Good Luck Buying a Small, Affordable Car in the United States

Honda recently ended the Fit, a small, affordable subcompact car favored by urban dwellers (like the managing editor of Planetizen). The U.S. car market is now completely dislocated from the reality of the rest of the world.

2 minute read

August 7, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Subcompact Cars

Darren Brode / Shutterstock

Aaron Gordon builds a larger narrative after a July announcement by Honda that it would no longer sell the Honda Fit in the United States: car companies are fully committing to a traditional neglect of subcompact offerings in the United States.

The subcompact replacement for the Fit in the Honda fleet will be available in overseas markets, but not in the United States. Moreover, the Fit in the United States was always a downgraded substitute for the bells and whistles, and efficiency, of subcompact vehicles in international markets. Gordon explains:

If you ever want to get upset over the boring, terrible, expensive cars on offer in America, go to the UK version of any automaker’s website. Take Honda, for example. Internationally the Fit is known as the Jazz. In the UK, instead of being killed off, the Jazz got an exciting redesign and is a hybrid. As a result, it’s a little more expensive, but would still likely sell for under $20,000 in the US, which would make it the cheapest hybrid on the market (for Honda models that sell in both countries, the US and UK versions have roughly the same prices in their respective currencies; the Jazz hybrid starts at £19,000).

As noted by Gordon, Honda is far from alone in its lack of quality offerings for subcompact cars in the  United States. Volkswagen provides another example. 

Gordon also notes at the outset that the "subcompact car is basically dead in the US now"--a bold statement that can be supplemented with a few other recent articles, including an article Erik Shilling about the demise of the Fit that includes the car on the scrap heap of subcompact vehicles history in the U.S. market, including the Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta, and Toyota Yaris, among other subcompacts likely to mimic the demise of these articles in the near future.

Americans clearly prefer SUVs and large pickup trucks, as proven by a Wall Street Journal by Dan Neil that provoked the large vehicle-loving community on social media, including Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas. Yet another article on the subject, by Nathanial Bullard, makes the case that another approach to automobile design, growing in popularity in Japan and Europe, would be a better choice for U.S. consumers

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 in Vice

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