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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