Why we’re giv­ing the boot the boot

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Carsguide -

THE box is grad­u­ally head­ing for the bin in Aus­tralia. Hatch­backs and wag­ons (mostly four-wheel-drives) are leav­ing the tra­di­tional boot-atthe-back sedan for dead.

The switch to com­pact hatches be­gan in the 1980s and has been pick­ing up pace, partly be­cause of SUVs and partly be­cause peo­ple have been down­siz­ing into baby cars — mostly hatches.

Con­ven­tional sedans are still the sin­gle most pop­u­lar body style in Aus­tralia, but re­search shows its ap­peal is fad­ing.

Forty-five per cent of new-car shop­pers now pre­fer a three-body (bon­net, cabin and boot) sedan. This is down from 49 per cent a year ago and 53 per cent eight years ago.

‘‘The pop­u­lar­ity of hatch­backs and SUVs has grown from 27 per cent eight years ago to 33 per cent a year ago and 36 per cent in the lat­est re­sults,’’ in­dus­try re­searcher Sak Ry­op­po­nen says.

‘‘The gap be­tween sedan pop­u­lar­ity and the emerg­ing body styles has shrunk by nearly twothirds in eight years.’’

Ry­op­po­nen says he is sur­prised by the con­tin­u­ing strength of sta­tion-wagon sales.

Many within the in­dus­try pre­dicted the demise of the tra­di­tional wagon in the face of the grow­ing num­ber of SUVs.

How­ever, in the past eight years, the in­ten­tion to buy a sta­tion wagon has de­clined only marginally— from 7.9 per cent to 7.1 per cent— sug­gest­ing there is still a place for the tra­di­tional four-door wagon.

Go­ing: sedans such as the Honda Euro are los­ing favour.

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