



It ain't no normal MD80 its a Super 80!
123 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineBraniff747SP From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 2984 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 5356 times:

Out of all the great cars that they have in Europe and that we're screwed out of here in the US you go and choose the familymobiles? If I were going to import a Euro-only car there are many on the list before any MPV...


The 747 will always be the TRUE queen of the skies!
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 5333 times:

Quoting Braniff747SP (Reply 1):
Out of all the great cars that they have in Europe and that we're screwed out of here in the US you go and choose the familymobiles?

No kidding. I'll take an RS3 and M550d. Maybe squeeze a KTM X-Bow on the boat if there's room.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4000 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 5314 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I drove a Citroen Picaso as a walk-in, take-that-or-else rental from BRU a year ago. I was very surprised at how well it handles given its... unusual shape.

Quoting Braniff747SP (Reply 1):
If I were going to import a Euro-only car there are many on the list before any MPV...

None of them you can afford, until you get to the MPV I bet... So maybe that selection isn't so bad.
  



I've got $h*t to do
User currently onlinegarpd From UK - Scotland, joined Aug 2005, 2659 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 5247 times:

Why MPVs? Is there some "must be big" thinking going on here?

In the UK at least, the smaller the engine and thus it's emissions, the less tax you pay and less fuel you need.
Which mainly translate into: Smaller Car = Less cost.

A 2009 onward Ford Fiesta will cost £30 to tax for a year for the 1.4 Diesel, £80 to £120 a year for the Petrol engines).

A 2012 Citroen C4 Picasso with the smallest diesel will cost you £125 a year to tax.

Bigger is not always better.
Of course, it depends what your circumstances are. If you have a large family, an MPV is a must.
But if you're on your own or a couple a Fiesta makes a lot of sense.

And before anyone say anything about "But the smaller cars are less well equipped". Think again.
Depending on the trim level you choose, most cars these days will be fairly equally equipped.



arpdesign.wordpress.com
User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6655 posts, RR: 11
Reply 5, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5210 times:

Taxes aren't unified in Europe but there is a framework, it's common to tax according to CO2 emissions for example (when in the past it was number of cylinders, displacement, or power that was the basis). All going in the same direction, the most frugal the car, the less taxed. In France we have a "bonus/malus" on top of that, in a narrow margin of emissions you don't get another tax, under it (mostly very small cars and electric cars) you get a bonus, and over it an increasing tax.

But the main difference is fuel taxes. More than half of the price of gas here is tax, making it twice as expensive as in the US. A pretty big incentive to only drive what you need, when you need it.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineaf773atmsp From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2688 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5119 times:

The reason I bring up MPVs is because if someone in Europe wants a family car, or just a car that can carry more people and cargo than a regular car then a MPV is usually considered. In that same situation in America a SUV is the preferred choice over a minivan. The U.S. doesn't have gas prices like Europe or any taxes that I know of that make a MPV more attractive than a SUV. We are also a culture that for whatever reason, sees minivans as unattractive and the same would probably be said for MPVs. I don't how much better fuel economy MPVs get over SUVs, but if gas prices keep getting higher it may finally convince people to look at minivans or MPVs.

For whatever reasons wagons also haven't been popular in the U.S. It seems that if people want something bigger than a sedan then the next choice is a SUV even though with a wagon you get the same fuel economy as a sedan, but almost as much cargo room as a SUV.



It ain't no normal MD80 its a Super 80!
User currently offlineBoeing717200 From United States of America, joined Jan 2013, 856 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5118 times:

Quoting af773atmsp (Reply 6):

Minivans not popular in the US? You should see my street. Don't by the exaggeration. Many people have SUV but must are in the mid size category. Very few people can afford the $60k+ gas guzzlers.

[Edited 2013-05-26 08:35:07]

User currently offlinePolot From United States of America, joined Jul 2011, 2187 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5116 times:

Don't get fooled, the crossover market (especially small crossovers) is large in the EU and growing larger.

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 9, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 5087 times:

Quoting af773atmsp (Reply 6):
We are also a culture that for whatever reason, sees minivans as unattractive and the same would probably be said for MPVs.

Whatever reason? The reason is that they are lame.

Quoting af773atmsp (Reply 6):
For whatever reasons wagons also haven't been popular in the U.S. It seems that if people want something bigger than a sedan then the next choice is a SUV even though with a wagon you get the same fuel economy as a sedan, but almost as much cargo room as a SUV.

I can tell you exactly why: it's CAFE and the gas guzzler tax. Those pushed out the wagons and ushered in SUVs.

People have to remember that before those laws were enacted, SUVs did exist. Pretty much every manufacturer made one: Jeep CJ and Wagoneer (possibly the first modern, kid hauling SUV), Ford Bronco, Chevy Suburban (at the time it was already about 40 years old), IH Scout, and Dodge Town Wagon. They were all utilitarian by modern standards, but they were trucks and trucks were for work. If you wanted to haul kids, you bought a wagon.

Once CAFE and the gas guzzler tax hit the scene, consumers were punished for buying the big station wagons they really wanted. The SUVs got around the regulations and manufacturers obliged by bringing more civilized and luxurious SUVs to the market, which were for all intents and purposes the same as the station wagons. That is how SUVs came off the farm and pushed out station wagons for trips to the school and the mall.

The moral of the story is that the consumer always wins and capitalism always wins so you might as well embrace it rather than fight it.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineDreadnought From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 8841 posts, RR: 24
Reply 10, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5001 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):
The moral of the story is that the consumer always wins and capitalism always wins so you might as well embrace it rather than fight it.

