Small cars offer big urban advantages

At the Canadian International Auto Show held recently at the Rogers Centre, the larger cars drew in a significant crowd and gained more attention than the compact cars.

“There has always been questioning of compact cars,” said Liberal Member of Parliament for Pickering-Scarborough East, Dan McTeague.

GTA in Motion’s booth, which displayed the positives of smaller vehicles had appeared empty and without any representatives.

David Patterson, General Motor’s vice president of public affairs, believes that the Auto Show is not a good indicator of what Canadians are actually buying.

“The marketplace is a little different than the perceptions from the auto show. Maybe people’s interest in the show is different from what their purchasing intentions are,” Patterson said.

“If you actually look at the numbers of what people buy in Canada, Canadians numerically buy a larger percentage of smaller vehicles then Americans.” Although in some provinces, larger cars have gained in popularity.

“Within Canada there are differences, Albertans tend to buy a larger percentage of pick-up trucks and larger vehicles,” Patterson said.

Vlad Zaplishnyy, a sales person at the Mercedes-Benz smart centre dealership in Thornhill, feels as though the smart car, a micro car that was created to make parking easier, is a great alternative to gas guzzling pick-up trucks.

“It is very fuel efficient; it is safe, one of the best cars to have for city driving, amazing price, unique and stylish.” Zaplishnyy said. “The only con is that there are only two seats.”

Compact cars offer buyers a cheaper price tag, convenient parking, and for some a government rebate.

“You will get a $2,000 rebate from the government because they recognize the smart as one of the most fuel efficient cars on the road,” Zaplishnyy said.

For those who need more then two seats, McTeague, who was previously a public relations specialist for Toyota, believes Canadians can have the same benefits that a compact car provides, but in a larger vehicle.

“It is possible to (fit the whole family) in a vehicle without having to burn fossil fuels. We are getting to the point where technology, interests and necessities, in terms of cost of fuel and social awareness of the damage of fossil fuels to our environment is converging,” McTeague said.

“We are months away from the kind of offering of product lines that will entice all.”