Thursday, June 10, 2004

Hatchback comeback -- Since the days of the GM X-cars it's been received wisdom that Americans don't buy hatchbacks, they prefer sedans. The point was made most pointedly when the latest Saab 9-3 came to market in only sedan variant, foresaking years of Saabness being equated with hatchbackness.

This "Not for U.S. Sale" review of the Opel Astra revisits the point, wondering why the Astra isn't the new Chevy Cobalt and answers that it can't only be because the Astra's a hatchback and Americans want sedans.

We think that it's outdated thinking and that hatchbacks, the right hatchbacks, could become a much larger part of the market. Why? Legroom.

The Chevy Equinox and the Maxx, among others, have sliding rear seats. Need more storage, slide the seat forward. The majority of the time, when you aren't carrying a full load in the "wayback", slide the seat back. Can't do that with a sedan.

Americans will figure this out and the market will shift.