The moral of the story is that government screws up the market when they try to be too smart. A simple gas tax, along the lines of Europe, and all vehicles get hit equally, resulting generally smaller vehicles on average. But the US government went to CAFE, hitting some classes hard, some less, and exempting others altogether (light trucks being originally exempt because of the Farmers' lobby).

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Because of CAFE, station wagons, which used to be very common here have completely disappeared. I don't think any American manufacturer makes one anymore - the Dodge Magnum was the last. Subaru sells the Outback but it's not a full-size wagon.

Europe was smarter, and as a result they have a variety of good station wagons for sale. I used to own a BMW 540i station wagon which was awesome..



Veni Vidi Castratavi Illegitimos
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14026 posts, RR: 62
Reply 11, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4989 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 5):
Taxes aren't unified in Europe but there is a framework, it's common to tax according to CO2 emissions for example (when in the past it was number of cylinders, displacement, or power that was the basis). All going in the same direction, the most frugal the car, the less taxed. In France we have a "bonus/malus" on top of that, in a narrow margin of emissions you don't get another tax, under it (mostly very small cars and electric cars) you get a bonus, and over it an increasing tax.

But the main difference is fuel taxes. More than half of the price of gas here is tax, making it twice as expensive as in the US. A pretty big incentive to only drive what you need, when you need it.

  

I just bought myself a Smart as a second car beside my Landrover Defender for local trips. I figured that 95% of the time I´m driving alone within 50 km of my home and I don´t need a 3 ton truck to go to work or to go shopping in the supermarket in the next smalltown (I´ll still keep the defender, so that I have something, which can get through the snowdrifts here in winter and which can haul a big trailer).
The additional bonus with the Smart is that, if I drive to a city like Frankfurt or Cologne, I´ll always find some parking space, while the Landrover is much too big to fit into the usual multistory car parks.
And it also makes a big difference if my car uses 4 liters of Diesel on 100 km or 10 liters.
And I don´t need a penis extension, so the little car does me well.

Jan

[Edited 2013-05-26 12:26:38]

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 12, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4955 times:

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
A simple gas tax, along the lines of Europe, and all vehicles get hit equally, resulting generally smaller vehicles on average.

The only reason there should be a gas tax is to fund highway infrastructure. And when I say "highway infrastructure" I mean actual highway infrastructure, not diverting a bunch of it to subsidize money losing public transportation.

I'm okay with hitting cars with it though, even though they do little damage to roads compared to trucks. If the US wants to help save fuel, the way to do it is less government intervention via tax equalization between diesel and gas as well as matching European diesel emissions rules so those cars could be imported with minimum cost.

The point is that the only valid reason for a gas tax is because the government needs funds to maintain and build roads. Levying a tax (or similarly offering a tax credit) as punishment for driving the wrong car or using the wrong fuel is an assault on freedom and just shouldn't be done.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
I don't think any American manufacturer makes one anymore - the Dodge Magnum was the last.

Actually I think the CTS was the last, but it appears that the new CTS won't have one.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
Subaru sells the Outback but it's not a full-size wagon.

It's not really an option unless you're a lesbian anyway.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineDreadnought From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 8841 posts, RR: 24
Reply 13, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4935 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
Subaru sells the Outback but it's not a full-size wagon.

It's not really an option unless you're a lesbian anyway.

Hey! I like it. Probably the most generally useful vehicle on sale in the US. Reliable as hell, plenty of space for a family of 4, 4-wheel drive take you anywhere in any weather, plenty of space in the trunk, and much better mileage than any SUV.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
Levying a tax (or similarly offering a tax credit) as punishment for driving the wrong car or using the wrong fuel is an assault on freedom and just shouldn't be done.

I disagree (to an extrent). Reduction of our dependence of oil imports is a reasonable national policy. And I would much rather do that by a flat tax per gallon of fuel across the board, then some complicated structure such as CAFE which tries to dictate what companies can build and what people can buy, which as you correctly point out, resulted in the SUV going from being the exclusive realm of hunters, fishermen, and farmers to replacing the more rational station wagon as the typical family car. A gas tax would have resulted in more European-sized cars.

One thing that I would very much like to see diminished is the US' extraordinary dependence on long range transportation by heavy trucks. I would like to see some sort of push to get long range cargo transportation to tranship - i.e. use trucks for the last door-to-door sections, but use trains for the bulk of the miles. All trailers would essentially be standard cargo containers which could be moved onto a train and back in a couple of minutes, like below:



But that can be the subject of another thread.



Veni Vidi Castratavi Illegitimos
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 14, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4921 times:

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 13):
Reduction of our dependence of oil imports is a reasonable national policy.

Reasonable policy for the government, but not reasonable for them to forcibly extend that policy to me personally. It makes perfect sense for the government to strive for better fuel economy for military and government vehicles, but I should drive what I want and not be punished for it. Adding on a tax because the government believes gas is not expensive enough is nothing if not a restriction on freedom.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5712 posts, RR: 18
Reply 15, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4915 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):
punishment for driving the wrong car or using the wrong fuel is an assault on freedom and just shouldn't be done.

You do realize where a huge chunk of your money ends up every time you fill up at the gas station? And no, I do not mean Uncle Sam's coffer.
Textbook one-liners are great but reality is often more complex than that. It's infantile and naive to argue with "freedom" when reality is simply being wasteful with serious consequences. National security concerns should definitely have priority over compensation of deficiencies in someone's pants.


