One in three new cars in Europe is an SUV, and the proportion is getting ever-higher with every passing month. Right now, new car buyers can’t get enough of 4×4-look crossovers and SUVs – at the expense of two key car sectors, the MPV and the D-sector large family car.
However, a sector that has emerged relatively unscathed from the onslaught is the C-sector medium-sized family hatchback market. Now, Glass’s research has reinforced just how well the family hatch – cars such as the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra – is doing right now.
Its latest analysis has revealed that petrol versions of every single one of the family hatch sector’s top 10 best-sellers has enjoyed a retained value uplift over the past two years. A key indicator of a car’s overall appeal, some models, such as the Peugeot 308, have benefitted from a used price uplift of more than 9 percent.
Improvements for petrol versions of the Volkswagen Golf – the second best-selling family hatch – mean it now retains more than half its new car price after three years, while the Focus has improved to 43 percent and even the Astra has improved by 4.5 percent, to a three-year retained value of almost 37 percent.
These three cars alone alone account for more than 50 percent of overall family hatch sales, add the number-crunchers.
Such numbers are proof family hatchbacks have “survived the rigours” of the SUV onslaught. Indeed, family hatches may even have benefitted from the SUV-led decline of pricier larger cars, says Glass’s: it’s “a segment that appeals to the masses, with versatility of size and of offerings, with many models having an estate option”.
The SUV has not killed off the family hatch just yet.
Diesel down but not out
It’s a different picture for diesel versions; six of the top 10 best-sellers have suffered a retained value decline over the past two years. Glass’s says this is not surprising, though, and diesel still appears to be holding up well. What’s more the firm does “not anticipate that diesel values will suffer any kind of crash, which will come as some comfort to many diesel owners”.
On average, diesel versions of family hatchbacks suffer a five percent retained value penalty compared to petrol versions, although for some cars, the gap is wider: a petrol Golf is worth 50.6 percent of its new car price after three years, while a diesel version is only worth 42.6 percent.
But the reason for this is not simply because people don’t like diesel anymore: it’s down to supply and demand. Until recently, even lower-mileage buyers were picking diesel, which has led to a glut of secondhand diesels and a scarcity of petrols. “Now, it seems that the market is redressing this balance.”