02 January 2015

Some Important Cars For 2015 : Mainstream

Sometimes a model comes along that has the potential to do something a bit special for a brand. It may be to the change direction of the company, to add real volume or just to lift it out of the sales doldrums. The cars below that come out around the 2015 year could all do that.

One the right track but one swallow doesn't make a summer

Honda HR-V - Is a dull company becoming exciting? Honda knows it has to be more adventurous because while in some places reliability and practical features win, in Europe especially that isn't enough. Honda needs to find exciting and fun in it's future designs. The HR-V looks promising. Probable effect on the marque 5/10.

Surely a winner for Jeep, but it's a crowded segment too

Jeep Renegade - Taking Jeep to Europe and elsewhere. That's what this car is all about. The USA will probably find it too small and that is one market Jeep is already strong in. It's the rest of the world it has more potential in. Can the Renegade bring Jeep to a new level of popularity globally? Probable effect on the marque 6/10.

It fits with the brand design, but the nose looks too big to me 

Mazda CX-3 - The brand has been benefiting from new models, an undervalued Yen and an economical engine range. The task now is to kick on and rise to the next level. Models such as the CX-3 will determine whether Mazda can ever hope to catch the bigger players. Probable effect on the marque 6/10.

It looks a good car in a segment awash with good cars. 

Opel/Vauxhall Astra  - GM needs to revive European sales while becoming profitable again. New cars like the Astra are an important model for the company. Doers it have enough to woo buyers into the showroom? Probable effect on the marque 5/10.

Ideal for crowed cities but otherwise rather limiting

smart ForFour - Since the brand was launched in 1998, it has never really succeeded. It sold quite well in Europe but profitability seems to have eluded owners Mercedes Benz. A previous four seater model and roadster came and went, but now a new four seater. The advantage this time is cost is shared with a sister car, the Renault Twingo. Can this model be profitable? It needs to be because if not, one wonders if smart has a future. Probable effect on the marque 6/10.

I like the bold styling. It will have to battle hard

Ssangyong Tivoli - This make has had a chequered history, with various owners coming and going. Profits were coming for new owner Mahindra, but now sales have slowed and losses have returned. Based on that, this is a model that is very important. It's a growing segment but many new entrants are starting to crowd it somewhat. Probable effect on the marque 5/10.

I'm surprised Europeans like it. Blinded by a logo I think

VW Passat -  The car sells well in Europe but in America it really needs to hit the target. VW is having a tough time there, getting elbowed out of the way by other car makers. The new Passat is the car to get VW humming again Stateside. Well that's what VW hope. Not a bad effort but too safe. I personally think the new Ford Fusion (Mondeo) eats it for breakfast. Probable effect on the marque globally 6/10 (USA 4/10).

Summary: A lot of scores around the middle mark, which shows that in my humble estimation that none will flop, but neither will they set the world on fire. If a brand needs to change, it will take more than one car to do that anyway - unless it's incredibly good. I'm not sure if any here fit that description, nice as they are.

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