User currently offlinepetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3369 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4907 times:

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
The moral of the story is that government screws up the market when they try to be too smart.

Not really, the morale of the story is that the US government is not that smart. But then we are told that all to often on this forum. 

In the Netherlands there is a similar system as described by Aesma in reply 5. These rules mostly apply to company lease cars, but then the majority of new cars is on lease anyway. Indeed the vast majority of new cars sold in the Netherlands apply to the lowest tax brackets. The applicable tax rate is based on the amount of Co2 a car makes, where the target is increased every year. This year the target is 96 gram Co2/KM for petrol and 89 gram Co2/KM for diesel. Next year the targets are 89/86 and for 2015 the targets are 83/83.

Plug-in (hybrid) electrical cars are tax exempt. Considering we have some of the highest taxes on car ownership the stimulus from a tax exempts car is very large. This shows in the sales figures as well. During the first few months of 2012 the Fisker Karma outsold the Audi A8, BMW 7-series and the Mercedes S-class. (don't have more recent data) The Opel Ampera is sold more in the Netherlands then anywhere else in Europe (May 2012 figures).



Attamottamotta!
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 17, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4895 times:

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 15):
It's infantile and naive to argue with "freedom" when reality is simply being wasteful with serious consequences.

I bought the gas, I'll be wasteful with it if I want to.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlinekiwirob From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 7378 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4885 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 12):

Actually I think the CTS was the last, but it appears that the new CTS won't have one.

If they want to sell it in Europe, and they have said they will, they will need a wagon and a diesel, otherwise very few will buy it even if it is good.


User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6655 posts, RR: 11
Reply 19, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4846 times:

The gas tax in the US should go to fund all your fancy carrier strike groups and other costly military endeavors, since they're mainly used to secure oil countries and routes.

[Edited 2013-05-26 16:39:43]


New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlineb787900 From Canada, joined Sep 2011, 25 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4763 times:

Quoting petertenthije (Reply 16):

I am just curious, why does everything in the US or elsewhere have to be exactly like in Europe/EU? I find that a little unsettling.

Here in Canada, when you purchase a car you only pay sales tax, registration fee, and a few other minor fees. There are no special taxes on top of that. None as far as I know (unless I am mistaken). It does not matter whether it is a large SUV or a smaller vehicle such as Ford Focus/Honda Civic. The insurance rates do differ depending on the vehicle, but that is the case in US, Europe and everywhere else.

I personally prefer 4 door sedans (Charger, Accord, Camry, 300, etc) over compacts, let alone sub-compacts, but that is simply my preference. I do not need the government to decide for me what sort of vehicle I should be driving. I appreciate the freedom of being able to purchase and drive what fits my wants, needs and interests.

Not everything has to be exactly like in Europe.

[Edited 2013-05-26 21:55:03]

User currently offlineCargolex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1271 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 4742 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):
Once CAFE and the gas guzzler tax hit the scene, consumers were punished for buying the big station wagons they really wanted. The SUVs got around the regulations and manufacturers obliged by bringing more civilized and luxurious SUVs to the market, which were for all intents and purposes the same as the station wagons. That is how SUVs came off the farm and pushed out station wagons for trips to the school and the mall.
Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
Because of CAFE, station wagons, which used to be very common here have completely disappeared.

That's really not the case. And if there's one thing I can't stand, it's revisionist history.

Factually speaking, the customers actually didn't want the big station wagons once they discovered something else - the Minivan. In fact, they were walking away from the largest station wagons, at first slowly but then in droves after 1980, for almost a decade before the November 1983 introduction of the Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager.

Indeed, full size cars as a whole got shellacked in 1974, and saw a moderate rebound in 1976 and 1977 - when the GM downsized B and C cars debuted and people bought up the remainder of the outgoing cars - everybody knew that cars that large were a dying breed. But after the 1979 oil shock and subsequent recession, sales of full size cars never really recovered. They continued to sell cars like this for a long time - the Crown Vic, Grand Marquis, and Town Car have only recently departed this mortal coil - but they would never recover to the normal positions they once had, when Ford and Chevy could count on the Impala/Caprice and LTD being one-two in the best seller list.

In the early 1980s people were still buying mid-size wagons - tons of Cutlass Cruisers and Fairmonts, but in those days the biggest wagons were on the wane, and that was largely down, again, to the price of gas, not the CAFE restrictions. For a small but dedicated group who wanted the big wagons, they were still available long into the CAFE era - the basic 1977 GM B-body wagons were available almost unchanged until 1990, and revised, somewhat modernized versions were available until 1996. GM even bothered to update them with OBD-II for 1995-6, and that's twenty years after CAFE. Ford's big Panther-platform wagons lasted until 1991.

In 1976, the last high water mark for the true full sized cars, Chevrolet sold 72,819 full size wagons (Impala/Caprice) and 64,721 mid-size wagons (Chevelle/Malibu). In 1979, they sold 124,615 full size wagons (Impala/Caprice) and 120,439 mid-size wagons (Malibu). All of these were smaller than their 1976 equivalents - and sales went up because the vehicles were better. We'll skip 1980 as that was a terrible year and go straight to 1983 - 53,028 full-size wagons (Caprice Classic), 55,892 mid-size wagons (Malibu Classic) - both outsold handily by the then-new Cavalier subcompact wagon, at 60,756 units. That was before minivans. In 1986, Chrysler sold 222,616 of its own minivans and 35,000 Mitsubihsi-derived Colt Vistas (a kind of mini-minivan).

