Do City Cars Still Have a Future?

Australians have long had a love affair with SUVs, with most of us only too keen to head into the outdoors, particularly in these times where we can't travel abroad. However, the SUV format hasn't only just caught wind in Australia. In fact, it's a global phenomenon that has been taking place in numerous locations, most notably in China and the US.

The SUV format has become so dominant down under, it is consistently making up around half of all new car sales each and every month. Passenger vehicles have all but fallen out of favour, with light commercial vehicles even on the verge of outranking them on a consistent basis. While the sedan is showing little sign of gaining traction, there is one segment that is faring even worse - the city car format.

As more and more manufacturers ditch the format, is it a dying breed?

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Design and practicality take over 

Of course, there are traditional SUVs that have drawn popularity for obvious reasons, but an emerging area in the car market has been new formats like crossovers and liftbacks, which have shaken up the design of cars as we knew them.

Offering levels of practicality and space that bring into question the versatility of the humble city car, these formats have taken off. Then you still have the traditional hatchback as well, which whilst on the slide, still has its niche position in the market.

With the trend clearly in place seeing more compact SUVs, crossovers and liftbacks developed in place of the city car, it's hard to see this being overturned. Furthermore, as urban sprawl takes us to destinations living further away from the city, Australians are more concerned with bigger cars that take care of all their needs. This contrasts with the likes of European cities where a compact car is important for smaller commutes in those tight and narrow laneways.

Locally, the humble city car hasn't found traction among inner-city dwellers either, with an increasing number of young Australians ditching car ownership altogether, instead opting for ridesharing services or peer-to-peer car rental services that certainly won't be sufficient to ensure the survival of the city car format.

As each brand's SUV line-up expands by the year, the writing is on the wall - city cars look likely to eventually fall by the wayside, even if that does become a drawn out affair...hopefully, it's not before a select few manage to put up a fight and remind us what a shame it will be when they disappear for good.

 

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