The success of the Ford Fiesta brings with it another trend—the revival of the hatchback, long-derided in America as being cheap without the cheerfulness.
The Fiesta has dominated the small car segment below the Focus. Consumers are trading in their larger vehicles, even including the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, in response to increased gas prices. Ford claimed 19 percent of the C-class segment in December; January sales have put it in second place with Hyundai, against Nissan’s Versa.
And at the core of this success is the Fiesta 5-door, which is riding the surge of popularity in hatchbacks reports Ward’s Auto. “We’re now selling 5-door (SE trim levels) in volume now,” said Jim Farley, vice president of global marketing. “The price is more in the low end of the C-segment.”
Hatchbacks have traditionally been shunned in America because of their perceived cheapness and lack of security compared to a trunk; perhaps too many bad memories of tinny Hyundai Excels and blue-smoking Ford Aspires from high school are fueling the prejudice. Even Volkswagen, whose Jetta consistently outpaces sales of the Golf in America (and nowhere else) could have told Ford that.
Likewise, Ford had initially predicted that the Fiesta sedan would be the volume seller; yet demand was 50/50 once production started. And as of this week, sales of the hatchback trumped those of the sedan, at 55%. “The research didn’t tell us that,” said Farley.
If sales of the hatchback continue outperforming those of the sedan, this will give Ford valuable insight into consumer preferences in the small car segment—just in time for the new Focus to roll out, later this season.
[Source: Wards Auto]