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A recent press trip involving the Chevy Spark got us thinking about microcars and their role in the American market. They've long been popular on the European scene, of course, but these pint-sized haulers are just beginning to make their presence felt on domestic shores.

The top choices in the microcar segment are the Spark, the Fiat 500 and the Scion iQ. Cute and cheerful, the 500 and the iQ are class leaders when it comes to style. The Spark is the pick for those who value versatility (it's the only choice of the three with four doors and a back seat that comfortably accommodates adults) and affordability (it's got the lowest starting price of the bunch). As you'd expect, excellent fuel economy is one thing all three models have in common.

We were curious as to which models buyers are trading in for their charmingly diminutive microcars. Using the Chevy Spark as a test case, our crack data analysis team was able to mine some information.

Below are the six models most often traded in for a Chevy Spark. This list covers the third quarter of 2012 (July through September), and it looks pretty much as we'd expected. Most of the trade-ins are smaller cars -- compacts or subcompacts. And four of the six are Chevys, which suggests that in the case of the Spark, brand loyalty is a factor.


1: Chevrolet Aveo
Estimated percentage of trade-ins: 7.2 (tie)


1: Chevrolet Cobalt
Estimated percentage of trade-ins: 7.2 (tie)


2: Chevrolet Malibu
Estimated percentage of trade-ins: 2.7


3: Ford Focus
Estimated percentage of trade-ins: 2.5
 

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4: Chevrolet Equinox
Estimated percentage of trade-ins: 2.0 (tie)


4: Hyundai Elantra
Estimated percentage of trade-ins: 2.0 (tie)

Our data guys also uncovered some interesting and perhaps less predictable models that were swapped for Chevy's perky little hauler:


Oldest model traded in for a Chevy Spark: 1988 Chevrolet C/K 1500 Series (tie)


Oldest model traded in for a Chevy Spark: 1988 Ford Ranger (tie)
 
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