Amid the myriad predictions for the U.S. auto industry in 2006, mark this down: small cars. In a year that promises a continuation of high crude oil prices, thrifty shoppers will be looking to downsize their vehicles and increase their fuel economy. But don’t confuse small with cheap. Rather, think frugal chic. Global auto makers have stirred U.S. car buyers’ appetite for smaller cars by bringing to market models offering snappy designs, sophisticated technology and top-notch ...

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