26 March 2013

Dropping the hatch

OVER the past few new years when manufacturers are launch a new family car. The replacement has no hatchback bodystyle in the range. Instead, they have dropped them and made them either available only as a saloon or an estate. 

The Passat and the Accord aren't available as a hatchback. Volkswagen and Honda have ditched the hatchback variants of their family cars a long time ago. More recently, Toyota, Citroen and Mazda have done the same with the Avensis, the C5 and the 6.

But the question I'm asking myself is this. Why?

There is some logic on why they've done this. Building a family car in three different bodystyles - hatchback, saloon and estate will cost more money. Manufacturers will waste more money on the saloon variant in the UK and Western Europe if it's sold alongside the hatchback model - that's because they won't sell. So it really is pointless making a saloon bodystyle of a family car. Another reason for seeing hatchbacks bodystyles being discontinued on family cars is not only stealing sales of saloons, they can also hamper the sales of estates models.

This will be debatable, but to some people, saloons look classier than hatchbacks. The BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class are popular cars. They aren't available as hatchbacks - though you could say the Audi A5 Sportback is basically an A4 that's a hatch. You can have it either as a saloon or an estate. They've set the trend and mainstream manufacturers are dropping the hatch.

But what if you don't need a huge loadbay like an estate? But you would rather have the practicality of a hatchback tailgate and arguably have a sleeker looking family car. Ford and Vauxhall still make the Mondeo and Insignia with this bodystyle. Want something with more prestige? Well there's the Audi A5 Sportback.

Maybe I've answered my own question here.

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