Sunday, December 28, 2014

Flashback!!! Compact Imports at the 1987 Chicago Auto Show... is this the beginning of the econobox era?

This video has popped up on Facebook and other social media just recently. It's a flashback to the early days of the 'econobox' era. 

The title of this video refers to compact imports yet there's several domestic manufacturers shown. 

The '88 Mercury Tracer  was a rebadged version of the Ford Laser model already sold in Asia and Australia, which was itself a restyled Mazda 323.The '88 Pontiac LeMans was manufactured by Daewoo and the '88 Mitsubishi Precis was a rebadged Hyundai. To top that off, the Ford Festiva was engineered by Mazda and manufactured by Kia. Mazda is Japanese; Daewoo, Hyundai and Kia were all based in South Korea.

I noticed that the Ford Festiva was presented as being equipped with a 1.1 litre engine with a 1.3 litre as an option. Although the smaller engine was available in other markets the larger, 1.3 litre, was the engine that came as the standard in North America. 

Not all of the cars in the video are what I would consider an econobox though. The LeMans is borderline and the VW Fox isn't really a "box". 

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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