Left- and right-hand traffic
Left-hand traffic and right-hand traffic are the practice, in bidirectional traffic, of keeping to the left side or to the right side of the road, respectively. A fundamental element to traffic flow, it is sometimes referred to as the rule of the road. RHT is used in 165 countries and territories, with the remaining 75 countries and territories using LHT. Countries that use LHT account for about a sixth of the world's area with about 35% of its population and a quarter of its roads. In 1919, 104 of the world's territories were LHT and an equal number were RHT. From 1919 to 1986, 34 of the LHT territories switched to RHT. Many of the countries with LHT were part of the British Empire. In addition, Thailand and other countries have retained the LHT tradition. Conversely, many of the countries with RHT were part of the French colonial empire or, in Europe, were subject to French rule during the Napoleonic conquests. For rail traffic, LHT predominates in Western Europe, Latin America, in countries in the British and French Empires, whereas North American and central and eastern European train services operate RHT.
According to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, water traffic is RHT: a vessel proceeding along a narrow channel must keep to starboard, when two power-driven vessels are meeting head-on both must alter course to starboard also. For aircraft the US Federal Aviation Regulations suggest RHT principles, both in the air and on water. In LHT vehicles keep left, cars are RHD with the steering wheel on the right-hand side and the driver sitting on the offside or side closest to the centre of the road; the passenger sits on the nearside, closest to the kerb. Roundabouts circulate clockwise. In RHT everything is reversed: cars keep right, the driver sits on the left side of the car, roundabouts circulate anticlockwise. Ancient Greek and Roman troops kept to the left when marching. In 1998, archaeologists found a well-preserved double track leading to a Roman quarry near Swindon, in southern England; the grooves in the road on the left side were much deeper than those on the right side, suggesting LHT, at least at this location, since carts would exit the quarry loaded, enter it empty.
In the year 1300, Pope Boniface VIII directed pilgrims to keep left. Following the French Revolution, all traffic in France kept right; the first reference in English law to an order for LHT was with regard to London Bridge. The United Kingdom is LHT, but its overseas territories of Gibraltar and British Indian Ocean Territory are RHT. In the late 1960s, the UK Department for Transport considered switching to RHT, but declared it unsafe and too costly for such a built-up nation. Road building standards, for motorways in particular, allow asymmetrically designed road junctions, where merge and diverge lanes differ in length. Sweden switched to RHT in 1967, having been LHT since from about 1734 despite having land borders with RHT countries, 90 percent of cars being left-hand drive vehicles. A referendum was held in 1955, with an overwhelming majority voting against a change to RHT; some years the government ordered a conversion, which took place at 5 am on Sunday, 3 September 1967. The accident rate dropped after the change, but soon rose back to near its original level.
The day was known as the'H' being for Högertrafik. When Iceland switched the following year, it was known as H-dagurinn, again meaning "H-Day". Most passenger cars were LHD. LHT was used in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, when the empire was split up, the countries all changed to RHT. Austria switched sides in 1921 in Vorarlberg, 1930 in North Tyrol, 1935 in Carinthia and East Tyrol, in 1938 in the rest of the country. Partitions of Poland changed to RHT in the 1920s, Partitions belonging to the German Empire and the Russian Empire were RHT. Croatia-Slavonia switched to RHT on joining the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, although Istria and Dalmatia were RHT. Nazi Germany introduced the switch to right-hand traffic in Czechoslovakia and Slovakia in 1938–39. West Ukraine was LHT, although the rest of Ukraine, having been part of the Russian Empire drove on the right. In Romania Transylvania, the Banat and Bukovina were LHT until 1919, while Wallachia and Moldavia were RHT. In Italy the countryside was RHT while cities were LHT until 1927.