In 1989, Chrysler sold 468,081 of its own minivans.

That's more than all the full-size wagons on the market that year (Buick Estate Wagon, Chevrolet Caprice Classic, Ford Country Squire, Mercury Colony Park, Pontiac Safari, Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser) combined and more than double the year's sales of a certain new-to-Chrysler product - the Jeep Cherokee.

The fact is they were not that practical as driving vehicles even if they could load alot of stuff, not particularly desirable to all but a few, and they had a stodgy image of 1950s suburbia to overcome for many, many people. It's easy to look back on them now and see them as cool. They are. But they weren't always, or at least not to everyone.

Minivans were much more practical, and in the 1980s, after Chrysler found massive and instant success with those two models, the other manufacturers rushed to get their versions into production. We tend to think of Minivans as being a very uniform segment these days - they're all very similar to one another. But that wasn't the case back then. When a segment is new you see a bunch of different approaches - the same way the first generation of wide-body jets gave us the 747, A300, L-1011, and DC-10 - three different approaches to the concept.

Back then you had the more truck like Chevy Astro, the car-like ChryCo minivans, the Ford Aerostar, the commercial seeming mid-engined Toyota Van, which gave way to the mid-engined Previa, the miniature minivans like the Nissan Axxess and Mitsubishi Expo (and related Dodge/Plymouth Variants), the aging VW Vanagon, Mazda's half-SUV/half-minivan MPV hybrid. Alot of different approaches. The sign of a mature segment is when all the products are essentially the same. Today the only minivan that stands out from the crowd is the Nissan Quest, and not for good reasons.

People chose SUV's for a variety of reasons. One of them was that gas prices fell dramatically in the 1980s and SUV's spoke of manifest destiny and cool, Minivans on the other hand quickly earned the same stodgy reputation as grocery getters as their station wagon predecessors had. Just ten years after the minivan was introduced (in Europe as well as North America - for Europeans the first Minivan was the 1984 Renault Espace), it had become a very monolithic market and Minivans reeked of "Soccer mom." SUV's were more appropriate for your hunting buddy or for recreational activities - they'd been around a long time and were about the outdoors and adventure. They made people feel more interested in an attainable family vehicle. They did the same job as a Minivan but were much cooler and often more interesting.

In the summer of 1997, I could fill up my 455-V8 powered Pontiac Grand Prix, or my 403-powered Olds 88, for 97 cents a gallon. Historically speaking, that was less than a third of the price of gas in 1980, adjusted for inflation. Little wonder then, that people gravitated at that time towards less fuel efficient but "cooler" vehicles that did the same job as the minivan and the wagon. The wagon, by 1997, was virtually dead. The last of the traditional wagons were gone, and only one has been revived since (the now cancelled Dodge Magnum, which also sadly failed to sell).

You can make the argument that CAFE's designation of SUV's as light trucks helped them, because they were bound by less stringent regulations on mileage and emissions. But back then, when I was putting gas into my huge and decadent cars - I also had another GP, a big Eldorado, a Nova SS, some other big detroiters - nobody really cared that much about fuel mileage. If three vehicles were available, a station wagon, a Minivan, and an SUV, the buyers of the 1980s and 1990s were going to choose either the minivan or the SUV. And that's just how the consumers chose it.

Market forces at work.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 9):

Whatever reason? The reason is that they are lame.

I have news for you - that's exactly what people said about Mom & Dad's monster station wagon back in 1983. And in 1973, for that matter, when the cool cars were all personal/luxury coupes and everybody wanted a Monte Carlo, Grand Prix, Cougar, or if they still wanted a little bit of the rapidly waning muscle car magic, a Satellite Sebring or a Mustang Grande. Back then, a station wagon conjured images of Dinah Shore and Levittown.

Quoting Dreadnought (Reply 10):
the Dodge Magnum was the last.

I drove a Magnum right after they debuted, and I loved it. Still do. It was a great car - although it's practicality was limited due to the low height of the roof and the high load level. It was really almost a five-door hatchback. But a nice car and light years beyond the Intrepid it replaced. But the market did not want such a car, and that's why it was quietly dropped. In 2007, just three years after introduction, they struggled to move 30,000 units for the entire year. And that was before the recession. The numbers just weren't there.

[Edited 2013-05-26 22:40:54]

User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 22, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 4732 times:

Quoting Cargolex (Reply 21):
Factually speaking, the customers actually didn't want the big station wagons once they discovered something else - the Minivan.

I think the minivan is largely a parallel phenomenon. If minivans were really what supplanted the big wagons, it doesn't really change the argument when people traded up from minivans to SUVs. They wanted something bigger and didn't care if it burned more gas, so that's what they got despite the government's best efforts.



Quoting Cargolex (Reply 21):
In the early 1980s people were still buying mid-size wagons - tons of Cutlass Cruisers and Fairmonts, but in those days the biggest wagons were on the wane, and that was largely down, again, to the price of gas, not the CAFE restrictions.

Again, this doesn't make the case for government regulation. You're just saying that rather than backfiring, CAFE just did nothing.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineCargolex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1271 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4709 times:

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 22):
If minivans were really what supplanted the big wagons, it doesn't really change the argument when people traded up from minivans to SUVs. They wanted something bigger and didn't care if it burned more gas, so that's what they got despite the government's best efforts.

In 1998, Chrysler's minivans outsold the Jeep Cherokee two to one. But by then, gas prices had been relatively low for 15 years, despite a strong uptick in 1990-1991 thanks to the Gulf war and events surrounding it.

