Trends in the auto industry change as often as preferences in the world of fashion. IHS Automotive tracks changes in the industry. It divides the automobile marketplace into 6 basic body styles. It says the hatchback is poised to make the largest percentage gain in popularity in the near term.
Right now, hatchbacks represent only 4.8% of light vehicle sales in the US, but IHS says that number will grow to 6.6% by 2020. That’s a 37% increase. The hatchback is the most popular light vehicle choice for Europeans. Almost 40% of new passenger vehicles on the continent are 5 door cars. That means most manufacturers already have hatchback designs in production. Most could be easily adapted to the American market if the demand from customers is there.
Honda is expected to offer a 5 door version of the Civic beginning with the 2017 model year. “Development of a hatchback for the Civic would happen with or without the U.S. market,” IHS analyst Stephanie Brinley says. “If it can help increase sales, it can be worth the effort and cost to bring it here.”
Chevrolet is also preparing a hatchback version of the Cruze for next year. The Mazda 3 and Ford Focus already are available as hatchbacks. Toyota will slap a new badge on the former Scion iM hatchback and market it as the Corolla iM. Last week, Volvo showed off two new small car designs. both of which are 5 door designs.
Many electric cars feature a hatchback, including the Toyota Prius, Chevy Volt, and the Nissan LEAF. The new Chevy Bolt is a 5 door car and the Hyundai Ioniq, which arrives later this year, will also be a hatchback. As excited as people are about the upcoming Tesla Model 3, there many were disappointed that the car is not a hatchback design and has a rather small trunk opening.
After studying potential Honda Civic buyers, Honda determined that “there is a growing market for [hatchback s], so we want to be on the forefront,” says Jeff Conrad, general manager of American Honda. The company’s research found more and more customers telling product planners they want a vehicle that “can carry my stuff.”
Buyers are showing a strong preference for smaller, more nimble crossovers with higher fuel economy. Models such as the Mazda CX-3, the Honda HR-V, and the Jeep Renegade are increasing in popularity and blurring the line between a hatchback and a crossover. Edmunds analyst Jessica Caldwell.
“Practicality and flexible cargo space are the big selling points of small crossovers,” says Jessica Caldwell of Edmunds.com. “That same reasoning can apply to hatchbacks.”
Source: Automotive News