The floor dropped out of the market for SUVs and pickups this year, and Americans were supposedly replacing them with small cars. But what's small in America isn't what's small in the rest of the world, and truly small cars appear to continue to get short shrift. The latest evidence of this fact is the Hyundai i10's exclusion from U.S. sale.

But it's far from the only evidence of the American resistance to very small cars. Cars like the Toyota Yaris and Honda Fit do well, even to the point of selling out of dealer supplies in some areas of the country, but they are the smallest examples of commercial success in the U.S. car market aside from a rather limited-volume sampling of the Smart ForTwo. Toyota is even reportedly considering keeping its Smart-sized iQ away from the U.S. because of its size.

There appears to be no single factor for the reluctance to embrace truly small cars, despite their obvious advantages for the majority of city-dwellers. High exchange rates could drive the price of imported small cars upward enough to make the fuel savings benefits marginal at best. Safety concerns about sharing the highways and byways with the three-ton hulks known as SUVs are equally real. Together, those two plus the apparent American predisposition against anything smaller or cheaper are conspiring to keep such innovative small cars off the roads.

In the i10's case, Hyundai has already realized this and is instead working on bringing a Fit or Yaris competitor such as the i20 or i30 to the U.S., though senior vice president of product planning for Hyundia/Kia says there "is no decision yet," reports Automotive News.