Fuel prices were less of a factor for the average consumer. But consider that CAFE regulations had essentially done what they had set out to do, and more. You're contending that CAFE didn't do anything but steer people away from big cars, and that perhaps it only steered them into big trucks instead.

In 1975, when CAFE was enacted, most American cars got pitiful mileage. I have right in front of me a list of the most efficient cars being sold on the US market in 1974, as the legislation was being debated. The highest mileage traditional American car on the list is the AMC Hornet 2-door hatchback, with a 360 V8, at 17.8 mpg. It came in 43rd. In 49th place is the Buick Apollo 350 at a spectacular 14.7 mpg.

The Apollo and the Hornet - and I've driven both of these, 1974 models too - were compacts at the time, they were the economy-minded small-mid sizes, the equivalent of the Ford Focus today. Best sellers like the Impala and LTD were, in that era, single digit MPG cars.

The goal of CAFE standards was to raise the average fuel economy of ordinary vehicles. And it worked. But it also had some side benefits.

I don't know if you've ever driven a car from 1974 back to back with one from 1994. Let's take two average cars - that Buick Apollo and, say, a Ford Escort. The Escort weighs about 2/3rds as much, is almost as quick, handles far better, and starts every time regardless of weather. The switch to fuel injection in the 1980s as standard was largely mandated by CAFE and emissions standards. Carburetors couldn't do the job. In the 1994 car, you'll also notice a six digit odometer, where in virtually every 1974 car you'll find a five digit odo. What does the Apollo have going for it? Well, it's exponentially cooler, for one thing, but that's not really something an ordinary consumer is going to choose. For most people looking for transportation, the cars of 1994 were much better than those of 1974. And most of that was because the cars needed to be improved for a variety of reasons - some stemming from Emissions and some from CAFE and some from competition from cars from other countries that had more of a tradition of smaller vehicles.

The first fruit of CAFE was the 1977 GM B and C body cars. I've mentioned them before. Today they seem like antiques, but back then, they were a real change. They were the same size as the outgoing intermediates - the Chevelle and such. But they had as much space as the really huge full-size cars they replaced. They were lighter, they were smaller, they handled far better, and they were more efficient. Customers like them, preferred them to the cars they replaced even though they were smaller and had smaller engines. They just worked better. They were still big - but more logical. Work had begun on these cars before CAFE, even before Opec 1, because customers were lukewarm on the cars getting bigger, and they were absolutely monsterous by 1972, when initial planning began. They could not get any larger.

A year later, in 1978, GM's A-body was downsized, and customers liked those too, along with the Ford Fairmont, also introduced for 1978. There were some serious missteps on the way, but overall, having to meet these standards made cars better across the board.

In 1974, cars were built to last 100,000 miles. In 1994, they were still built to that, but they tended to last longer. In 2013, it's common to see cars that are not particularly used up - three, four year old cars - with 120K on the clock in western states. We're at a point where a typical lifespan might be 180,000-200,000 miles or more. That's remarkable for people like me, who's first car was a Triumph TR-6.

Consider that in 2013, the market once served by that Apollo and then by that Escort is now served by the Ford Focus - a car which will run rings around either of those old machines, is exponentially safer, more comfortable, and better in every way to drive - and gets 27 MPG city. 4 mpg better than that tiny old Escort and twice that of the Apollo.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 22):
Again, this doesn't make the case for government regulation. You're just saying that rather than backfiring, CAFE just did nothing.

I don't recall making a case either way, but since you asked...

I don't think you really understand what the goal of CAFE has been, and what it has done overall. You seem to think that CAFE was imposed to curtail choice. It wasn't. It was designed to make the entirety of the choices better - and it did. I drive old cars and new cars. I've literally lost count of how many cars I've had. I prefer old cars. But there is no way I can argue that the cars of 2013 are not better in every way but one than the cars of 1973. They are safer, they are faster, they are more efficient, they are more reliable, and they are more comfortable. The only downside is that they are much more complex. This is a result of improvements made by having to meet new regulations - not only CAFE but safety and emissions as well - and respond to customer demands.

For me, when I buy a car, I want either pure utilitarian practicality or something interesting. And that's reflected in my choices. I usually have one modern and one old car. In past years I used to have as many as six cars at a time. I don't feel any less free to choose what I want because of CAFE.

The goal of CAFE was to provide consumers with a better, more efficient fleet, and it did. And you can go right down to the dealer tomorrow and buy a Dodge Challenger SRT-8 that will be every bit as punchy as a a 1971 Hemi Challenger. It'll be faster, it'll be safer, it'll be more reliable, it'll last longer, it'll need less maintenance for sure (if you know anything about the street hemi), and guess what, it's about as profligate as it gets - 14 MPG in the city. But you're still free to buy it. In fact, it might not have been possible without the technological advances needed to navigate the CAFE requirements in years past. The performance numbers of cars like this are astronomical compared to the performance of cars from the pre-emissions, pre-CAFE days. In 1970, the numbers put up by a car like the Corvette ZR-1 (current) were pure race car numbers. You can buy a car at the dealer today that could win the 1970 LeMans 24 hour.

And don't think it's lost on anyone that the Challenger SRT-8, one of the worst MPG cars you can buy in 2013, is on par with one of the better regular American cars of 1974 in terms of fuel economy. Would you rather have 14 mpg in a 1974 Apollo or 14 mpg in a 2013 Challenger SRT-8? CAFE.

