Tiny Cars

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The 1990s are about to officially end on the nation's highways. GM has announced it will end production of the giant Hummer H1.

Now, a stampede of stylish, sporty, gas-sipping tiny cars is headed onto the American roads. Not yet the teeny-tiny cars of Europe — those are coming — but a rush of small sub-compacts with more miles, power, finish and flair than their 1970's oil-crisis ancestors ever had

We know that somewhere, in the back of your mind, as you dump fifty dollars worth of gas into a fill-up, you're wondering what it would be like to drive tiny. Today, we'll tell you, and look at the options and the future.

Hear about a whole new generation of tiny cars.

Quotes from the Show:

"Actually, the new cars turn out to be much more refined, they're a lot more comfortable, they're not like the rolling traffic cones that they used to be. So, we're finding that, as these new cars get into the market, they're a lot better overall vehicles." Larry Webster

"The small cars are fine scooting around in suburbia ... but to be alone between say Las Vegas and Reno in a [Honda] Fit is not necessarily where I would like to be. It really does have to do with the landscape and that's one of the reasons over the years we have resisted [small cars in America] so much." Phil Patton

"[The Tango] is the only car in the world available that you can drive in a half a lane with more clearance than a truck has in a full lane. ...It weighs 3050 pounds [almost as much as a midsize Sudan.]" Rick Woodbury

"I see a definite trend in the youth of America in paying a little more for something which has all the features of the bigger version but in a smaller package." Peter Horbury

"When you're getting around the city this [the stackable car] is the vehicle you might want to take." Ryan Chin


Larry Webster, Technical Director for Car and Driver Magazine

Phil Patton, writes about cars for the New York Times and is the author of "Bug: The Strange Mutations of the World's Most Famous Automobile"

Ryan Chin, MIT Media Lab's Smart Cities Project, contributed to the design of the stackable concept car

Peter Horbury, Ford Motor Company Executive Director for Design, North America

Rick Woodbury, inventor of the Tango, an ultra-slim electric commuter car.

This program aired on August 31, 2006.


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