A two-cylinder hybrid: Can consumers change?

Could consumers ever embrace a two-cylinder car? How about a two-cylinder hybrid with outrageous fuel economy and super cheap price?

Time to get un-American

Outrageously cheap and fuel efficient

In the very near future Fiat might offer a two-cylinder car for the American market. Obviously, such a vehicle – one would think – would be called a joke by most Americans. Yet, what if Fiat offered an agile, fun-to-drive 100 mpg, 2-cylinder hybrid for just $12,000?

Could such a hybrid outsell the Smart ForTwo? Could it compete with Toyota Prius sales?

The other day, MotorTrend asked their community whether they would personally buy a two-cylinder car. Not surprisingly, many of the gear heads mocked the entire concept. Surprisingly, however, nearly half expressed an interest with various caveats of course, such as fun to drive, excellent fuel economy, price, etc.

Also not surprisingly, many against such a vehicle cited safety as a significant concern. Yet, we could be just years away from software and auto-drive features that could make the smallest cars as safe as any other car on the market. If the safety of small cars were no longer an issue, would interest increase significantly?

Regardless of whether such safety capabilities are available and cost-effective any time soon, it seems that the concept of such a vehicle isn't nearly as un-American as it was not so very long ago. More important, such safety features are coming.

While not an easy task, I'd bet Americans can think outside-of-the-box if provided with a truly compelling offering.  Hopefully, one day an automaker will provide such a product. They just might realize far more success than they ever imagined and, eventually, I'd bet again, such products will be required for success.


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