As some of you might know, I was recently in Aruba, an island off of Venezuela. I was shocked to see the amount of mini cars they had there, and the overall size of the vehicles. A car that we in the States would consider a "compact", like a Toyota Echo, is a "midsize" there. A compact would be the Hyundai Getz or Chevy Spark(shown), which would be considered in America to be a sub-compact. In Aruba, the largest sedan people would buy is the Toyota Camry. No bigger. The SUV's are also small, with such vehicles as the Daihatsu Terios, Ford EcoSport (smaller than a Escape), Suzuki Jimny, and Jeep Wrangler. Many of these vehicles are not offered in the USA due to safely concerns, or low supposed demand. Others, like the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado (Lexus GX) are rebadged cars that we have in America.

Do automotive tastes really differ from country to country, continent to continent? In Canada, the hatch Yaris sells like crazy, while we prefer the larger Camry.

So the question is, should automakers bring mini cars to the United States? They pollute less, cost less, are more economical and efficient. On the other hand, they tend to be far less safe, and could create more traffic and pollution if sold in high amounts. Cars such as the Honda Fit have soared due to high gas prices, but how small is too small? And at the expense of safety?

Another related topic is rebadging/reskinning. Some of the cars in Aruba had their badges switched, like Suzuki-->Chevrolet and Lexus--> Toyota. Is this effective? Would they sell more? Personally, I think the Lexus GX does better as a Toyota (Land Cruiser Prado). Generally, you expect less from Toyota than from Lexus, so when you step into a Prado,with leather, navigation and air suspension, you are really wowed.
Why do automakers choose to reskin some of their cars for foreign markets? The Toyota Hilux, essentially a Tacoma, is based off a ladder platform, as a truck should. It also looks a ton better. The Mitsubishi L200, another attractive truck, is in many ways superior to the Mitsubishi Raider (A reskinned and rebadged Dakota). The Toyota Fortuner is a 4Runner sized sport ute that is based off of the Hilux. I can't say how it drives, but it sure looks nice, and is priced below the 4runner, and more off-road friendly.
Many of these vehicles offer diesel engines, another advantage. Although they might be "dirty", it is easier to convert an old diesel to a clean diesel than to build an entirely new engine.

In all, should the United States get models that are reserved for other countries? Should those countries get our models?

I do have a gallery of my own pictures from my trip,and many of the vehicles listed are shown, and more.
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Make sure to look at the captions and feel free to leave a comment in the box below the picture!

Now let's see those comments!

Should They Bring These Cars to the States?

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