Fleet News

Down-sizing threat to executive car market

THE executive car market is threatened with extinction as customers flock to smaller, higher specification cars with lower running costs, it was claimed this week.

Glass's Information Services is warning that the 'dinosaurs of the road' which had their heyday in the 1980s are about to breath their last gasp. According to the June edition of Glass's Guide Car Values, the causes include Government measures to increase the cost of ownership of larger cars, the availability of smaller but quality spec models in the large and upper medium sectors, and the collapse of Far Eastern car markets.

However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and CAP Motor Research maintain the sector will survive as long as new products to which people will aspire to drive are launched. They claim German brands and the new Jaguar S-class will largely be immune to down-sizing and Government pressure because they have huge aspirational appeal, but mainstream manufacturers such as Ford, Vauxhall and Rover will suffer.

Rupert Pontin, Glass's specialist car editor, said: 'In the 1980s the large executive market enjoyed considerable success with the Ford Granada, Rover 800 and Vauxhall Carlton but, since then, we have seen an exodus of customers to smaller, higher specification cars with lower running costs. The point has been reached today where these executive cars may be on the verge of extinction.'

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