April’s U.S. sales figures are in, and to the surprise of exactly no one, $4-gallon gas and continuing unrest in basically everywhere has led to a surge in small car sales.
As far as small cars go, Kia, Scion and MINI were the front-runners: Kia sales shot up by 57 percent, while MINI’s increased by 68%. Matter of fact, the entire Hyundai group saw an increase of 47%—the most of any manufacturer. Scion sales rose by 60 percent despite losses in the rest of the Toyota family: Lexus sales were down by 4%, while Toyota itself lost 1%. And General Motors saw increased sales of the Chevrolet Cruze, by 50%; in comparison, sales of their large trucks rose by only 2%.
Altogether, U.S. sales increased 18% across the nation. The biggest overall winners include Mitsubishi, which managed a sales increase of 106%, to a little over 8,000 cars. Presumably, none of these were Eclipses or Endeavors. And Saab—Saab!—went up by a whopping 224%, or seemingly enough to give them no excuses for a loan. The 9-3 qualifies as a small car, doesn’t it?
Lastly, the idea that small cars are soaring above lumbering trucks and SUVs gets slightly sidetracked when you realize that sales of Smart cars went down by 31%. Even as high as gas prices climb in America, it seems, there comes a limit to our sacrifices.