As the price of gasoline bounces past $3 a gallon in more and more areas, consumers are beginning to think small. They're shopping for smaller trucks, smaller SUVs and even smaller cars.
For their part, automakers are bringing smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles to market as quickly as they can.
For example, Toyota has its Yaris. Nissan has the Versa. General Motors' ace in the hole could be Daewoo.
Meanwhile, the Chrysler group is close to working out a deal to have either Volkswagen or China's Chery build a small car that could be sold in North America as a Dodge.
But not everybody is in panic mode trying to promote their fuel sippers. For example, BMW has a couple of new small cars that boast more horsepower.
The new Mini has a new four-cylinder engine that will develop 175 hp in the hot Cooper S version while getting about 34 mpg. The 2007 model goes on sale after the first of the year -- and BMW has even upsized the car, adding 2.76 inches in length.
BMW's 1 series, which isn't sold in North America yet, gets a new model that makes more than 300 hp.
It just shows that being small doesn't mean you can't still pack a punch and be proud of it.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at [email protected]