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There’s no doubt that the high fuel prices in 2008 impacted both the collision repair and insurance industries, and we haven’t seen the last of the fallout. These heighted fuel prices also left their mark on U.S. consumers. In response to America’s fear of high fuel prices, several car makers are introducing a smaller class of vehicles called the B-segment, which was previously only available overseas in markets like Europe and Asia. These pint-sized cars strike a chord with buyers by tempting them with low prices and fuel efficiency. However, thrifty consumers may not think of the consequences that can result from combining those sought-after, money-saving features with expensive soon-to-be mandatory safety equipment. The fly in the ointment here is the fact that these cars are prime candidates for totaling out.

Today, there are enough potential entrants percolating in the B-segment (also known as subcompact) to make your head spin. Thus, by focusing on those candidates most likely to make the cut — which will be those car makers who already have a dealership network in the United States — we will gain an understanding of the true cost of these cars to the industry. So who are the top contenders?

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