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AUTOS
March 28, 2013 | By David Undercoffler
It could be the cutest little automotive cage match in recent memory. In one corner, you have the all-new Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback, introduced Thursday at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. In the other, the 1.0-liter Ford Fiesta, announced at the L.A. Auto Show in November. Each sub-compact has promised to be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car sold in the U.S. Only one can win. But which will it be? Only Mitsubishi has released gas mileage estimates. The Japanese automaker said its Mirage will get an estimated 37 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway, and 40 mpg combined.
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BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | By David Undercoffler
The Honda Fit was easily the best subcompact on the market - great fun to drive and a deft mix of efficiency, interior space and value. Then Honda discovered that fun doesn't sell. The newly redesigned 2015 Fit is still spacious, frugal and smartly engineered. But Honda - tired of seeing Fit sales lag behind those of the Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent - has sucked out all the joy from the car's handling. PHOTOS: 2015 Honda Fit Honda's third generation of this four-door hatchback, marked as a 2015 model, started showing up in dealerships this month.
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BUSINESS
December 7, 2011 | By David Undercoffler, Los Angeles Times
This may come as a surprise to some motorists, but Chevrolet, a brand celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has only now figured out how to make a good subcompact. Just as frustrating that it took it an entire century to bring us this new car called the Sonic is that it wasn't even a gradual effort. The Sonic's predecessor, the Aveo, was so hastily conceived and executed, it was like the forgotten book report written on the bus to school. And the small Chevys before it are more noteworthy for the pockmarks of chronic failure than the few and negligible triumphs.
AUTOS
March 22, 2014 | By David Undercoffler
Kia's redesigned Soul and Fiat's all-new 500L are the latest models in the quirky "toaster" class of sub-compact cars. Picture a square box riding on a car platform. The general idea is combine the comfort and efficiency of a small car with the functionality of a sport utility vehicle or crossover. And style? Let's just say the valet will be parking these behind the restaurant. Next to his car. The success of these vehicles has been mixed. Honda's Element and the Scion xB, made by Toyota, were the founding members back in 2003.
BUSINESS
May 24, 1989 | From Reuters
Ford Motor Co. said today it is offering a rebate of $1,000 on its Lincoln Continental luxury model, and has expanded rebate offers on three subcompact models whose sales have lagged. The rebates are the first offered by the auto maker on the luxury model, which has been in short supply since it was introduced in December, 1987. Ford spokesman Ray Windecker said the Continental rebates do not reflect problems in selling the cars, but are in response to General Motors Corp.
BUSINESS
April 25, 2014 | By David Undercoffler
The Honda Fit was easily the best subcompact on the market - great fun to drive and a deft mix of efficiency, interior space and value. Then Honda discovered that fun doesn't sell. The newly redesigned 2015 Fit is still spacious, frugal and smartly engineered. But Honda - tired of seeing Fit sales lag behind those of the Chevy Sonic, Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent - has sucked out all the joy from the car's handling. PHOTOS: 2015 Honda Fit Honda's third generation of this four-door hatchback, marked as a 2015 model, started showing up in dealerships this month.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 21, 1985
Chrysler Chairman Lee A. Iacocca seems to have forgotten that the good old U.S.A. bailed the Chrysler Corp. out of almost certain failure. Now that Chrysler's fat and sassy it is going to show old Uncle Sam a thing or two by tripling its import of subcompact cars and scaling back on its American-made cars, adding to our problem of unemployment. Perhaps Iacocca should write a new book entitled, "Gratitude". I, for one, will never buy one of their imports. L.A. WHITLOCK Morro Bay
BUSINESS
March 29, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Toyota Motor Corp. has been saying it has a hit with its new Prius c five-door hatchback, the smallest hybrid in the Prius family, and now there's independent analysis that shows it is one of the hottest small cars to hit the market in many years. In its first three days on the market this month, Toyota sold more than 1,200 of the subcompact hybrid. It starts at $18,950, but a mid-grade version has a sticker price of $21,635. To put the 1,200 sales in perspective, Edmunds.com auto analyst Jessica Caldwell pointed out that many cars, including the similarly small but non-hybrid Smart Fortwo and even Toyota's Scion XD, didn't sell even 1,000 units last month.
NEWS
April 11, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Start a road trip in Arizona and wind up in Colorado or California -- on the cheap. Spring is the time of year when car rental companies want to move vehicles from winter snowbird states like Arizona and Florida to other areas of the country. Hertz and Avis are offering one-way car rentals starting at a low $17.95 a day. The deal: Hertz calls the deal Arizona Drive Out and allows drop-offs in California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah or Wyoming at no extra cost. The rental features unlimited mileage for up to two weeks for an economy car at $17.95 a day or a mid-size SUV for $20.95 a day (prices exclude tax and fees)
BUSINESS
May 31, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
The special “eco” versions of small cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Honda Civic don't improve fuel economy enough to be worth the extra money, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports. The magazine said it could take as long as 38 years for the extra cost to be worthwhile, depending on the vehicle.  The cars, which come equipped with special low rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic features, generally cost $500 to $800 more than fuel-efficient siblings that don't carry the “eco” label.