Rome changed to RHT in 1924 and Milan in 1926. Alfa Romeo and Lancia did produce RHD cars until as late as 1950 and 1953 only to special order, as many drivers favoured the RHD layout in RHT as this offered the driver a clearer view of the edge of the road in mountainous regions at a time when many such roads lacked barriers or walls; the Rome Metro uses LHT. Finland ruled as part of LHT Sweden, switched to RHT in 1858 as the Grand Duchy of Finland by Russian decree. Rotterdam was LHT until 1917, although the rest Today, four countries in Europe continue to use left-hand traffic, all island nations: the UK, Cyprus and Malta. LHT was introduced in British West Africa. All of the countries part of this colony have borders with former French RHT jurisdictions and have switched sides since decolonization; these include Ghana, The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria. LHT was introduced by the British in the East Africa Protectorate and the Cape Colony. All of these have remained LHT. Sudan part of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan switched to RHT in 1973, as it
The layout of a car is defined by the location of the engine and drive wheels. Layouts can be divided into three categories: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. Many different combinations of engine location and driven wheels are found in practice, the location of each is dependent on the application for which the car will be used; the front-engine, front-wheel-drive layout places both the internal combustion engine and driven wheels at the front of the vehicle. This is the most common layout for cars since the late 20th century; some early front-wheel drive cars from the 1930s had the engine located in the middle of the car. A rear-engine, front-wheel-drive layout is one in which the engine is between or behind the rear wheels, drives the front wheels via a driveshaft, the complete reverse of a conventional front-engine, rear-wheel-drive vehicle layout; this layout has only been used on concept cars. The front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout is one where the engine is located at the front of the vehicle and driven wheels are located at the rear.
This was the traditional automobile layout for most of the 20th century, remains the most common layout for rear-wheel drive cars. The mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout is one where the rear wheels are driven by an engine placed just in front of them, behind the passenger compartment. In contrast to the rear-engined RR layout, the center of mass of the engine is in front of the rear axle; this layout is chosen for its low moment of inertia and favorable weight distribution. The rear-engine, rear-wheel drive layout places both the engine and drive wheels at the rear of the vehicle. In contrast to the MR layout, the center of mass of the engine is between the rear axle and the rear bumper. Although common in transit buses and coaches due to the elimination of the drive shaft with low-floor bus, this layout has become rare in passenger cars; the Porsche 911 is notable for its continuous use of the RR layout since 1963. Car drivetrains where power can be sent to all four wheels are referred to as either four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
The front-engine, four-wheel drive layout places the engine at the front of the vehicle and drives all four roadwheels. This layout is chosen for better control on many surfaces, is an important part of rally racing as well as off-road driving. Most four-wheel-drive layouts are front-engined and are derivatives of earlier front-engine, rear-wheel-drive designs; the mid-engine, four-wheel drive layout places the engine in the middle of the vehicle, between both axles and drives all four road wheels. Although the term "mid-engine" can mean the engine is placed anywhere in the car such that the centre of gravity of the engine lies between the front and rear axles, it is used for sports cars and racing cars where the engine is behind the passenger compartment; the motive output is sent down a shaft to a differential in the centre of the car, which in the case of an M4 layout, distributes power to both front and rear axles. The rear-engine, four-wheel drive layout places the engine at the rear of the vehicle, drives all four wheels.
This layout is chosen to improve the traction or the handling of existing vehicle designs using the rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. For example, the Porsche 911 added all-wheel drive to the existing line-up of rear-wheel drive models in 1989. Automobile handling Car classification Drivetrain layout
Simca was a French automaker, founded in November 1934 by Fiat and directed from July 1935 to May 1963 by Italian Henri Théodore Pigozzi. Simca was affiliated with Fiat and, after Simca bought Ford's French activities, became controlled by the Chrysler Group. In 1970, Simca became a subsidiary and brand of Chrysler Europe, ending its period as an independent company. Simca disappeared in 1978, when Chrysler divested its European operations to another French automaker, PSA Peugeot Citroën. PSA replaced the Simca brand with Talbot after a short period when some models were badged as Simca-Talbots. During most of its post-war activity, Simca was one of the biggest automobile manufacturers in France; the Simca 1100 was for some time the best-selling car in France, while the Simca 1307 and Simca Horizon won the coveted European Car of the Year title in 1976 and 1978, respectively—these models were badge engineered as products of other marques in some countries. For instance the Simca 1307 was sold in Britain as the Chrysler Alpine, the Horizon was sold under the Chrysler brand.
