Has the crossover killed the sports car?

The sports car is officially dead, according to BMW sales and marketing boss Ian Robertson, with sales nose-diving since the global recession began in 2008.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Robertson said: “The sports-car market is roughly half of what it used to be. Post-2008, it just collapsed.

“I’m not so sure it’ll ever fully recover.”

Combined worldwide sales of the Audi TT, Mercedes-Benz SLK and BMW Z4 peaked at around 114,000 in 2007 – but by 2010, sales had slumped by 45%, according to research company IHS Automotive.

But is the recession really to blame, or are people simply turning to alternative vehicles?

IHS analyst, Tim Urquhart, added: “The market has been diluted with more offerings designed to appeal to the kind of demographic traditionally associated with these models. Young, urban upwardly mobile professionals are now able to buy a much wider range of lifestyle vehicles other than sports cars.”

BMW isn’t giving up on the sports car segment, however. Despite the public’s thirst for crossovers like the Nissan Juke, BMW is working on an all-new sports car platform, set to underpin the 2018 Z4.

But it’s saving money by collaborating with Japanese manufacturer Toyota – meaning we could also see a return of the MR2, or a successor to the Supra, and it might be fitted with hybrid tech.

And the 2015 Mazda MX-5, unveiled earlier this year, sticks firmly to its sports car roots – combining modest power with a front-engine, rear-wheel drive layout and exceptionally low weight.