Car makers must seek new niches

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Car makers will in future be forced to find ever more specialised niches if they are to survive warns a leading car industry analyst.

Professor Ken Freeply of Nigel Havers College, Kettering says he has spend the last three or four hours thinking about this and is ‘pretty certain it’s not bollocks.’

‘At the moment we see car companies, especially German ones, chasing new but fairly broad niches. Mercedes offers the B-class for that tiny group of people who find the A-class too small, VW builds the Passat CC for that minority who want a family saloon with a lower roof, BMW is about to launch the Mini Countryman for a segment of customers seeking a car that is fat and disgusting. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.’

Prof. Freeply predicts that modern, flexible manufacturing techniques will make it possible for companies to offer even more specialised niche models for very specific customer demands. ‘Many car makers already offer different suspension set-ups for different markets, but quite soon I believe they will go further. Imagine a Volkswagen Polo specifically tailored for people who live in Ipswich. Or a Ford Mondeo-based car with a body style designed around the needs of people called Ian.’

‘The possibilities really are boundless,’ Prof. Freeply continues. ‘Once upon a time if you said, my name is Sally, I live in Oxford and I have medium sized feet, there would be no specific model of car for you. But in future there will be, even if you also don’t like cottage cheese very much.’

Prof. Freeply later denied that his theories were ‘shit’.