Americans buy big but relatively unsophisticated cars, while Europe's consumers prefer sophisticated small cars. That truism is about to be rewritten in Europe as vehicle manufacturers start to question their small- car strategy in response to costly new legislation covering safety and tailpipe emissions, in particular carbon dioxide output.
The regulations are about to wreak havoc among automakers with a stake in Europe, forecasters believe. Many say the age-old tradition of the European market — the dominance of the small car — is now in question.
Opel will drop its Karl and Adam minicars, while fellow PSA Group brands Peugeot and Citroen said their 108 and C1 minicars are unlikely to survive.
A source at Ford confirmed it will stop exporting the Indian-built Ka+ small car to Europe. Volkswagen executives have said privately that the automaker is preparing to drop combustion-engine versions of the Up minicar, which would almost certainly mean the gasoline-powered Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo also will disappear.