CAFE did plenty. And it isn't just cars that have a CAFE standard. The current CAFE standard for light trucks was formally phased in back in 1992 at 20.2 mpg and has since risen to 24.1 mpg. The first light truck standards were enacted in 1979 but the methodology was different until 1992. Until then, manufacturers could choose to meet the standard set for 2wd or 4wd versions of their products (unsurprisingly, they always chose the lower 4wd number). Even then, the standard was at least 19 mpg from 1986 onward.

To be exempt from the CAFE requirement, a truck made after the 1980 standard had to be above 8500 lb GVWR (until 2010 when regulations were changed). Not many SUVs are in that category - only things like the Hummer H1 and H2, Ford Excursion, and the largest pickups were exempt.

At the height of SUV mania ten years ago, the CAFE standard for light trucks was 20.7 mpg. In 1974, most trucks other than the six-cylinder work truck variety were in single-digit territory.

Now, when gas prices went up again, SUV demand dropped off a cliff, and has remained lower ever since. This isn't to say there is no demand - because there is.

But CAFE improved the vehicles, and it made each vehicle more efficient - and because of the processes needed to make the vehicles more efficient, we saw the side benefit of making the vehicles better overall.



[Edited 2013-05-26 23:47:13]

User currently offlinepetertenthije From Netherlands, joined Jul 2001, 3369 posts, RR: 12
Reply 24, posted (1 year 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4710 times:

Quoting b787900 (Reply 20):
I am just curious, why does everything in the US or elsewhere have to be exactly like in Europe/EU? I find that a little unsettling.

Did I say the USA had to take our approach? I responded to a statement that the [US] Government made a mess of how they implemented vehicle taxes, and that this was typical for any Government intervention. So I explained our approach to car taxes and that it seems to have the desired result. That's all. Now if that is enough to get unsettled I would suggest you got to a forum populated by US / Canadian members only.  

Hell, in my opinion the Dutch road and vehicle and petrol taxes have gone waaaaay overboard. We pay more on taxes then any other country in the world when it comes to cars.



