Small car exports to U.S.A.
Small cars continue to be in great demand in America, in spite of a carnpaign to stop this challenge to U.S. automobile industry by suggesting that accidents in small cars are nearly always fatal! Sales of imported cars from January to October last year showed Volkswagen still well ahead, at 20 per cent. of the total of some 300,000 imports, followed by Renault with more than 12 per cent., British Ford with 8.8 per cent., Fiat upwards of 5 per cent., Hillman under 5 per cent. In October 1958, Vauxhall displaced Hillman from fifth place, and British Ford sales rose sharply.
American preference for VW and Renault suggests that American buyers want interestingly “unconventional” small cars—i.e., cars with rear-engines, air-cooling, independent rear suspension and individual styling—not just small cars. And where, in this dollar small-car race, are the B.M.C. products? 1958 was the first year in which European vehicle production exceeded that from American factories!