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How many models make a car manufacturer mainstream?

By Jay Nagley

Back in the 1980s, Ford could cover more than 80% of the UK market with three models: Fiesta, Escort and Sierra. Today, it needs three models to cover just the supermini segment: Fiesta, B-Max and Ecosport.


Jay Nagley was a market analyst at Porsche Cars GB before spending the past 13 years as the head of Redspy Automotive, his own analysis and forecasting consultancy.


In fact, the number of models and bodystyles a mainstream manufacturer needs to cover all the major segments has doubled (see the table on page 2). It is now so high that no single manufacturer covers all of them. However, it is instructive to look at how many of the 14 permutations each of the major European manufacturers offers (figures include models launched but not yet on sale, such as the new Renault Twingo).

Ford: 12/14. It only lacks a Mondeo saloon (dropped because of lack of demand and arguably no longer required), and offers two of the three possible crossover sizes – no manufacturer offers all three sizes.

Vauxhall: 12/14. Whatever issues Vauxhall faces, lack of choice is not one of them. It has two out of three possible crossovers and two out of three possible MPVs, but has two additional models in niche segments – Ampera and Cascada.

VW: 10/14. Although VW has the largest range of any mainstream manufacturer, quite a lot of it is either above the family car segments, with models such as the Touareg and Phaeton, or in non-existent segments, with the Eos cabrio and Jetta saloon. Surprisingly, VW does not yet have a B-segment crossover or MPV, a D-segment hatch (the Passat is a semi-premium saloon), or a D-segment crossover. For its competitors, it is a scary thought that VW still has new worlds to conquer.

Peugeot: 9/14. Peugeot and Citroën divide up some bodystyles among themselves, so each range has deliberate gaps. Peugeot has the 2008 straddling B-MPV and B-crossover, has no larger crossovers, no equivalent to the Grand C-Max and no D-segment hatch.

Citroën: 9/14. A decently broad range now the C-Cactus has been announced, although Citroën never does saloons and has little else in the way of crossovers. The unique thing about Citroën’s range is that it often has two separate models in each segment with the DS range, and also has four MPVs across three segments with the C3 Picasso, C4 Picasso, Grand C4 Picasso and Berlingo.

Renault: 7/14. Since the culling of the Laguna, Espace and Modus, Renault naturally has a very restricted range, with no presence at all in the D-segment, and only one crossover, with the Captur. Even when the new Twingo appears, Renault will still only cover half of the mainstream segments, which means the company is itself only just mainstream.

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  • Outsider - 14/05/2014 17:48

    Peugeot - no crossovers and no Grand C-Max rival? Ermm - what about the 3008 - that's a larger crossover than the 2008, and 5008 surely competes with the Grand C-Max? - it is just 9mm larger than the Grand C-Max. And Citroen - it never does saloons? What about the C5 saloon? I'm not sure that Jay Nagley knows what he is talking about!