Only after spending last week driving around California and Los Angeles did I realise just how significant an announcement made at Chevrolet's LA motor show conference was.

In a country - and state - where most cars on the roads are either incredibly vast in size or incredibly bland to look at, the decision to launch the Chevrolet Spark in the US is either very brave or a masterstroke.

First of all, car makers in the US have to do something about reducing their Co2 emissions. The upcoming CAFE regulations are very strict and force firms like GM's hand into launching ever smaller cars (and more efficient cars like the Chevrolet Volt) if they are to be allowed to continue selling big gas guzzling trucks and full-size petrol saloons so popular with a lot of Americans.

There's no doubt smaller cars are becoming ever popular in the US, with Ford finding success with its latest global Ford Fiesta and Ford Focus models and GM itself with its Cruze Range.