Toyota and Audi might bring small cars to the U.S. market

Hummer who? From two importers who have been following the "bigger is better" model for the last few years comes a little redemption. Both Toyota and Audi are considering bringing their smallest models in the line-up to the U.S. market. Even if both iQ and A1 were developed with only the European market in mind, company executives are thinking that these two models might be successful in the U.S.

The A1 (see the latest A1 Sportback Concept unveiled at the Paris Auto Show) is about 10 inches shorter than Audi’s A3 . Peter Schwarzenbauer, Audi’s worldwide sales and marketing boss said, "A year ago, I would have said no... I think (the market) has changed. Therefore, we definitely have to reconsider the A1."

The A1 concept is a hybrid that combines a turbocharged, 148-hp, 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine with an electric motor that boosts torque. While this setup may make production, it is likely that the first production A1s will use a conventional gas-only setup if it appears in the U.S.

Foreign automakers may still be a little weary about sales of small cars in the U.S. Although Americans are becoming more conscious about fuel efficiency, it is a big risk to spend the money to send low-profit small cars to a country where they have historically sold poorly. Both Audi and Toyota have not made any final decisions about their small cars future.

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