Simca vehicles were manufactured by Simca do Brasil in São Bernardo do Campo and Barreiros in Spain. They were assembled in Australia, Chile and the Netherlands during the Chrysler era. In Argentina, Simca had a small partnership with Metalmecánica SAIC for the production of the Simca Ariane in 1965. Henri Théodore Pigozzi was active in the automotive business in the early 1920s when he met Fiat founder, Giovanni Agnelli, they began business together in 1922 with Pigozzi acting as a scrap merchant, buying old automobile bodies and sending them to Fiat for recycling. Two years Pigozzi became Fiat's General Agent in France, in 1926 SAFAF was founded. In 1928, SAFAF started the assembly of Fiat cars in Suresnes near Paris, licensed the production of some parts to local suppliers. By 1934, as many as 30,000 Fiat cars were sold by SAFAF; the SIMCA company was founded in 1935 by FIAT, when Fiat bought the former Donnet factory in the French town of Nanterre. The first cars produced were Fiat 508 Balillas and Fiat 518 Arditas, but with Simca-Fiat 6CV and 11CV badges.
They were followed during 1936 by the Simca Cinq or 5CV, a version of the Fiat Topolino announced in the Spring, but only available for sale from October 1936. The Huit, an 8CV version of the Fiat 508C-1100, appeared in 1937. Production of the 6CV and 11CV stopped in 1937, leaving the 5CV and the 8CV in production until the outbreak of World War II; the firm remained connected with Fiat, it was not until 1938 that the shortened name "Simca" replaced "Simca-Fiat". Of the businesses that emerged as France's big four auto-makers after the war, Simca was unique in not suffering serious bomb damage to its plant. There were persistent suggestions that Henri Pigozzi's close personal relationship with the Agnelli family and Fiat's powerful political influence with the Mussolini government in Italy secured favourable treatment for Simca during the years when France fell under the control of Italy's powerful ally, Germany. Despite France being occupied, Simca cars continued to be produced in small numbers throughout the war.
Following the 1944 liberation, the company’s close association with Italy became an obvious liability in the feverish atmosphere of recrimination and new beginnings that swept France following four years of German occupation. Shortly after the liberation the Nanterre plant's financial sustainability received a boost when Simca won a contract from the American army to repair large numbers of Jeep engines. On 3 January 1946 the new government’s five-year plan for the automobile industry came into force. Government plans for Simca involved pushing it into a merger with various smaller companies such as Delahaye-Delage, Bernard and Unic so as to create an automobile manufacturing combine to be called “Générale française automobile”. With half an eye on the Volkswagen project across the Rhine, the authorities determined that GFA should produce the two door version of the “AFG”, a small family car, developed during the war by the influential automobile engineer, Jean-Albert Grégoire. Grégoire owed his influence to a powerfully persuasive personality and a considerable engineering talent.
Regarding the future of the French automobile industry, Grégoire held strong opinions, two of which favoured front-wheel drive and aluminium as a material for car bodies. A few weeks after the liberation Grégoire joined the Simca board as General Technical Director, in order to prepare for the production of the AFG at the company’s Nanterre factory. For Simca, faced with a determinedly dirigiste left-wing French government, the prospect of nationalisation seemed real. Simca’s long standing Director General, Henri Pigozzi, was obliged to deploy his considerable reserves of guile and charm in order to retain his own position within the company, it appears that in the end Pigozzi owed his survival at Simca to the intervention with the national politicians of his new board room colleague, Jean-Albert Grégoire. In return, Grégoire obtained the personal commitment of the surviving Director General to the production at Nanterre of his two-door AFG, it is easy to see how the two-door AFG looked, because its four-door equivalent went into
An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert one form of energy into mechanical energy. Heat engines, like the internal combustion engine, burn a fuel to create heat, used to do work. Electric motors convert electrical energy into mechanical motion, pneumatic motors use compressed air, clockwork motors in wind-up toys use elastic energy. In biological systems, molecular motors, like myosins in muscles, use chemical energy to create forces and motion; the word engine derives from Old French engin, from the Latin ingenium–the root of the word ingenious. Pre-industrial weapons of war, such as catapults and battering rams, were called siege engines, knowledge of how to construct them was treated as a military secret; the word gin, as in cotton gin, is short for engine. Most mechanical devices invented during the industrial revolution were described as engines—the steam engine being a notable example. However, the original steam engines, such as those by Thomas Savery, were not mechanical engines but pumps.
