GM May Sell Mini-Cars to Fuel-Conscious U.S. Buyers


General Motors may begin selling a mini-car more than a foot shorter than anything else that is currently out in the U.S. to get back buyers that have been deterred by record fuel prices. GM may bring the production version of the Chevrolet Beat to the U.S. The car gets almost as much as 40 miles per gallon, which has only been topped in the U.S. by hybrids only. The introduction of the Beat would be one step in downsizing and shifting away from fossil fuel-based vehicles.

Besides the Beat, GM is weighing a list of options to refocus their lineup of autos to be more fuel-efficient rather than performance based. They include the introduction of a small pickup and also an expansion of the number of versions of the Volt plug-in in the U.S. GM is also trying to increase the production and availability of the Chevrolet Cobalt sedan.

GM unveiled the Beat as a prototype at the New York auto show in April 2007, along with two other 40 MPG Chevrolet small-car concepts. Aside from two hybrid models, the only car in the U.S. that even comes close to the Beat’s projected fuel efficiency is the Smart car with 36 MPG.

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