2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
The growth in length in the different segments seems to be slowing down. The new Golf VI or the new Ford Fiesta are just a few prominent examples.
The time of unbridled growth seems to be over, as a look at the latest models in the “Golf class” shows. The once small compacts have now grown up. The emerging trend reversal is most evident in the car that once gave the segment its name: the Volkswagen Golf. The Golf VI has a length of 4199 millimeters, width and height of 1786 and 1479 millimeters. With the predecessor Golf V it was still 4204, 1759 and 1485 millimeters. The new generation is therefore 5 millimeters shorter and 6 millimeters flatter than its predecessor, but 27 millimeters wider.
Golf I is 50 centimeters shorter
That was different when the model changed from Golf IV to Golf V: the successor added 55, 24 and 46 millimeters in length, width and height. The growth in size in the early Golf generations was even more pronounced: the original Golf I was only 3705 millimeters long, 1610 millimeters wide and 1390 millimeters high when it came onto the market in 1974. When the generation changed to the Golf II, it added 280, 55 and 25 millimeters. From Golf II to Golf III it was 35, 30 and 10 millimeters and from Golf III to IV plus 129, 40 and 34 millimeters.
The Astra has also grown
The Opel Astra has made similar leaps so far, expanding from model generation F to G in length, width and height by 59, 21 and 15 millimeters, and from G to the current generation H by 139, 95 and 10 millimeters. Data on the next generation to be presented in 2009 does not yet exist. However, what has been read in specialist media so far suggests that the dimensions will be roughly on par with the current model.
Small one pushed up
Nick Margetts from the market observer Jato Dynamics in Limburg sees the reasons for the steady growth in size so far in the customers' desire for comfort and space. The compact models have therefore become larger for years. “They are often no longer really recognizable as“compact”,” says Margetts. Many vehicles of the genre are now poaching in the middle class segment, where models like the VW Passat have previously set the tone. In return, the manufacturers added new, smaller models below the class, thus re-establishing the “standard cycle of model renewal”. It is not to be expected that existing compact models will be significantly smaller. "But maybe they won't grow as quickly in the future." Because growth in size also increases weight and thus fuel consumption.
Manufacturer lying balls with small classes
Norbert Wittemann from the consulting firm PRTM in Frankfurt also believes that the changed framework conditions will affect the model policy of the manufacturers. "The growth in size in the individual classes will be moderate, and the premium manufacturers will try to gain a foothold in the smaller classes." In addition, the growth limits of the compact models are now exhausted, as VW spokesman Christian Buhlmann says in Wolfsburg: "I don't think people really want a car that is significantly larger than four meters."
Singles need smaller cars
According to Norbert Wittemann from PRTM, another argument that speaks for an end to the growth in size in the compact segment is the demographic trend towards one-person households. More singles tended to order smaller cars and preferred to invest in more comfort and additional features rather than in size. The automakers also seem to have this in mind. It is not for nothing that VW especially praises the “value” of the new Golf: “More valuable than ever, the sixth generation of the Golf has largely redefined the quality and comfort level of its class,” says VW boss Martin Winterkorn. According to the Wolfsburg-based manufacturer, noble surfaces are supposed to “turn the class boundaries off their hinges”, both optically and haptically. New assistance systems should also give the driver the impression thathe is not sitting in a compact car but in a higher class. (dpa / gms)
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