Things have come a long way since the seventies. Most of us will still remember the gas-guzzling monsters of that time: the Dodge Monaco was big enough to accommodate three generations with room left for picking up a hitchhiker along the way.
More recently the Hummer was hopefully one of the last examples of the type of vehicle that is a complete waste of scarce resources.
Even in the USA, where people have been used to this type of vehicle for a long time, there seems to be a gradual change of heart. It will take a long time, though, to catch up with the Japanese in this regard.
In this country buying small seems to have taken off in a big way. More than 50% of Japanese households are nowadays driving mini cars.
The Japan Mini Vehicle Association recently published figures showing that 50.6% of households in this country prefer mini vehicles - the highest figure since the survey started 25 years ago. This includes workhorses such as delivery vans and pick-up trucks.
Interestingly enough, the report found that this type of vehicle was particularly popular in rural areas - going against the assumption that mini cars are only suitable for urban use.
The highest proportion of mini cars was found in the Tottori Prefecture, where a staggering 98% of households owned mini vehicles. At only 11%, the figure in Tokyo is much lower.
The report suggests various reasons for the popularity of small cars, including rising fuel costs and the economic downturn.
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