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Niche vehicles ‘confuse’ consumers

Residual values for cross-over models could be affected by confused customers, according to EurotaxGlass’s.

These include mini MPVs (e.g. Fiat Idea, Vauxhall Meriva, Renault Modus), larger volume-brand models (e.g. Vauxhall Signum) and premium-brand 4x4 cross-over vehicles (e.g. Audi A6 Allroad, Volvo XC70 and Mercedes R-Class).

Ten years ago new cars could be easily defined by size and function and there was an obvious distinction between mass market and premium brands. Manufacturers are launching a growing number of specialised niche vehicles, as well as ‘cross-over' models that blend characteristics of two or more sectors.

This has helped fuel a 42% increase in the number of new cars available in the UK over the past three years alone. EurotaxGlass’s said this will lead to a confused customer base, which will in turn affect sales and residual values.

“The appeal for manufacturers is to create a new niche that has not been exploited before in the hope that they will be able to attract a new type of customer,” said Adrian Rushmore, managing editor at EurotaxGlass’s.

“However, it is apparent that some models are failing to make their mark on the consciousness of the consumer. Until popular acceptance of the merits of some of these specialised new niche sectors improves, manufacturers may need to limit availability to avoid damaging falls in values.”

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