In this manner, a fire engine in its original form was a water pump, with the engine being transported to the fire by horses. In modern usage, the term engine describes devices, like steam engines and internal combustion engines, that burn or otherwise consume fuel to perform mechanical work by exerting a torque or linear force. Devices converting heat energy into motion are referred to as engines. Examples of engines which exert a torque include the familiar automobile gasoline and diesel engines, as well as turboshafts. Examples of engines which produce thrust include rockets; when the internal combustion engine was invented, the term motor was used to distinguish it from the steam engine—which was in wide use at the time, powering locomotives and other vehicles such as steam rollers. The term motor derives from the Latin verb moto which means to maintain motion, thus a motor is a device. Motor and engine are interchangeable in standard English. In some engineering jargons, the two words have different meanings, in which engine is a device that burns or otherwise consumes fuel, changing its chemical composition, a motor is a device driven by electricity, air, or hydraulic pressure, which does not change the chemical composition of its energy source.
However, rocketry uses the term rocket motor though they consume fuel. A heat engine may serve as a prime mover—a component that transforms the flow or changes in pressure of a fluid into mechanical energy. An automobile powered by an internal combustion engine may make use of various motors and pumps, but all such devices derive their power from the engine. Another way of looking at it is that a motor receives power from an external source, converts it into mechanical energy, while an engine creates power from pressure. Simple machines, such as the club and oar, are prehistoric. More complex engines using human power, animal power, water power, wind power and steam power date back to antiquity. Human power was focused by the use of simple engines, such as the capstan, windlass or treadmill, with ropes and block and tackle arrangements; these were used in cranes and aboard ships in Ancient Greece, as well as in mines, water pumps and siege engines in Ancient Rome. The writers of those times, including Vitruvius and Pliny the Elder, treat these engines as commonplace, so their invention may be more ancient.
By the 1st century AD, cattle and horses were used in mills, driving machines similar to those powered by humans in earlier times. According to Strabo, a water powered mill was built in Kaberia of the kingdom of Mithridates during the 1st century BC. Use of water wheels in mills spread throughout the Roman Empire over the next few centuries; some were quite complex, with aqueducts and sluices to maintain and channel the water, along with systems of gears, or toothed-wheels made of wood and metal to regulate the speed of rotation. More sophisticated small devices, such as the Antikythera Mechanism used complex trains of gears and dials to act as calendars or predict astronomical events. In a poem by Ausonius in the 4th century AD, he mentions a stone-cutting saw powered by water. Hero of Alexandria is credited with many such wind and steam powered machines in the 1st century AD, including the Aeolipile and the vending machine these machines were associated with worship, such as animated altars and automated temple doors.
Medieval Muslim engineers employed gears in mills and water-raising machines, used dams as a source of water power to provide additional power to watermills and water-raising machines. In the medieval Islamic world, such advances made it possible to mechanize many industrial tasks carried out by manual labour. In 1206, al-Jazari employed a crank-conrod system for two of his water-raising machines. A rudimentary steam turbine device was described by Taqi al-Din in 1551 and by Giovanni Branca in 1629. In the 13th century, the solid rocket motor was invented in China. Driven by gunpowder, this simplest form of internal combustion engine was unable to deliver sustained power, but was useful for propelling weaponry at high speeds towards enemies in battle and for fireworks. After invention, this innovation spread throughout Europe; the Watt steam engine was the first type of steam engine to make use of steam at a pressure just above atmospheric to drive the piston he
The C-segment is the third smallest of the European segments for passenger cars, is described as "medium cars". It is equivalent to the Euro NCAP "small family car" size class, the compact car category in the United States and Great BritainIn 2011, the C-segment had a European market share of 23%; the European segments are not based on weight criteria. In practice, C-segment cars have been described as having a length of 4.5 metres. The most common body styles for C-segment cars are hatchbacks and wagons/estates; the five highest selling C-segment cars in Europe are the Volkswagen Golf, Škoda Octavia, Opel Astra, Ford Focus and Renault Mégane. According to 2011 sales, compact cars are the second segment in Europe after the subcompact one, with 3 million units sold; the world's the 1958 FR layout Austin A40 Farina Countryman. Because of the Volkswagen Golf's definition and long standing dominance of this class it is referred to as the "Golf segment" in much of Europe. During the late 1990s, compact MPVs increased in popularity as a competitor to the compact car, with models such as the Renault Scenic and the Citroën C4 Picasso becoming popular in Europe..
