In recent years, one of the biggest growth areas in vehicle production has seen the rise of the City Car. These small, low engine vehicles are now increasing in popularity every day with several manufacturers joining in the race to find the next big model. So what developments can we expect from this market in the next few months?
Among the new makes, the classic City Cars such as the Fiat 500 and the Citroen C1 are continuing to enjoy good sales results. Whilst prices of new City Cars are among the lowest on the market, you can pick up a Citreon C1 or a similar vehicle very cheaply these days so there’s never been a better time to get involved with the City Car revolution.
As far as brand new models are concerned, Skoda looks set to enter the fray with a City Car destined to slot below the Fabia in the Czech producer’s range. This is the first time that Skoda has entered the City Car market so it will be fascinating to see how the vehicle is received. Due for release some time in 2012, Skoda’s offering is expected to be called the Joyster and will retail around the £7,500 mark. Whilst engine details have yet to be announced, the Joyster is expected to be available as a 1.0 litre as well as in a 1.2 version and in keeping with these progressive times, the manufacturer is working on an all-electric model.
The design of the Skoda Joyster is mainly derived from the Volkswagen Up, which we saw unveiled in August 2011. Although the ‘Up’ first appeared as a concept car back at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2007, it has taken until now for the long awaited cars to roll off the production line. At present, you can expect to buy the Up as a 1.0 litre vehicle only but changes are likely to be introduced in the future as the Space Up version comes in next year. Just like Skoda again, VW is working on its own electric version of this vehicle, which is expected to be released very soon.
Whilst no one is surprised to see the likes of VW and Skoda entering this highly competitive market, it was a shock for many to see Aston Martin try to gatecrash the City Car bandwagon with the introduction of the Cygnet. Aston Martin’s image is at the opposite end of the scale from everything the City Car is striving to achieve but its bosses have identified a gap in the market for a luxury version of this type of vehicle.
Many onlookers would even go as far to suggest that it’s unfair to class the Cygnet as a City Car and it is almost a hark back to the glory days of the hot hatch in the mid-1980s but it’s certainly worth taking a look at. Aston Martin’s offering comes equipped with a 1.3 litre petrol engine, a six speed manual gearbox and a claim that it can do up to 59 miles per gallon. Unfortunately, it’s been a little difficult to judge public reaction to the Cygnet because early sales have been hampered by issues with supply. Waiting times have turned prospective buyers away from the £31k vehicles and sent them in the direction of more established models instead. Overall, this is an area that Aston Martin will have to address before one can tell exactly how the Cygnet is being received.
Other notable manufacturers are getting in on the act too and looking even further ahead, we can expect a new City Car from BMW to hit the streets within the next 18 months. At the moment, the car, known rather unimaginatively as the BMW City, is intended to be an all-electric vehicle that will be available in the US in order to tackle the zero emission requirements of California. However, if the project succeeds and you are prepared to wait that long, the BMW City should be available on a global basis at some stage in the future.
Moving back to developments over the next few months, 2012 will also see the launch of a new Renault Twingo City Car. The French manufacturer is hoping to corner its own share of this growth market with a nippy 1.2 litre engine and some distinctive Renault styling.
Recent posts in Car News