Few years back when you were in the market to get yourself a new car, you would ideally have an option of choosing from the following segments – hatchback, sedan and SUV. But now manufacturers are introducing new trends and creating all-new segments bang in the middle of existing ones. Compact sedans, compact SUVs are all new segments created by manufacturers who thought that such vehicles will sell well and after seeing these vehicles’ success, other automakers are following suit and introducing their new products in these segments too.
Let’s talk about compact sedans first. Now what exactly is a compact sedan? A compact sedan is a sedan that is smaller than a regular sedan and slightly bigger than a regular hatchback. Lets just say that a compact sedan is nothing but a good-selling hatchback with a boot stuck on it. The Maruti Swift DZire, Honda Amaze and the newly-launched Hyundai Xcent are examples of compact sedans. This segment was created in 2008 by Tata Motors who chopped the boot of the Indigo to come up with the world’s shortest sedan which was sub 4-metre in length.
Now compact sedans are not really good looking. In fact most of them look quite weird from various angles since they were originally designed to be hatchbacks. Manufacturers also try hard to squeeze the vehicles’ length to under 4-metres to comply with the Government’s norms for tax benefits that these compact vehicles get. So the end result is that the compact sedan ends up looking mashed, doesn’t get anything extra than their hatchback counterpart apart from the boot and it still sells like hot cakes. No matter what it looks like, the market still perceives it as a sedan and as we already know sedans have a higher amount of snob value when compared to hatchbacks.
Now coming to compact SUVs, it was Renault who launched the Duster at a value-for-money price and managed to get sales rolling. Compact SUVs are usually 5-seaters as compared to the full-size SUVs which can seat seven people. We can even call compact SUVs as hatchbacks on stilts, a la Ford EcoSport, but still, the end result is that the market calls it an SUV no matter what and this is the thing that matters the most. People love buying SUVs just for the sheer road presence and when they see that they can get one for the price of a premium hatchback or a C-segment sedan, it is a guaranteed success story. These compact SUVs from Ford, Renault and even Nissan are highly-preferred than the desi ones like the Tata Safari and Mahindra Scorpio even though these can be called full-sized SUVs.
With the amount of compact sedans and SUVs selling today, we can easily say that India has become a land of the compact. The battle among the vehicles is only set to increase with more and more manufacturers entering the arena with new products at prices out-rivalling other companies. We can only wait and watch how long do these vehicles continue selling well and who turns out to be the final winner.