By the early 2010s, demand for compact MPVs was declining, due to the rise of the compact SUV. At the start of the 1970s, the two most popular sectors of the UK market were compact cars and mid-size cars. Since its launch in 1962, the BMC 1100/1300 had been Britain's best selling car, other locally produced compact cars included the Ford Escort, Vauxhall Viva and Hillman Avenger. Imported compact cars that were popular in the UK included the Citroën GS and Datsun Sunny 120Y; the BMC 1100/1300 was replaced in 1973 by the Austin Allegro, second-generation Ford Escort was released in 1974. The third-generation Vauxhall Viva was produced until late 1979, when it was replaced by the Vauxhall Astra; the Astra was part of a late 1970s transition in compact cars from being predominantly rear-wheel drive saloons, to becoming front-wheel drive hatchbacks. The Austin Allegro— introduced five years earlier— was front-wheel drive, although it was produced in saloon and estate body styles; the German-built Volkswagen Golf front-wheel drive hatchback was released in 1974 and was one of the first significant imported compact cars to impact the UK compact car market.
The sporty "GTI" version of the Golf sparked a huge demand for "hot hatchbacks" in the UK and many other countries. The Hillman Avenger continued to sell well, in spite of the 1978 launch of the Talbot Horizon front-wheel drive hatchback; the Ford Escort Mk3 went on sale in the autumn of 1980 replacing the rear-drive saloon format in favour of hatchbacks and front-wheel drive. A saloon version, called the Ford Orion was added in 1983. In 1983, the Austin Allegro was replaced by the Austin Maestro hatchback. In 1984, the Vauxhall Astra Mk2 hatchback/estate/cabriolet was released, including a saloon version called the Vauxhall Belmont; the first significant Japanese-designed compact car in the UK was the 1981 Triumph Acclaim, a four-door saloon based on the Honda Ballade with a Honda-designed engine. The Acclaim was replaced in 1984 by the Rover 200. In late 1985, the Peugeot 309 became the first Peugeot to be produced in the UK. Ford began the 1990s by replacing its 10-year-old Escort with the Ford Escort MkV.
In 1998, the European version of the Escort was replaced by the global Ford Focus MkI model. General Motors released the Vauxhall Astra Mk3 update in 1991 and the all-new Astra Mk4 in 1998. Rover Group introduced the Rover 200 Mk2 in 1989; the Rover 200 Mk3 was introduced in 1995, replacing the Honda Prelude-based Mk2 with a UK-designed car. Car classification Compact car
A station wagon called an estate car, estate or wagon, is a car body style which has a two-box design, a large cargo area and a rear tailgate, hinged to open for access to the cargo area. The body style is similar to a hatchback car, however station wagons are longer and are more to have the roofline extended to the rear of the car to maximize the cargo space; the names "station wagon" and "estate car" are a result due to the initial purpose of the car being to transport people and luggage between a country estate and the nearest train station. The first station wagons, produced in the United States around 1910, were wood-bodied conversions of an existing passenger car. During the 1930s, the car manufacturers in the United States, United Kingdom and France began to produce station wagons models, by the 1950s the wood rear bodywork had been replaced by an all-steel body. Station wagon models sold well from the 1950s to the 1970s, however since sales have declined as minivans and SUVs have increased in popularity.
