It seems like hatchbacks and small wagons (noooo that's a bad term in the auto industry) have been slowing making a comeback in the US for awhile. All of a sudden I've started to notice a lot more hatchbacks out on the roads nowadays. Why is this?
While I could go find hard numbers and look at lots of graphs and sales charts, I'm too lazily to look to go do this and check and it would be pretty boring. I assume the comeback in Hot Hatchbacks in America is due to three reasons;
High Gas Prices
While the US has historically had lower gas prices than most European countries our gas prices have been going up over the past few years and people are more concerned with MPG (mile per gallon) than ever before. This is not the heyday of big American cars and smaller cars sell well nowadays. It seems a large portion of the population wants cars that are more roomy but take up the similar footprint of a regular sized sedan. Hatchbacks fit this bill perfectly
Young People are Buying Hatchbacks
From what I can tell a younger population seems to be buying hatchbacks. This might be due to the the fact that they are considered “European” or are good values for the money or a combination of all these factors. Bottom line hatchbacks are good for a single person or growing family on a budget and you can fit a lot more stuff in them than a sedan on the same footprint.
The more young people that buy hatchbacks the more they are “cool!” so it's cycle. I just hope when the young people become old people they aren't seen as ‘old people's cars' in the US.
Automakers use Global Vehicle Platforms
It's no secret that automakers are trying to safe a few bucks here and there. They are accomplishing this by building cars and vehicles that can be sold and marketed globally instead of only in select markets and countries. This cuts down on development costs and makes it easier to export and import certain models. Since hatchbacks are popular in the rest of the world it's not surprising that we are seeing more hot hatches in the US. Automakers don't want to have to spend too much R&D money for the all the markets and countries they sell cars in. Making global vehicle platforms even if they need to make tweaks for safety and fuel economy laws is not as big a deal as building a completely different car. This means that automakers are offering more hatchbacks in their vehicle line-ups in the US.