"Most people think of it as subcompacts," says Wes Brown, analyst at Iceology, "but in general the market has gone all over the place. Generally, it's overall length and size, but now price doesn't matter. Small has nothing to do with price for some small cars like Mini."
Advertising Age Detroit Bureau Chief Jean Halliday also put the question to several other auto marketing executives and analysts:
VP, Toyota's Scion:
"When people think about small cars they think about size and price. But now a lot of Europeans are bringing in small premium cars."
Global senior VP-marketing, Chrysler Group:
"It's about affordability and attainable in the range of [a] $150-$250 [car payment] per month and typically translates to a smaller-size vehicle. But small doesn't mean you can't have innovation, style and safety. It's a misperception."
Partner, Strategic Vision:
"It's all blurred now. ... It's evolving into a different kind of thing than we remembered as classic small cars associated with less expensive. We see in Audi A3 an emotional appeal where you have the sexuality of a sports car with functionality."
"We would say kind of below the compact class-subcompacts, with the [Kia] Rio, [Chevrolet] Aveo, Honda [Fit] and [Scion] Xa. None are high volume."