Reflecting the original purpose of transporting people and luggage between country estates and train stations, the body style is called an "estate car" or "estate" in the United Kingdom, "station wagon" in American, New Zealand and African English. In the United States, early models with exposed wooden bodies became known as woodies. In Germany, the term "Kombi" is used, short for Kombinationskraftwagen. Station wagons have been marketed using the French term "break de chasse", which translates as "hunting break", due to shared ancestry with the shooting-brake body style. Manufacturers may designate station wagons across various model lines with a proprietary nameplate. Examples include "Avant", "Caravan", "Kombi", "Sports Tourer", "Sports Wagon, "Tourer", "Touring" and "Variant". Station wagons and hatchbacks have in common a two-box design configuration, a shared interior volume for passengers and cargo and a rear door, hinged at roof level. Folding rear seats are common on both station wagons and hatchbacks.
Distinguishing features between hatchbacks and station wagons are: D-pillar: Station wagons are more to have a D-pillar. Cargo volume: Station wagons prioritize passenger and cargo volume — with windows aside the cargo volume. Of the two body styles, a station wagon roof more extends to the rearmost of the vehicle, enclosing a full-height cargo volume — a hatchback roof might more rake down steeply behind the C-Pillar, prioritizing style over interior volume, with shorter rear overhang and with smaller windows aside the cargo volume. Other differences are more variable and can include: Cargo floor contour: Favoring cargo capacity, a station wagon may prioritize a fold-flat floor, whereas a hatchback would more allow a cargo floor with pronounced contour. Seating: Station wagons may have two or three rows of seats, while hatchbacks may only have one or two; the rearmost row of seating in a station wagon is located in the cargo area and can be either front-facing or rear-facing. Rear suspension: A station wagon may include reconfigured rear suspension for additional load capacity and to minimize intrusion in the cargo volume.
Rear Door: Hatchbacks feature a top-hinged liftgate for cargo access, with variations ranging from a two-part liftgate/tailgates to a complex tailgate that can function either as a full tailgate or as a trunk lid. Station wagons have enjoyed numerous tailgate configurations. Hatchbacks may be called Liftbacks when the opening area is sloped and the door is lifted up to open. A design director from General Motors has described the difference as "Where you break the roofline, at what angle, defines the spirit of the vehicle", he said. "You could have a 90-degree break in the back and have a station wagon."It has become common for station wagons to use a shared platform with other body styles, resulting in many shared components being used for the wagon and hatchback variants of the model range. Many modern station wagons have an upward-swinging, full-width, full-height rear door supported on gas springs — where the rear window can swing up independently. Wagons have employed numerous designs; the earliest common style was an upward-swinging window combined with a downward swinging tailgate.
Both were manually operated. This configuration prevailed from the earliest origins of the wagon body style in the 1920s through the 1940s, it remained in use through 1960 on several models offered by Ford, including the 1957-58 Del Rio two-door wagon. This style was adopted on aftermarket camper shells for pickup trucks, seeing that pickup trucks had a bottom half tailgate as an OEM feature. In the early 1950s, tailgates with hand-cranked roll-down rear windows began to appear. In the decade, electric power was applied to the tailgate window—it could be operated from the driver's seat, as well as by the keyhole in the rear door. By the early 1960s, this arrangement was common on both compact wagons. Side hinge: A side hinged tailgate that opened like a door was offered on three-seat wagons to make it easier for the back row passengers to enter and exit their rear-facing seats; this was supplanted by the dual-hinged tailgate. These have a retractable rear roof section as well as a conventional rear tailgate which folded
Compact car is a vehicle size class— predominantly used in North America— that sits between subcompact cars and mid-size cars. The present-day definition is equivalent to the European C-segment or the British term "small family car". However, prior to the downsizing of the United States car industry in the 1970s and 1980s, larger vehicles with wheelbases up to 110 in were considered "compact cars" in the United States. In Japan, small size passenger vehicle is a registration category that sits between kei cars and regular cars, based on overall size and engine displacement limits; the United States Environmental Protection Agency Fuel Economy Regulations for 1977 and Later Model Year includes definitions for classes of automobiles. Based on the combined passenger and cargo volume, compact cars are defined as having an interior volume index of 100–109 cu ft; the beginnings of U. S. production of compact cars were the late 1940s prototypes of economy cars, including the Chevrolet Cadet and the Ford Vedette.
