Could Detroit be on the verge of falling behind the curve in another hot new market segment?

The answer should come in short order, as offshore-based auto makers begin to bring some of their tiniest vehicles to the U.S.

Long-held conventional wisdom is that Americans won?t buy anything smaller than a Chevrolet Cavalier and that they equate tiny with cheap and unsafe.

But the reception of BMW?s high-styled Mini Cooper seems to have convinced some that times are changing. ?The U.S. is the second biggest market for the Mini?the smallest car offered,? points out BMW Chairman Helmut Panke, appearing a bit surprised, himself, at the success of the award-winning car, which sold out its nearly 25,000-unit allotment here last year.”(

With the introduction of Toyotas Scion division and Mercedes Smart Roadster being imported to the US in the coming years it would seem that the premium small catagory is about to be the next big thing (no pun intended). I think that BMW deserves tons of credit for paving the way with the MINI and risking a lot with the rollout of a car that many thought could never be sold on these shores. It would seem that once again they've set the benchmark for others to follow.