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Cars.com Reports Increased Interest in Smaller Cars

July 21, 2008

CHICAGO — High sticker prices and long waiting lists for popular fuel-efficient vehicles like the Toyota Prius have some consumers looking for cheaper alternatives to save money at the pump, according to Cars.com.

The online new- and used-car marketplace has reported a dramatic increase in the number of consumer searches for vehicles such as the Geo Metro and Geo Prizm, which have seen consumer searches rise by more than 200 percent year over year. Renewed interest in these cheap, fuel-efficient vehicles has also driven up their prices: Several Geo Metros from the mid-90s, which have a book value of around $1,300, are listed for sale on Cars.com for more than $4,000, according to the company.

Cars.com's senior editor, Joe Wiesenfelder, cautioned buyers against jumping into a smaller car without first weighing all the factors involved.

“Despite their renewed popularity and the ability to potentially save some money, there are several precautions that people should take when looking at older subcompacts like the Ford Festiva and Geo Metro,” Wiesenfelder said. “While they may save money on gas, many of these cars can bear greater costs when it comes to safety and reliability, which is part of the reason these cars weren’t popular when they were first introduced. Over time, automakers have both changed the way they construct vehicles and added safety features not found in earlier models, improving crashworthiness across the board.”

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