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The Most Boring Reasons Could Kill These Cool Cars

Industry News / 4 Comments

This popular car body style could about become extinct.

It's no secret that small cars are a lot more popular in Europe than the US, where large SUVs and crossovers continue to dominate sales. Even sedans are starting to become extinct in the USas a result. This trend may come to an end soon, however, as some of the most popular models in the segment could be getting the chop. And it's all because of some very boring reasons.

According to Automotive News, some of Europe's most popular small cars could be axed because of new expensive legislation being enforced for safety and tailpipe emissions. "New CO2 rules will require automakers to fit thousands of euros of tech to each car," Max Warburton, an analyst at research and brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein wrote. "Big cars have the price points and margins to cover these costs. Small cars simply do not. These segments may soon be abandoned by many manufacturers."

As a result, Opel will reportedly axe its Karl and Adam minicars, while PSA Group brands Peugeot and Citroen said their 108 and C1 minicars are unlikely to survive. A source at Ford also confirmed it will stop exporting the Indian-built Ka+ small car to Europe. While we already know the new Golf may not go on sale in the US, VW is also preparing to axe combustion-engine versions of the Up minicar in Europe according to the report. This also likely means the Seat Mii and Skoda Citigo are living on borrowed time.

Daimler, on the other hand, has started shifting production and development of its Smart brand to China, where the small cars will be built exclusively starting in 2022 as part of a joint venture with Zhejiang Geely Holding. Warburton added that VW Group could be forced to axe the Polo, which is one of Europe's best-selling cars, as well as the related Audi A1, Skoda Fabia and Seat Ibiza.

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These cars are at risk of being axed due to stricter EU rules for CO2 that will be in effect next year. The industry has to reduce its fleet average to 95 grams (3.3 ounces) per kilometer, down from an average of 120.5 grams (4.2 ounces) per km last year. However, most current minicars can't get to the required average without including some form of electrification.

"Ironically the smaller vehicles are toughest to reduce CO2 in," Ford of Europe Chairman Steve Armstrong told Automotive News Europe. "The smaller the vehicle, the tighter the margin, the harder it is to meet emissions targets." PSA's head of Europe, Maxime Picat, added. "The ability of any carmaker to make a profit [from minicars] is under pressure because of all of the technology we have to add in our vehicles for safety and for emissions."