Attamottamotta!
25 BMI727 : It has had that effect. Also the gas guzzler tax which doesn't curtail choice but does outright punish consumers for purchasing something the governm
26 Post contains images AeroWesty : A lot of truth and accurate history in these posts. Kudos. I'd forgotten about the Buick Apollo. My first car was a Pontiac Sunbird V6—it was a tos
27 kiwirob : People who can afford those kind of cars aren't worried about an extra $1000 in tax. No really, sometimes it takes a push in the right direction to g
28 Mir : I'd argue the Volvo XC70 has that title, but the Outback is a very worthy contender. I'd consider buying one if I were in the market (and I probably
29 mham001 : The so called diesel tax argument is old and stale. And largely untrue. Diesel is taxed $.05/gallon more. On the other hand, a comparable diesel engi
30 iakobos : No but close, Denmark and Finland are squeezing even more.
31 BMI727 : First, that doesn't make it right and second, the Charger isn't that expensive of a car. And I think Red Bull should be 50-100% cheaper, but do you t
32 Cargolex : Not really, no. Although fuel economy was less of a factor before WW2, most pre-ww2 cars got better gas mileage than their post-war equivalents. Alth
33 BMI727 : ...because that's what consumers wanted. That's pushing it. All of that would have happened anyway. If that's what consumers want, that's what consum
34 AeroWesty : I think that a third influencing factor which needs to be considered was the introduction of more stringent emissions control devices in the 1975 mod
35 Post contains images kiwirob : The V70 is a better car, I know they are almost the same but the V70 rides, handles and looks better than the XC70. Should never have sold this car,
36 Dreadnought : The European market has a wide variety of cars to day that are more efficient, offer a wider variety of engines (including diesel), use fuel injectio
37 kiwirob : Powerful cars in many European countries are highly taxed, like they should be in the US, hence the reason why Europeans favour BMW's and the like wi
38 Post contains images Polot : And marketing and image is one of the primarily reason that BMW and the other German luxury makers have avoided bringing them here (at the least the
39 kiwirob : It that really the story, I would have thought it was more to do with cost than anything else, the MGA had a twin cam option but it was a very expens
40 Mah4546 : The United States has the 320i, 328i, 328d, 335i and ActiveHybrid. The variety of engines offered on U.S. cars is on a major upswing lately. But keep
41 rwy04lga : Said the man who would be speaking German otherwise.
42 Aesma : It's fair because our governments looked at the commercial balance and didn't want oil to sink it, nor spend fortunes in buying middle eastern govern
43 BMI727 : In other words, the market should set the price. If they need to increase the gas tax to fund necessary projects, fine. But the gas tax should not be
44 mham001 : I don't think so. My '85 grey-market S-class had a first generation mechanical fuel injection system. Emissions played a big role in that as well, VW
45 Post contains images Boeing717200 : Yeah man. We're flying high on that cheap Iraqi and Afghani oil!
46 Ken777 : Looking at the cars of today it sure looks like the Government has won in terms of safety, emission standards and fuel economy. The government won an
47 L410Turbolet : An answer to be expexted from 16-20 age bracket of the "me only me" generation. However, since you are always trying to enlighten us with your one-di
48 BMI727 : Of course that ignores the first six decades or so of automotive innovation. The consumers don't need the government to tell them that seatbelts are
49 Dreadnought : Uh, that wasn't first generation. Mechanical Fuel injection started appearing in the 50s. and electronic fuel injection just a few years later. the f
50 Post contains images L410Turbolet : Why? Is daddy's card maxed out?
51 BMI727 : That's also why BMW models still have the "i" tacked onto them. Not at all. I'm just saying that when I buy the gas, it's mine. Whether I use it to g
52 Polot : It isn't, and no one is restricting on how you use the gas you buy (other than things like speed limits etc). You are just complaining because you ca
53 Dreadnought : Which has become pointless. I remember when you could buy a carbureted BMW 320, or for a little extra you got a 320i. But is there a single car on sa
54 BMI727 : Not really. It isn't the gas guzzler tax that keeps me from running down to the Dodge dealer and putting down the cash for a Viper. That doesn't make
55 Polot : Unfortunately, unlike what your parent told you when you were growing up, most things in life are not "right" or "fair." If you don't accept that the
56 Ken777 : Actually they do. We still have police standing by the curb and waving everyone without their belts on into a parking lot where they are given a tick
57 BMI727 : It is, but I'd settle for getting the model names to reflect displacements again. There's nothing wrong with being bitter, and pointing out ridiculou
58 IH8BY : The European market is certainly warming to crossovers, but the focus is on a smaller segment than in the US. Buyers have been moving out of both C-s
59 mham001 : Umm, no, you missed the entire point. We would not have ever been there if not for oil. Gulf war 1 - oil. Gulf War 2 - an extension of Gulf War 1. Af
60 kiwirob : Which rather like Pols smuggling in Norway was a good indicator of a person not paying tax. But they do, same deal with motorcycle helments everyone
61 garpd : The vast majority of us Europeans saw and still see American designed and built cars as not very appealing. Huge fuel bills, wallowing "suspension",
62 Boeing717200 : That's interesting. I went to that region about 8 times in my military career and not once was it for oil. You must be confused about our real purpos
63 kiwirob : Looks like you bought into US govt propaganda big time.
64 ANITIX87 : Why can't you guys all do what I do? I live with the Jeremy Clarkson philosophy: POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My car weighs 3,200 pounds and has 265hp, 280lb
65 b787900 : Speaking of American cars, I have driven many different models, the current ones, the ones from the 80s, 90s and mid-2000s. While I agree with what y
66 BMI727 : It's an indication of being Polish. Profiling without any actual evidence is xenophobic. If people want to splatter themselves on a road that's their
67 AeroWesty : Your fellow citizens also have a right to protect themselves from the outlay of your upkeep for decades in a vegetative state should you not die afte
68 PHLBOS : With regards to the Station Wagon vs. the Minivan vs. the SUV mantra; there's one item that's been completely overlooked... available towing ability/
69 af773atmsp : Its still odd to me that modern station wagons have not been accepted by Americans. The Dodge Magnum didn't do well, the Acura TSX Wagon is a great an
70 garpd : Here in the UK, fuel is taxed at 85% across the board. You use more, you pay more. It's quite simple. As a result, there has been a significant rise
71 cptkrell : Already do. More tax already on my two 4X4s because they cost more/weigh more, use more fuel which means more tax there, too. The point that I do act
72 garpd : All I can say is fair enough! You made your choices, you're living with them and accept the expense. Quite a mature attitude and kudos to ya. If I ha
73 kiwirob : Not so fast PHLBOS my former Volvo V70 2.4D had a tow rating of 1800kgs for a braked trailor. They are very popular with Scandinavians who tow carava
74 cptkrell : garpd; thanks kindly for looking at my point of view. I am NOT against smaller efficient (especially the fun to drive) vehicles. I love the Fiat Abart
75 WildcatYXU : 1800 kg would be here considered low towing capacity. Not to mention that for some reason American cars have lower licensed towing capacity than Euro
