Crossovers that have failed in the marketJanuary 7, 2021
We are already used to the fact that crossovers are the most popular segment in the automotive market. It is these models that bring manufacturers the bulk of the revenue. However, this was not always the case.
AutoTimesNews recalled the most unsuccessful examples of the urban SUV segment, which customers did not like. And in some cases, they caused damage to companies that decided to send experimental machines for sale. Surprisingly, the word “crossover” is not always synonymous with success.
Mini praised the success of the Countryman compact five-door crossover launched in 2010. Buyers warmly accepted the new product – many liked the combination of a characteristic retro design with a small practical body and “off-road” style. The further strategy was obvious, and the decision to continue the development of the model line in the same spirit seemed the only successful scenario.
The management felt that style would definitely win over practicality. So in 2013, the Mini Paceman appeared with a shortened three-door body. In fact, it was the familiar urban Mini hatchback, which now resembled a crossover, but still was not suitable for off-roading. At the same time, the interior turned out to be cramped, the trunk was not spacious, and in general the car turned out to be too expensive. The Paceman looked cute, but buyers were used to more practical crossovers by the time it entered the market.
With the Opel Antara, everything turned out to be even more interesting. This car arrived just in time, in 2006, when the crossover segment was just flourishing. Moreover, Antara looked just fine – both inside and outside. The car attracted attention and stood out in the traffic flow, and a wide selection of high-quality and beautiful finishing materials was provided for the interior. The car was built on the proven General Motors Theta platform, on which other models are still being created. What went wrong?
The problem was in positioning. Formally, the Opel Antara was in the same segment with the Nissan Qashqai and Toyota RAV4, but in fact it turned out to be much more expensive than any of the competitors. To be fair, Opel offered a rich list of equipment for its model to justify the more upscale positioning. But buyers are used to expensive BMW and Mercedes SUVs, while Opel was not associated with the premium segment at all. For this reason, the demand for the car was quite low, and the model did not receive a direct heir even 15 years later. Today, the German manufacturer is in no hurry to flirt with expensive segments, and the modern mid-range crossover – Opel Grandland X – is a more affordable and competitive offer.
The Pontiac Aztek came from a completely different direction. They put practicality at the forefront in combination with the affordable price traditional for large American crossovers. Sounds great? The authors of the model provided a lot of “smart” solutions that were supposed to make the operation of the machine very convenient.
For example, the armrest between the front seats could be taken to the beach as a refrigerator box, a drawer for tools was located under the boot floor, and the list of accessories included useful accessories for tourism – an air mattress and a canvas tent. Combined with the spacious interior, the car felt like a great buy.
But in the direction of the Pontiac Aztek, in reality, few people looked because of the ambiguous design. Someone called the car downright ugly, others considered it strange at best. By the beginning of the 21st century, the passion for experimentation in automotive design had faded away, so a boring, nondescript car, which somehow reflected modesty and reliability, was considered more successful. Today we can say that Aztek simply stood out against this background and turned out to be a bold development in some way, but almost no one liked the model 20 years ago. She never received a successor, and the Pontiac company was liquidated directly in 2010.
About ten years ago, the first-generation BMW X6 crossover sparked high interest in the unusual coupe-like SUVs. Many manufacturers are thinking about developing similar models. In 2009, Honda came out with its Crosstour, but it was not a competitor to BMW.
The Japanese company would not have mastered the rivalry with premium German cars, and there was neither time nor money to create a fundamentally new model. The designers followed the path of least resistance and used the components of the Honda Accord sedan, on the basis of which the Crosstour crossover was built.
Buyers reacted ambiguously to the new product. Not everyone liked the design, but the model attracted attention and looked unusual. In production, the car lasted until 2015, and has not received a successor until now. There is no such unusual car in the Honda lineup today.
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