Small cars, more than any other vehicle type, are the backbone of The Good Car Guy’s automotive passion. What was GoodCarBadCar.net’s first long-term test vehicle? A 2009 smart fortwo; outlined at Fuel The Smart. Where can you find the harshest criticism and warmest vehicular receptions on GoodCarBadCar.net? Naturally, with the introduction of a new small car.
It seems obvious, then, that keen disappointment was felt by The Good Car Guy when it was revealed by European executives that the 2011 Audi A1 is not destined for North American shores. Meanwhile, the wagon version of the Ford Focus – called the Ford Focus Estate Across The Pond – will not be an available bodystyle when the handsome 2011 Ford Focus goes on sale in North America.
An explanation for this concurrent witholding, por favor? Audi’s most recent attempt at premium small car sales hasn’t been a monumental failure in North America, but the A3 hasn’t exactly been a hotcake, either. Only the super-expensive Audi A8, super-niche Audi TT, and supercar Audi R8 were slower sellers than the A3 in January in the USA. Stepping down a notch in size with an aim to hit BMW’s Mini Cooper where it hurts sounds like a plan – but is it a profitable venture in a Marketplace where relatively cheap fuel remains readily reachable? Obviously, an automaker’s less expensive models need to sell at higher volumes in order to drive profits up. While we’d like to think the Audi A1 (seen in the Gallery below) would hit the right note, harmonizing with North American expectations where the Audi A3 sang a simple melody, Audi AG believes otherwise and may well be correct.
From Ford’s perspective, they have history to guide their decisions. The first Ford Focus wagon was available in North America. In no calendar year did the Focus wagon ever take more than 14% of total Ford Focus sales. In its last year on sale, only 4% of Foci sold were of the wagon variety. Ford plans to sell the Focus in large Numbers thanks to a sharply dressed sedan and an equally handsome but more practical hatchback. The 2011 Ford Focus Estate can be seen in a Gallery below, as well.