MENTALITIES AND PRIORITIES
When choosing a car, as you know, size matters. In different countries, addictions are different. The United States has infected us with love for large and very large cars. It is understandable: the country is spacious, Americans live, as a rule, in one-story towns connected by wide and straight, like an arrow, highways.
But the Europeans have long been building houses heaping, leaving narrow driveways for carts and carriages. A couple of American cars in these streets just won’t be scattered, and when cornering, you’ll have to go into the oncoming lane! From here, babies came to us like the Opel Cadet, which had once turned into a Moskvich.
And yet, until recently, the human race “voted for metal”: a bigger car - a higher price - its owner is cooler. So there was a trend: each next generation of a car becomes larger than the previous one and nothing else! Perhaps this is necessary … to whom? Manufacturers consider - to the consumer and … are mistaken.
ABROAD OF CENTURIES
Take a look at the graph of sales changes in Germany - the most automotive country in Europe. Class B (Kleinwagen) adds 10% each two years in a row. The most successful are Volkswagen Polo, Opel Corsa and Peugeot 206. Now let's look at the dull looking columns of class C (compact class). However, while we are only talking about the trend: in absolute terms, the golf class is still ahead of the little ones, although not across Europe. And the champions in it, of course, are the founding father of Golf, Opel Astra and Ford Focus.
Speaking of focus with Focus. The second-generation car just introduced, as usual, sharply increased in size. Now he lacks some 58 mm in length to rightfully go to class D. But in terms of width (1840 mm) he already ended up in the prestigious E-team along with the BMW five and Audi six. The trick is that its price (in Europe) will not be higher, but lower than its predecessor. True, if there are three doors, not five, like "yesterday."
CONTROL OF OPPOSITIONS
So, there was a head-on collision of two trends: cars are becoming larger, and customers remain true to the small size, moving into the class below. Interestingly, they do not pay less (inflation plus technological progress). And yet, why do companies “inflate” their models?
The first reason: comfort.
It is clear that each next generation of the popular model is simply obliged to offer more amenities than the previous one. The most obvious way is to increase the size of the cabin.
Reason Two: Security.
In a small machine, it is impossible to make sufficiently long deformable zones, which means that the risk for riders will be greater. Or, in any case, for the safety of the crew very serious efforts will be required, not to say the tricks of the engineers.
The third reason: technical.
Developers offer more and more systems that help the driver, or even partially replace him - they also require space!
However, advanced technologies have helped to solve all three of the above problems, without increasing the size of the car. For example, landing “like on a bus” saves the length of the passenger compartment, high-strength steels made it possible to make the seatback frame thinner; bulky luggage is usually transported together - unnecessary seats are cleverly hidden in the floor. Now not only crumpled parts work on safety, but also numerous pillows, belt tensioners, force limiters, active head restraints. Finally, smart electronics shrink so quickly that it’s not easy to find another controller if you don’t know where it is hidden.
We did not mention two more factors: driving pleasure and prestige. An example of a successful solution to the first problem in small forms is Mini. Today it is available in a version with a herd of 210 goals - who will say that the slalom is on him! And the prestige of owning a sophisticated model … Take a look at the Lancia-Epsilon in the full option package. After the Geneva premiere in 2003, phrases such as: “The car is damn beautiful and elegant, sets a new scale for luxury in the compact class” - found in any magazine. A folio with a list of available options provides a choice of 555 (!) Equipment options.
A European is in awe of the environment. Therefore, the fact that a small car saves irreplaceable resources and poisons the air less, comforts its pride (and the personal budget, too, thanks to cunning tax legislation, benefits)..
So, "dinosaurs" of class C and above will die out? Not at all! Just big cars are concentrated in such segments as off-road vehicles (by the way, they added 22.4% over the year!) And “luxury” (+ 10.6%). These cars are not for every day, not for daily trips to work or to the supermarket, but to meet specific personal ambitions.
THE MOST CORRECT SIZE
To summarize observations of market trends. Of course, all the existing classes of cars will remain on it. But the point is that the most correct size in Europe will be the 3900 mm edge, followed by the letter B. The C. replaces the letter. (It is not by chance that the Polo came close to this line: he had some … 5 mm left.) Convenience for passengers will increase the height of the cabin. At the same time, the B-class car will probably be the first and foremost in every family, and the rest will help him to meet some special, not everyday needs. In short, if you want to keep up to date - feel free to ask Kleinwagen dealers!