76 Post contains links PHLBOS : Metric Conversion Table http://www.metric-conversions.org/we...t/kilograms-to-pounds.htm?val=1800 1800 kg = 3968 lb. Still less than 5000 lbs. (2267
77 Post contains images garpd : No problem. Reason will be met with reason Seriously, it only gets 140 hp from 2.2 litres? We have 1.5L engines with that here in the UK! Hell, the M
78 WildcatYXU : This engine was used by GM around 2001-2004. It was an Ecotec, so probably you can find a lot of those in Europe as well. I know. Heck, VW has a 182
79 Dreadnought : Engine life = (displacement / power output) An engine with a power output of more than 1 hp per Liter is overstressed, and will not last long. North
80 ANITIX87 : And my car gets 265 from the factory (with aftermarket tuners getting 340 or so with modifications). The Mercedes CLA has the most powerful productio
81 Post contains images PHLBOS : One thing to keep in mind; horsepower is only part of the performance factor, torque is the often-overlooked other. IIRC, torque is as equally importa
82 ANITIX87 : First of all, I don't think you meant 1hp/L. That means my engine needs 2HP to be reliable...did you mean 100hp/L? Secondly, that's an incredibly vag
83 Dreadnought : Yes, sorry. 100hp/liter has been considered the holy grail of high performance for a long time, and was generally the realm of racing engines (which
84 WildcatYXU : Do you mean 100 hp/litre or 1hp/cu in? I don't really like the downsizing trend myself. However, a lot depends on how is the car driven and maintaine
85 Aesma : But now atmospheric racing engines give more than 300hp per liter without exotic metals (F1 V8 2.4 => 750hp) and they last more time than before (
86 Dreadnought : You are too hard to impress. 100hp/L is an impressive engineering achievement when building a car with a 100,000 mile waranty, expected to live twice
87 L-188 : I'll stick with my F-150.... I'll have had it ten years in November and will roll the odometer over 187k miles sometime this week. It's amazing how lo
88 cptkrell : PHLBOS, your reply 81 on the Dodge Magnum: Fabulous looking and performing vehicle. Myself (and other GM retirees and current guys at the time) sez; "
89 af773atmsp : Are you referring to the Ford Flex? Its still available, and although it is a crossover I do like its wagon style looks.
90 BMI727 : And that is a fundamentally backwards perspective on government, taxation, and freedom. Taxes are for providing funding for the government to carry o
91 af773atmsp : If we only drove what we needed there would be a hell of a lot more efficient cars including hatchbacks, wagons, and MPVs instead of pickup trucks an
92 garpd : In your opinion. World opinion is different. We need to stop wasting fuel. Simple and plain fact. Why not? You're wasting fuel, producing more waste
93 BMI727 : Then go buy yourself a Prius and leave the rest of us alone. What if I'm producing enjoyment for myself? Not at all. If the argument is that there is
94 garpd : "The rest of us". Who is that? The world does not revolve around the US you know. The WORLD is striving toward fuel efficiency. Knock yourself out. B
95 kiwirob : My neighbour tows a 30ft tandem axel Hobby. A very popular sized van in Norway. His VB70 is a D5 model which has a tow capacity of 2000kg.
96 Aesma : Here caravans had some success in the past but now everybody interested in a similar experience is buying RVs (quite an expensive proposition since yo
97 BMI727 : People who get worked up over fuel efficiency. If it matters to you, fine. Live that way, but don't dictate how others live their life. What you're t
98 WildcatYXU : The 300 sedan was sold as a Chrysler on both sides of the Atlantic and here still does. Pretty good car, btw. I mean the one with sport/paddle shift
99 af773atmsp : We're not forcing you to buy a fuel efficient car. But if you want a gas guzzler, you need to pay a little bit more. Simple as that.
100 Aesma : I notice you never consider the cost of your huge military defending oil supplies.
101 Dreadnought : Actually, the US gets very little of its oil from the middle east. Around 10% of our needs come from there. So it would be closer to the truth to say
102 mham001 : Ultimately, you were there for oil whether you knew it or not. That is the ONLY reason we are in the mid-east. Without oil, they would get all the at
103 garpd : Common myth and one that is very laughable. Where is the oil in Afghanistan? Where was the oil from Iraq? Name one conflict the US gained oil from an
104 Post contains links AeroWesty : I would posit that the U.S. is in the Med for the security of Israel as well. It wasn't just by coincidence that the U.S. could have the USS Saratoga
105 garpd : Indeed, but they're still higher than most of Europe. My comment was not anti-US, but directed at someone who inferred that those striving for fuel e
106 mham001 : Hardly laughable. Even if no oil ever comes from Iraq and Afghanistan, they are both rooted in our thirst for oil. Oil money bankrolled Osama bin Lad
107 mham001 : Israel doesn't need us militarily. And without oil revenues, most of their enemies could not afford to fight them.
108 Polot : Fiat has been doing a huge disservice to Lancia for years without using Chrysler, and Lancia also has a terrible reputation in Europe, but some reput
109 Dreadnought : They made some fantastic cars in the past. It's sad to see them relegated to a secondary brand of Fiat - Kinda like what Plymouth was to Chrysler.
110 RayChuang : Interestingly, hatchbacks being popular is a very distinctly western European thing. In much of the world, four-door sedans (or saloons as they're kno
111 af773atmsp : The Honda Fit and Nissan Versa are more hatchback than MPV. But I would consider the Toyota Prius V a MPV. I see that in Europe they offer a 7 seat o
112 Aesma : I disagree somewhat, people like those BMWs here too, they mostly can't afford them, though. Now where the love of sedans is really visible (giving r
113 WildcatYXU : The king of eastern Europe is the liftback, not sedan. You can find some cheapo sedans there that sell well due to low price (Thalia, Logan), but the
114 kiwirob : IMO Fiat is running into the same problem the US brands had in the past, far too many brands and not enough buyers.
115 Dreadnought : I disagree. I hate to see car brands considered to be failures unless they sell more than a million cars. Lancia was always a relatively small compan
116 Polot : I don't think anyone wants to see the brands disappear, but having 50 brands selling 100,000 cars each just isn't sustainable, which is why there are
117 Dreadnought : Interesting that you mention these as in trouble - the trouble is that they are trying to sell rebadged versions of other companies' cars. I'd LOVE t
118 Polot : But the reason they sold rebadged versions of other companies cars in the first place is because it is too expensive to design a completely new car f
119 Post contains images PHLBOS : While there was certainly a cool factor to the Magnum wagon; as I mentioned earlier, Dodge barely advertised it ... even when it was first launched i
120 Post contains images Dreadnought : Marketing is the least of its problems. Just LOOK at it! I grant that it is probably extremely functional. But it has all the aesthetics of Susan Boy
121 PHLBOS : IMHO, the '96-'99 Taurus (both sedans & wagons) looked a lot worse. I will admit that not everyone likes the looks of the Flex but its limo-like
122 Polot : I personally love the looks of the Flex (and how Ford seemed to accept/embrace it's quirkiness for the facelift), but it is definitely controversial a
123 cptkrell : Well, you folks have reminded me of the Ford Flex nameplate. Whilst I'm not really opposed to the origiinal styling or the new facelift, PHLBOS kinda
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