The Truth About Cars » D-segment The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:03:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » D-segment Volkswagen Delays Passat As Europe’s Woes Hurt D-Segment Sales Tue, 11 Jun 2013 20:37:57 +0000 800px-VW_Passat_2.0_TDI_BlueMotion_Technology_Comfortline_(B7)_–_Frontansicht,_1._Mai_2011,_Ratingen

The next generation European-market Volkswagen Passat will be delayed until at least the end of 2014, as Volkswagen follows an industry-trend in Europe of neglecting their slow-selling D-segment cars.

Europe’s economic crunch has led to a sharp contraction in new car sales, and D-segment vehicles are among the hardest hit. Ford is delaying replacing the Mondeo with the car we know as the Fusion, until late 2014, while other cars like the Honda Accord are on the chopping block for Europe.

According to Just-Auto, the next Passat will be based off the MQB modular architecture, but with sales of D-segment cars moving so slowly, VW sees little reason to introduce an all-new car in such a slow market. Where VW is really hurting is in the mid-size crossover segment, which is the main culprit behind slowing sales of large sedans. Buyers are opting for crossovers like the Nissan Qashqai, which is roughly the size of our Rogue, rather than a mid-size sedan – and Volkswagen doesn’t really have a competitor in that segment, save for the relatively unpopular (in North America) Tiguan.

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SUV Sales Outpacing Family Cars In The UK Wed, 27 Feb 2013 16:24:47 +0000

Just as McDonald’s resturants successfully introduced themselves into food-conscious Europe, another American-derived invasive species could be entering and killing off the native fauna.

At a briefing for the launch of the Ford Kuga (aka our Escape), Ford’s Alex Gallagher told Just-Auto that SUV sales are far outpacing sales of D-Segment cars, or what we call mid-size cars in North America. Europe’s D-segment includes not just sedans, but also hatchback and wagon variants as well.

Over the last 5 years, sales of SUVs have more than doubled, to 250,000 units annually, eclipsing D-segment sales for the first time last month. Despite SUVs being primarily thought of as an American product, Gallagher cites the Nissan Qashqai and Juke  as the driving force behind the switch to SUVs. Last month, the Qashqai and Juke ranked 5th and 9th respectively in a top 10 list dominated by small B-segment hatchbacks. In 2012, the 6th place Qashqai outsold the 13th place Vauxhall Insignia (the top selling D-segment car) by roughly 13,000 units, and outsold the Ford Mondeo and VW Passat (the second and third place D-segment cars) by a 2:1 ratio.

While SUVs were once derided as vehicles for farmers, mobsters or over-indulged housewives (at one time being labeled “Chelsea tractors, after the tony London neighborhood) the newest crop of SUVs are more in the dreaded crossover template than anything else. Despite the accepted binary dynamic whereby wagons= good and crossovers=bad, the much maligned two-box vehicles have won high praise from both critics and consumers on the continent. Even Chris Harris went ga-ga for the Dacia Duster, praising it for its simplicity and calling it “the most significant new motorcar launched in the past decade“.

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Fiat May Stick To Small Cars Fri, 16 Mar 2012 16:31:09 +0000

Sergio Marchionne told Auto Express that Fiat may stick to small cars in the future, with vehicles like the 500L and the much-lauded Panda acting as Fiat’s “bigger” offerings. The reason behind the move appears to be greater consolidation with Chrysler and Fiat’s larger cars meeting a cool reception in the market.

“It could well be that Fiat never does a D-segment car again,” he admitted. “The [recently axed] Croma was a great car that could not get traction in the market.
I need to be careful not to push Fiat into territory it can’t manage. I have Alfa, Chrysler and Jeep that can all play there. We need to be faithful to Fiat’s DNA and its potential.”
Marchionne went on to cite the sales failure of the latest Fiat Croma as further evidence that the Fiat brand must stick to its knitting. With Marchionne somehow forget to mention that Lancia, with their re-badged Chrysler products, should also be a prime contender to sell D-Segment products


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Follow-Up: Legroom In Midsize Sedans Sat, 23 Apr 2011 20:33:20 +0000

Last week we discussed a rumor that suggested the new 2013 Malibu’s rear legroom might be compromised as a result of its redesign, and in the original post I included the official manufacturer numbers for rear legroom in the “big six” midsize sedans. This led to an interesting discussion in our comments section, and the comparison apparently caught the attention of at least one boss of a global automaker’s US operations. This exec (who has admitted to being a daily TTAC reader), wrote in to point out that there are two different SAE standards for measuring rear legroom, the L33 “Effective legroom” test, in which the front seat is placed at the appropriate distance for a driver in the 95 percentile of height, and the L34 “Maximum driver legroom” test, in which the front seat is placed all the way before measuring. As a result of our conversation, I thought I’d share a comparison of the six best-selling D-segment sedans using a different (and hopefully less-confusing) metric: combined legroom. You can move the seat, but you can’t run away from this metric…

Combined legroom (the sum of official front and rear legroom numbers) for the “big six” midsize sedans are as follows:

Hyundai Sonata: 80.1 inches

Toyota Camry: 80 inches

Nissan Altima: 79.9 inches

Chevrolet Malibu: 79.8 inches

Honda Accord: 79.7 inches

Ford Fusion: 79.4 inches

The crazy part: sure enough, the new Malibu lost .8 inches of combined legroom (almost all in the back seat), with 42.1/36.9/79.0 (front/rear/combined), putting it at the bottom of its class in this metric (albeit by .4 inches). But as we noted at the time, rear legroom isn’t the outgoing Malibu’s main problem, hip and shoulder room are. There, crucially, GM did what it had to: the new ‘bu’s rear hiproom has expanded from 52.1 to 54.4, while rear shoulder room is up from 53.9 to 57.1.

We can look at more interior space measurement comparisons if there’s interest, but one of the most important lessons from all this is that subjective reviews of perceived interior space matter. Though “combined legroom” helps keep comparisons on a relatively apples-to-apples comparison, the feel of a car’s interior and and its ability to create a sense of space remains primary to the user experience… and that can’t be broken down into numbers.

Or can it? Obviously the position of the front seat at any given time has the major effect on a given rear-seat experience, but despite this problematic issue, marketing firms still ask consumers about their perceptions of front and rear-seat spaciousness. And based on the results of one such survey, shared with us by our mystery executive, the reactions are as confusing as you’d expect, given that they say as much or more about the consumers than their vehicles. Here are the satisfaction ratings for each of the “big six” (front/back)

Hyundai Sonata: 96%/94%

Honda Accord: 96%/89%

Ford Fusion: 95%/90%

Nissan Altima: 97%/87%

Toyota Camry: 94%/90%

Chevrolet Malibu: 93%/90%

Given the Hyundai’s small advantage in combined legroom, it’s not surprising to see it on top here… but the rest of the results seem to have no connection with the raw legroom numbers. It will comes as no surprise to anyone who has worked inside the industry that consumers don’t precisely reflect the reality, but these numbers simply reinforce the importance of capturing a feel with a car’s interior, rather than just redlining the metrics. And it’s a good reminder that high-quality car reviews focus more on capturing a car’s feel than regurgitating a stream of numbers.


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