Why does Europe get all the cool cars?

September 22nd, 2008

Like we didn’t know this already, but Europe is getting all the cool cars.

Here’s what surprised me though: They’re getting a lot of those cars from the Big 3 U.S. automakers.

Did they think we wouldn’t notice?

Well let me tell you, Big 3, the gig’s up!

Europe already has some pretty darn exclusive auto brands: Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, BMW. I took an odd pride in knowing we Americans had Ford, GM, and Chrysler trying their hardest to provide us with top quality engineering and economy.

But no, friends, it’s not true. At least not anymore. Want a 63 mpg Ford economy car? Go to Europe. Want a 36 mpg Ford all-wheel-drive crossover? Go to Europe. How about a 32 mpg Chevy SUV? Yeah. Europe.

Umm… hello? Anyone else find it horribly ironic and feel a bit deceived that our own automakers seem to be sending their cream of the crop across the pond, while we’re left with the 24 mpg Ford Flex?

It seems automakers are beginning to get the idea, evidenced by Ford’s plans to begin bringing popular European models to our side of the Atlantic. Even with those plans in place, we won’t have our first shot at them until at least 2010. 

Maybe it’s just time to hope that our Big 3 go belly-up, and make room for more of the world’s fun, economical automakers to enter America. Renault and Alfa Romeo, anyone?

As we wait to find out if and when that ever happens, here are some attempts to appease us Americans with a little taste of Europe:

The Saturn VUE is almost identical to an Opel Antara. Saturn’s Sky and Astra cars are also rebadged European Opels. 

Pontiac’s G3, essentially a Pontiac-badged Chevy Aveo, will be available in 2009 as either a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback.

The European iteration of the Ford Fiesta is coming in 2010.

The Ford C-Max, a 5-seat Multi-Activity Vehicle based on the Focus, should arrive in 2011.

The Ford Kuga, likely to appear as a new Ford Escape, should be in showrooms in 2012.

Will these cars arrive in time? Or by the time they hit the market will we already have been introduced to more of Europe’s finest automobiles, following the path of the MINI Cooper and Smart fortwo?

No doubt the United States’ auto market is changing.

The question is, will our automakers respond fast enough to offer us their best?

Tell us: What European autos would you like to see available in the U.S.?

-tgriffith

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  1. Travis
    November 29th, 2010 at 11:08 | #1

    @ Bryan
    I think when U.S. gas prices reach the levels of European gas prices, we’d see the fun/economical cars come our way. It’s already starting though… the Ford Fiesta is here, we’ve got a turbo 4-cylinder Sonata, diesels from Audi and BMW…

  2. Bryan
    November 27th, 2010 at 21:14 | #2

    i would love to see more Audi’s and Volkswagon’s. in particular, more turbo Audi’s and Volkswagons. i think there is a lot to be said about forced induction. i was doing some research on a supercharger/turbo engine volkswagon released (in Europe of course) back in 2006 that had 168 HP, 177 lb/ft and got an astounding 48 highway mpg; here is the link if anyone is interested (http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2005-10/turbo-and-supercharged-car). I would love to see one of these “hybrids” cruising the streets, i would like it even more if i were driving one though.
    I think it is unfair that europeans get to have the best of both worlds; fuel economy and fun, when were stuck with either fuel economy and no fun or fun and no fuel economy. The technology is there, the market is there, so what is holding back manufacturers?

  1. November 17th, 2011 at 05:01 | #1
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