AutoWeek attended the SEMA International Auto Salon, a car show for sport compacts and the segment of the aftermarket industry serving sport compacts, and AW writers were sad to see the sorry state the Salon has come to -- moving from the Los Angeles Convention Center to Atlantic City, and finally, to t he Fort Washington Expo Center, where the show was small, the roof leaked, and the fit and finish was less than high-end. They came away wondering, is the sport compact market on its way out?
Maybe, but probably not. The moral of the story -- consumer tastes are changing away from Honda Civics and their ilk in favor of a variety of different cars. Sport compact or not, in these hard economic times only the fittest will survive. That said, we fully expect the nascent European compact class (Volkswagen GTI, Audi A3, MINI Cooper, Volvo S30, etc.) to strike a major chord with the tuner culture, perhaps eating into the largely Japanese-badged front-wheel-drive import scene.