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The history of small cars is fascinating for one reason: it is not proportionate to its size! When cars were invented, small cars or microcars were not considered as a 'practical' mode of transportation. There were many reasons to this, the most notable one being the development of West with virtually no competition from other parts of the world except Japan. With the number of manufacturing increased, the production cost of cars came down and trimming down the size wasn't a major concern for most manufacturers. Even more fascinatingly, fossil fuels were available aplenty and somewhat ironically, the producers of fossil fuels had no industrial use with it!
The small car scene wasn't quite fascinating those days but today, small cars mean serious business as the fuel prices are soaring almost every day and finding ample parking space is easier said than done.
History of Small Cars
When Austin Motors released Austin 7 in 1922, the company had no major ambitions but the sales of this car skyrocketed beyond the expectations of everyone. The 757cc 20HP engine was definitely of 'toy car specifications' in that era but Austin 7 sold over 200,000 across the globe. Amazed by the success, manufacturers around the world either copied the design or licensed it from Austin to come up with their own versions.
It took three more decades for Austin 7's success to repeat and this time, it was repeated in Germany with Messerschmitt, a fighter plane manufacturer, who was prohibited from manufacturing aircrafts. They came with KR200 in 1955 and sold over 40,000 cars in the country.
The 500cc engine powered Fiat 500 developed the 10.5 HP from its rear mounted engine and came with 4 seats but for Fiat, this car was an experiment in the postwar economy of Italy. From 1957 to 1975, when Fiat 500 was produced, it was a massive success in Italy. In 2007, Fiat decided to bring back the car from 'death' and this time, Fiat 500 comes with a larger cabin.
Another legendary small car was the Mini, which was built by John Cooper of Britain. It goes without saying that Mini enjoyed similar success to Fiat 500 in Britain.
Volkswagen Beetle managed to be a great hit in Germany and Latin America even in the postwar era and managed to sell in massive numbers.
These are the 3 legendary small cars that no automobile reviewer can ignore because they have such an impact on automobile history.
Small Cars Of Today
When you talk about small cars of our time, gasoline or diesel powered automobiles are not the major attractions in the market. There are cars like Nissan Leaf and Revai, powered by electric cells and are very practical in terms of regular usage. These cars are slowly penetrating into the market of small cars and with advanced technology in electric cars; they are more likely going to rule the segment of small cars. Small cars are also known for getting tax deductions in many countries and in emerging economies, their compactness makes them a favorite among buyers.