We all want to see good motives, where some see only profit.
Last week’s New York Times piece “Detroit’s Rebound Is Built on Smaller Cars” tells us that “nearly one in four vehicles sold in the United States in April was a compact or subcompact car, compared with one in eight a decade ago.” About 27 percent of the small cars sold in April were so-called “American models,” versus 20 percent the year before.
As causal factors, the article notes the Obama administration’s stress on fuel economy, the UAW’s concessions, Japanese complacency, and so on. They also mention rising gas prices.
But this “stunning change” in the American buyer’s psychology was really caused by his finally recognizing that a) gas prices are likely going to stay high and b) small cars aren’t really so bad after all.
Consumers change their habits when circumstances force them to or when they have a better choice.