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Midi-MPVs threaten dominance of lower medium hatchbacks

Midi-MPVs are threatening the dominance of the five-door hatchback in sales terms across Europe, according to research by JATO Dynamics.

The market intelligence company says the continuing popularity of this relatively new style of vehicle could see a permanent shift in buying patterns away from the automotive mainstay, the five-door hatchback. Midi-MPV volumes have grown by almost 300% since 1998 in the five biggest European markets. In a market where volumes of conventional five-door hatchbacks have grown only slightly in the same period, manufacturers selling midi-MPVs in the largest numbers are seeing a decline in sales of five door hatchbacks.

Since 2000, when the midi-MPV market started to mature, sales of the GM/Vauxhall Zafira have increased 24.2% while Astra sales have fallen. Citroen Picasso MPV sales have grown 51.8% in the last three years while sales of the Xsara five-door have fallen.

“We have begun to see an erosion of the five-door hatchback's share of the C-segment volumes rather than just a growth for the midi-MPV,” said Tony Hayes, managing director of JATO's automotive division. “The possibility of a migration to midi-MPVs from hatchbacks is made all the more likely by the fact that, in general, the midi-MPVs are also five-seaters rather than offering something radically different in terms of accommodation.”

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