April 9, 2018
WHY CAN’T WE GET ‘EM HERE?
— shopping the worldwide car market
by Jim Corbran
Although shopping for a new vehicle can be daunting with all of the choices out there, looking around the internet shows there are many more really neat wheels out there which we can’t even get here. I guess I’m not surprised, but I often wonder how these marketing decisions are made.
In Europe Ford offers a two-door (or, three-door actually, when you count the hatch) version of its subcompact Fiesta. The latest iteration of the Fiesta has been for sale in North America for years, but only as a five-door hatch or a rather odd looking four-door sedan with (what we in the States would call) a normal trunk. The three-door version would certainly appeal to what I’d think is a large number of buyers who prefer a small car because they rarely use the back seat anyway except to throw stuff on.
Station wagons seem to be trying to make a comeback. Only, don’t call them station wagons or no one will buy them. Buick now offers North American buyers a version of its Regal, the TourX, which sure looks like a station wagon to me. Hyundai offers a very similar vehicle to its overseas shoppers, the i40 Tourer (which at first I wasn’t sure was an i40, or an upside-down exclamation point-40). Hyundai describes it as having “elegant style, luxurious space, and cutting age technologies” — all of which I’d think would be a hit in our market.
SUVs are still big sellers, both here and abroad. And abroad is where I found a cool one which Toyota is marketing as the Land Cruiser Commercial. It features simple steel rims, only two front seats, rubber floor mats covering the rear cargo area, and color-matched rear blanking glass. Available in short and long wheelbase versions.
With the prices of some of Germany’s luxury brands rivaling those of a small house, you’d think that Mercedes-Benz might consider bringing its B-Class of vehicles to the United States. Especially seeing that we can cross over the Peace Bridge and find them right there at our friendly Canadian Mercedes-Benz dealer. In Canada pricing for the GLA crossover, starts at C$38,500 while the smaller B-Class is at C$33,900. The GLA starts here in the US at $33,400, so I’d think the B-Class might bring a good number of under-30-grand shoppers into M-B’s American stores.
I know for a fact that the name of VW’s small hatch, the up! (top of page), definitely features an exclamation point, as this one is right-side up (hmm… or is it an upside-down letteri?). Anyway, the up! Is available in a whole range of models, including the one I’m currently coveting — the up! GTI, complete with VW’s famous plaid GTI seats. VW markets it as a city car because of its size; but it’s just about the size of a Fiat 500, so it’s not too small for our American streetscape. I’d certainly give it a look.
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— shopping the worldwide car market”
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