Saturday, June 23, 2018


I wrote recently about the difficulty for both carmakers and dealers keeping the right vehicles in stock, and how, once a car, or type of car, falls out of fashion, buyers desert in droves leading to the endless cycle of discounting, to move the ageing, unfashionable stock.

The recent cause of complete disruption in the global, developed, markets has been the rapid shift away from conventional passenger cars to SUVs and Crossovers.

However, the developing markets haven't been left out, China's jumped on the bandwagon in a big way.

The popularity of SUVs has infected the entire market spread, from baby Suzukis to behemoths like the Rolls-Royce Cullinan. No company is immune from this almost improbable shift in buyers’ desires.

However, as companies like Jaguar and Aston Martin rush to get into the act, the CUV/SUV sub-sections of the market are showing further, rapid fragmentation, which only increases complexity for all parties – carmakers, dealers and customers.

A case in point are two new entrants from Europe, which have to be among the most sophisticated, competitive SUVs which are establishing new levels of aspiration for buyers, albeit those with bigger bank balances than the average SUV buyer.

I’m talking about the new Skoda Karoq and the Volvo XC-40. These two cars have shifted the goal posts again, bringing a whole new level of finish, equipment, competence and quality. Mark my words, I’m betting both these cars will be fierce competitors in the plethora of upcoming, of ‘Car of The Year’ competitions.

Later, I want to write about each one, but just to place a flag on the buyer choice map for now, here’s a collage of the two cars (above), and one look will tell you how serious Volkswagen and Volvo are about setting the trends for this new sub-segment.

Where this volatile race for buyers will end no-one knows!

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