AUTOS
August 15, 2013 | By David Undercoffler
Fiat has announced it will unveil a new version of its popular 500 subcompact car at this year's Concorso Italiano in Monterey, Calif. The car, dubbed the 500 Cattiva, will be available as a package on either the Sport or Turbo models. It leaves the cars' mechanics unchanged, and instead focuses on a few cosmetic changes to make buyers feel special. These include darkened headlights and taillights, unique 16-inch alloy wheels, a painted roof and spoiler. Inside, Cattiva models get special cloth or leather seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
NEWS
April 11, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Start a road trip in Arizona and wind up in Colorado or California -- on the cheap. Spring is the time of year when car rental companies want to move vehicles from winter snowbird states like Arizona and Florida to other areas of the country. Hertz and Avis are offering one-way car rentals starting at a low $17.95 a day. The deal: Hertz calls the deal Arizona Drive Out and allows drop-offs in California, Nevada, Colorado, Utah or Wyoming at no extra cost. The rental features unlimited mileage for up to two weeks for an economy car at $17.95 a day or a mid-size SUV for $20.95 a day (prices exclude tax and fees)
AUTOS
March 28, 2013 | By David Undercoffler
It could be the cutest little automotive cage match in recent memory. In one corner, you have the all-new Mitsubishi Mirage hatchback, introduced Thursday at the 2013 New York International Auto Show. In the other, the 1.0-liter Ford Fiesta, announced at the L.A. Auto Show in November. Each sub-compact has promised to be the most fuel-efficient non-hybrid car sold in the U.S. Only one can win. But which will it be? Only Mitsubishi has released gas mileage estimates. The Japanese automaker said its Mirage will get an estimated 37 mpg in the city, 44 mpg on the highway, and 40 mpg combined.
BUSINESS
September 21, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
If you drive the Toyota Yaris, be careful. That's because you're more likely to get injured in the tiny subcompact than in any other vehicle in a crash, according to an insurance industry study released Thursday. The Highway Loss Data Institute looked at insurance statistics for model years 2009-11 and found personal injury claims were filed 28.5 times for every 1,000 Yaris vehicles the industry insured. The Suzuki SX4, a small crossover, had the second-highest risk of injury to its occupants, posting 26.6 claims per 1,000 of the vehicles insured.
BUSINESS
June 27, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Consumer Reports is panning the tiny Toyota-built Scion iQ subcompact car in its latest round of auto reviews. The magazine said it found the Scion to be "slow, uncomfortable and noisy, among other drawbacks. With a road test score of 29, it joins the ranks of the lowest-scoring cars Consumer Reports has tested in recent years. " "While the iQ's fuel economy is good within its class, it requires drivers to endure a lot of trade-offs just to save at the pump. Its $16,205 sticker price is no bargain either," said David Champion, who heads the Consumer Reports Automotive Test Center.
BUSINESS
May 31, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
The special “eco” versions of small cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Honda Civic don't improve fuel economy enough to be worth the extra money, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports. The magazine said it could take as long as 38 years for the extra cost to be worthwhile, depending on the vehicle.  The cars, which come equipped with special low rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic features, generally cost $500 to $800 more than fuel-efficient siblings that don't carry the “eco” label.
BUSINESS
May 31, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. waived a condition Friday on its $170-million cash tender offer for Ford Motor Co. that would have allowed the billionaire activist's investment arm to pull out of the deal if the automaker's shares fell 10%. The shares had fallen 18% since Tracinda's May 9 offer, and Ford said last week that it no longer expected to return to profitability by 2009. The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker is cutting North American production for the rest of this year as high gasoline prices and a weak economy cut into sales.
NEWS
December 30, 1999
I enjoyed Jeanne Wright's column "Those Oddball '70s Cars: Even They Have Their Fans" (Your Wheels, Dec. 15). I have a 1973 American Motors Corp. Gremlin X. It has been the least troublesome of my 30-plus vehicles during the 23 years I have owned it. And it certainly stands out among today's crop of mostly bland, virtually indistinguishable badge-engineered buckets. The Gremlin was the first modern American subcompact car when it was launched in spring 1970. Its unique styling still turns heads today.
BUSINESS
March 29, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Toyota Motor Corp. has been saying it has a hit with its new Prius c five-door hatchback, the smallest hybrid in the Prius family, and now there's independent analysis that shows it is one of the hottest small cars to hit the market in many years. In its first three days on the market this month, Toyota sold more than 1,200 of the subcompact hybrid. It starts at $18,950, but a mid-grade version has a sticker price of $21,635. To put the 1,200 sales in perspective, Edmunds.com auto analyst Jessica Caldwell pointed out that many cars, including the similarly small but non-hybrid Smart Fortwo and even Toyota's Scion XD, didn't sell even 1,000 units last month.
BUSINESS
March 23, 2012 | By Jerry Hirsch
In a smackdown of South Korean sub-compacts, the Kia Rio EX outpointed the Accent from sister company Hyundai as the top-rated sedan of that size in Consumer Reports' latest tests. Chevrolet's Sonic, the American entrant in the magazine's ratings, as well as the Nissan Versa and Toyota Yaris, both from Japan, scored lower. "Subcompact cars were once collectively known as penalty boxes for their noisiness, rudimentary interiors, uncomfortable rides, and weak performance.
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