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The Small Car Becomes 'Big' in Detroit

Automakers are betting that rising gasoline prices will continue to push consumers toward more environmentally friendly vehicles, even if smaller cars might lead to smaller profits. 2007 Honda Fit introduced at North American International Auto Show.

Published: 14-Jan-2006

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In Detroit this year, "small is big," said J Mays, Ford Motor Co.'s chief designer.

Ford, Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., and Nissan Motor Co. are using the North American International Auto Show this week to unveil smaller, fuel-efficient cars, breaking the trend of bigger and thirstier sport-utility vehicles and trucks that stretches back more than a decade.

Automakers are betting that rising gasoline prices will continue to push consumers toward more environmentally friendly vehicles, even if smaller cars might lead to smaller profits. They also are trying to win sales from the children of baby boomers who are entering their 20s and buying their first cars.

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