Neither car reached production in the U. S. however the Vedette was produced by Ford SAF in France. The first U. S produced, it was built on a 100-inch wheelbase, nonetheless still a large car by contemporary European standards. The term "compact" was coined by a Nash executive as a euphemism for small cars with a wheelbase of 110 inches or less, it established a new market segment and the U. S. automobile industry soon adopted the "compact" term. Several competitors to the Nash Rambler arose from the ranks of America's other independent automakers, although none enjoyed the long-term success of the Rambler. Other early compact cars included the Willys Aero and the Hudson Jet. In 1954, 64,500 cars sold in the U. S. were small American cars, out of a total market of five million car. Market research indicated that five percent of those surveyed said they would consider a small car, suggesting a potential market size of 275,000 cars. By 1955, the Nash Rambler that began as a sideline convertible model became a success and was now available in station wagon and sedan body styles.
During the Recession of 1958, the only exception to the sales decline was American Motors with its compact, economy-oriented Ramblers that saw high demand among cautious consumers. By 1959, sales of small imported cars increased to 14% of the U. S. passenger car market, as consumers turned to compact cars. By this time, smaller cars appealed to people with a college education and a higher income whose families were buying more than one car. Customers expected compact cars to provide improved fuel economy compared to full-sized cars, while maintaining headroom and plenty of trunk space. Between 1958 and 1960, the major U. S. car manufacturers made a push towards compact cars, resulting in the introduction of the Studebaker Lark, Chevrolet Corvair, Ford Falcon, Plymouth Valiant. These models gave rise to compact vans built on the compact car platforms, such as the Studebaker Zip Van, Chevrolet Covair Greenbrier, Ford Econoline and Dodge A100. During the 1960s, compacts were the smallest class of North American cars, but they had evolved into only smaller versions of the 6-cylinder or V8-powered six-passenger sedan.
They were much larger than compacts by European manufacturers, which were five-passenger 4-cylinder engine cars. Adverising and road tests for the Ford Maverick and the Rambler American made comparisons with the popular Volkswagen Beetle. Compact cars were the basis for a new small car segment that became known as the pony car, named after the Ford Mustang, built on the Falcon chassis. At that time, there was a distinct difference in size between compact and full-size models, an early definition of the compact was a vehicle with an overall length of less than 200 in, much larger than European equivalents. In the early 1970s, the domestic automakers introduced smaller subcompact cars that included the AMC Gremlin, Chevrolet Vega, Ford Pinto. In 1973, the Energy Crisis started, which made small fuel efficient cars more desirable, the North American driver began exchanging their large cars for the smaller, imported compacts that cost less to fill up and were inexpensive to maintain; the 1977 model year marked the beginning of a downsizing of all vehicles, so that cars such as the AMC Concord and the Ford Fairmont that replaced the compacts were re-classified as mid-size, while cars inheriting the size of the Ford Pinto and Chevrolet Vega became classified as compact cars.
After the reclassification, mid-size American cars were still far larger than mid-size cars from other countries and were more similar in size to cars classified as "large cars" in Europe. It would not be until the 1980s that American cars were being downsized to international dimensions. In the 1985 model year, compact cars classified by the EPA included Ford's Escort and Tempo, the Chevrolet Cavalier, Toyota Corolla, Acura Legend, Mercedes-Benz 300, Nissan Maxima, Volvo DL, many others. Since the 1990s, most compact cars sold in the United States are imported models. In Japan, vehicles that are larger than kei cars, but with dimensions smaller than 4,700 mm long, 1,700 mm wide, 2,000 mm high and with engines at or under 2,000 cc are classified as "small size" cars. Small size cars are identified by a licence plate number beginning with "5". In the past, the small size category has received tax benefits stipulated by the Japanese government regulations, such as those in the 1951 Road Vehicle Act.
In 1955, the Japanese Ministry of International Trade