In some ways it seems the Europeans, Japanese and Koreans have taken a leaf out of Detroit's playbook of old, in making the smallest the worst. As you said back in the day the Datsun 1600, BMW 2002, original Honda Civic and VW Beetle showed that small didn't have to be low grade.Mike W. wrote: ↑Mar 29, 2021 8:48 PMI shake my head about that all the time, that even today, regardless of country of manufacture small cars=shitty cars. Now the Japanese in particular have mastered making them long term reliable appliances, and BMW 3 series aren't all bad, but not up to 5 series standards, but still, with rare exception small=shitty. Now lots of people don't care, they want something cheap to buy, cheap to run and reliable. Thrashy, gutless engines, A/Ts that endlessly cycle back and forth between gears on any sort of grade, uncomfortable interiors, painful seats, cardboard interiors and more is all they want to put in small cars. Once upon a time you used to be able to buy nice, by the then standards, European small cars for less than a kings ransom. Now small=cheap and shitty.tn535i wrote: ↑Mar 29, 2021 2:41 PM Another point of view... US manufacturers failed to make smaller cars to compete with the Europeans and Japan NEVER. I think the imports figured out in the 70's how to make efficient transportation. Fast forward to 2020 and the US automakers have only proved that they can make bigger and bigger pick up trucks and realize it's their bread and butter.
So what it really comes down to is how will that GTI can out run and out maneuver in every situation before it gets run over by an F-150 or bigger.
Of course now domestic manufacturers have almost entirely abandoned cars of any size, they just don't sell. Except for the tons of Camrys and Altimas and Corollas and Subarus and Hyundais and BMWs etc that are selling. They have hardly moved since the 60s, if their cars don't sell it must be the market has changed, not that they have failed to make cars that people like.
I would say the market for normal cars is only large enough for the Japanese, Korean and European cars you mention. No room for Detroit to enter, even if they had appropriate models. I think this is why they are so pro electric cars, they look at Tesla and see this area as a new Eldorado for high profit cars, except this time they are going to make 'em in China and bypass the UAW.
As a side note, I have noticed that the 0-60 mph times of an ordinary 4 cyl Camry and Accord are in the 8-9 second league, which is about about the same as a 1979-81 BMW 528i, and I wonder if in real world driving those modern Japanese cars would be any more economical than a 5 speed 528i, considering the extra weight they are lugging?