Sunday, April 1, 2012

Big News for Small Cars

ByMark Needham

The small-car market is thriving in the midst of the fuel crisis and an automotive market in danger. Overall car sales in Europe were down by 7% compared to last year, with many premium manufacturers switching their focus to smaller, environmentally friendly cars.

Consumer demand has shifted to eco and safe family cars, and popular ranges are consistently the smaller, cheaper models. This was especially true for Fiat, Renault and Peugeot during 2011.

Even in America, where large cars are more the norm, there seems to be a move towards smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles. In February there was a surge in the amount of small car purchases in the US, boosting overall car sales as consumers attempted to dodge increasing fuel bills.

Fuel efficiency is also a big contender in securing future car sales - with customers opting to replace older and inefficient vehicles with hybrid, eco and fuel-efficient cars with higher mileage. This seems to becoming one of the most important aspects for people to consider when purchasing a new car.

Although the transition to electric cars is so far very slow and minimal, could a real shift towards eco-energy be in the future for the automotive industry? At every motor show the last few years, the amount of environmentally friendly concepts and vehicles has risen higher and higher. And in the UK, with the recent budget hiking fuel prices by a further 3p per litre, petrol is becoming even more of a hot commodity...

Though driving a fuel-efficient car is the best way to lower your spend on fuel, there are other ways of increasing your mileage, just by adjusting your driving habits and maintaining your vehicle. For example, ensuring that your tyres are properly inflated and have sufficient tread depth can help increase your fuel efficiency, as can minimising any extraneous electrical appliances while you're driving, such as the radio, heater or air conditioner. When you do need to top up with petrol, make sure you do so in the early morning when fuel is denser so that you get more for your buck!

The cost of owning and running a car is continually on the increase, with the price of insurance, repairs, replacement tyres and fuel all rising by the year. With a rise in demand for small cars, we can only hope that vehicle manufacturers will continue to develop wider ranges of eco-friendly and fuel efficient cars that cater to consumers' wishes.

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