The End of the Small Automaker?

nissan-mitsubishi-logos

What if there were no more small automakers?

The automotive world continues to consolidate, and large automakers either push the smaller ones out of the market or swallow them up as part of an expanding empire.

It’s not too hard to imagine a world without small car companies, because they don’t have much of a presence in the United States. Suzuki left the market, Mitsubishi is a small player, and Subaru is only popular in cold climates. A few supercar manufacturers and startups exist to serve a tiny niche, but most of us are never influenced by their success or failure.

Recent news from the Toyota and Nissan camps demonstrates that carmaker consolidation shows no signs of slowing down.

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Toyota and BMW Will Partner on New Car

Toyota FT-1 concept

Toyota teamed up with Subaru to build a sports car, and it ended up with the FT-86, known here in the States as the Scion FR-S.

The car is significant because it’s the first time in many years that Toyota has injected some rear-wheel-drive fun into its lineup. The only problem is that the car is a bit underpowered. The FR-S is fun to drive because it’s perfectly balanced and handles beautifully. It won’t, however, win a lot of speed races and isn’t very refined or comfortable.

The other mistake I think Toyota made was badging this car as a Scion. It would have been better for the car’s image had it worn a Toyota badge.

Toyota’s next partnership, now confirmed, will result in something just a little faster and, we hope, all Toyota.

Buckle up, friends, because BMW and Toyota have announced that they are moving forward with the joint development of a sports car.

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