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Spoilt for choice but it hasn’t helped sales

Manufacturers continue to increase complexity for retailers and their sales staff by adding more derivatives to their UK model line ups.

Consumers can now choose from more than 7,000 derivatives when they go hunting for a new car, a 75% increase over the 4,000 derivatives available at the beginning of the decade, according to data from EurotaxGlass’s.

Yet this rise in choice hasn’t meant a huge uplift in sales. Registrations of new cars in 2008 are tipped to total 2.34 million units. That compares to the 2.22 million units sold in 2000. It means sales are being spread more thinly across more variants.

New models due this year include four in the volume brand D-segment: Citroën C5, Honda Accord, Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat CC.

EurotaxGlass’s managing editor Adrian Rushmore said these, plus the recent UK debuts of Ford Mondeo, Renault Laguna and Mazda6, will halt declining D-segment sales.

SUV launches such as Ford Kuga, Renault Koleos, Audi Q5 and Volvo XC60 will overshadow the limited growth in MPVs from new Chrysler Grand Voyager and Dodge Journey.

For dealers, it means more training for staff to enable them to fully understand and sell a broader model line up.

Rushmore said: “Manufacturers face problems, too, as they must communicate to customers about a much wider range of new models – some of them in new niche segments unfamiliar to buyers.

“Those that shout the loudest get their voices heard and the rest run the risk of being drowned out, leaving their latest offerings to remain anonymous.”

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