The Hatch Is Back In America

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
the hatch is back in america

The US car market contracted by 23 percent between the 2006 and 2010 model-years according to WardsAuto data [via the Detroit News], but over the same period the total number of hatchbacks sold per year has increased some 63%, from 291,853 to 475,048. That’s right hatchback fans, after decades of underachievement in the US market, your favorite bodystyle is back in a big way.

Hyundai expects a 40% hatchback take rate on its Accent, Ford is currently selling about 50% of its Fiesta subcompacts and 41% of its Focus compact cars in hatchback form, and the DetN notes

Ford initially expected about 40 percent of Fiesta buyers would choose the five-door, but it has been trending as high as 60 percent and could end the year that way, [Robert Parker, Ford’s group marketing manager] said. The unexpectedly high demand for the Fiesta hatch, he said, led Ford to adjust its sales projections for the Focus. The expectation now is a 50-50 split between the two body styles.

AutoPacific analyst and all-around sharp cookie Dave Sullivan notes that this data calls GM’s decision not to offer a Cruze hatchback in America into question, estimating that Cruze sales could be as much as 30% higher if the five-door bodystyle were offered. And he points out that, in reality, Americans are driving far more hatchbacks than they realize… they just happen to call them “crossovers.” So the trend here isn’t so much about styling or packaging… but size. First Americans downsized from SUVs to CUVs, and now we’re starting to see sales of cars with CUV-like hatchback bodystyles sell better and better. No wonder we’re starting to see more companies plan Mazda5-style compact MPVs for future model-years, as these offer even more CUV-style practicality with compact-hatch-style efficiency.

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  • Pch101 Pch101 on Jul 13, 2011

    475,000 units. An 11 million SAAR. That amounts to a whopping 4.3% of the market. Something for small car designers to note, but otherwise, not exactly a revolutionary change in tastes.

  • MarcKyle64 MarcKyle64 on Jul 13, 2011

    I love the utility of my 3 door 2010 Accent hatchback. I don't need the extra doors and the amount of space available for storage with the seats down is fantastic. I bought exactly the amount of car that I needed: an economical car (I average 28 mpg in mostly city usage with the A/C constantly on) that could hold my wife's wheelchair. I'd had previous cars with trunks big enough to hold her chair, but there was no room left after that was loaded, so I often ended up with the inconvenience of putting the groceries in the back seat. Now I just put her chair in first and then pile the groceries around and on top of it.

  • SPPPP The little boosters work way better than you would expect. I am a little nervous about carrying one more lithium battery around in the car (because of fire risk). But I have used the booster more than once on trips, and it has done the job. Also, it seems to hold charge for a very long time - months at least - when you don't use it. (I guess I could start packing it for trips, but leaving it out of the car on normal days, to minimize the fire risk.)
  • Bader Hi I want the driver side lights including the bazl and signal
  • Theflyersfan One positive: doesn't appear to have a sunroof. So you won't need to keep paper towels in the car.But there's a serious question to ask this seller - he has less than 40,000 miles on some major engine work, and the transmission and clutch work and mods are less than 2 months old...why are you selling? That's some serious money in upgrades and repairs, knowing that the odds of getting it back at the time of sale is going to be close to nil. This applies to most cars and it needs to be broadcasted - these kinds of upgrades and mods are really just for the current owner. At the time of sale, a lot of buyers will hit pause or just won't pay for the work you've done. Something just doesn't sit well with me and this car. It could be a snowbelt beast and help save the manuals and all that, but a six year old VW with over 100,000 miles normally equals gremlins and electrical issues too numerous to list. Plus rust in New England. I like it, but I'd have to look for a crack pipe somewhere if the seller thinks he's selling at that price.
  • 2ACL I can't help feeling that baby is a gross misnomer for a vehicle which the owner's use necessitated a (manual!) transmission rebuild at 80,000 miles. An expensive lesson in diminishing returns I wouldn't recommend to anyone I know.
  • El scotto Rumbling through my pantry and looking for the box of sheets of aluminum foil. More alt right comments than actual comments on international trade policy. Also a great deal of ignorance about the global oil industry. I'm a geophysicist and I pay attention such things. Best of all we got to watch Tassos go FULL BOT on us.