Many of the major carmakers are scrambling to bring tiny cars, smaller than the MINI or Chevy Aveo to the US market in the next few years. Most notable among them are DaimlerChrysler and General Motors and possibly Toyota. DCX has already committed to selling the new Smart ForTwo here beginning in early 2008 and GM signaled their intentions with the Groove/Beat/Trax triplets that were unveiled in New York.

However industry analyst CSM Worldwide doesn't think these cars will make much more of an impact on the market than they do on parking spaces. Dave Terebessy of CSM doesn't expect that total sales in the segment will crack the 100,000 barrier between now and 2013. These cars are all quite a bit smaller than anything currently on the market here, with the GM cars being more than 4 inches shorter than a MINI and the two seat Smart is almost three feet shorter than that.

In order for small cars like this to sell, especially when gas prices remain low relative to the rest of the world, they need to be priced low. That means that profit margins will be thin at best and dealers won't be willing to put much effort into selling them. On the other hand if gas prices spike up over $4 or more a gallon, than these diminutive machines may be able to fetch higher prices and actually make a viable segment.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]

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