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Proliferation of niche models could be causing customer confusion warns Glass’s

An increasing proliferation of niche models in the new car market could be starting to cause customer confusion.

That is the prediction from Glass’s, the largest vehicle data provider in Europe and, since 1933, publisher of the Glass’s Guide to Car Values, widely referred to as the used car dealer’s bible.
Too many niche models were poorly focussed or simply becoming too widely available – and a fall in used values appeared to be inevitable, warned Rupert Pontin, Glass’s Head of Valuations.

He said: “This trend can really be traced to Nissan replacing the old D sector Primera with the niche Qashqai in 2006. The move was a huge success and, since then, we have seen a plethora of new niches – all kinds of soft-roaders, coupe-saloons, 4×4 coupes and more. At every motor show we see more.

“You only have to look at the ranges of the German prestige manufacturers, which are running to 20 or so separate models with multiple variants within each range and more planned, to see the potential that exists for confusion.

“The question is whether all of these models add to choice and are understood by the consumer or are really just oddball vehicles that are neither particularly useful nor particularly desirable. Certainly, while we have seen some highly successful new niches recently, other models introduced over the last year appear to us to fall into the latter category and this may effect used resale value forecasts accordingly.

“Ironically, the C and D sector saloons that were once considered dull are now, in some cases, around in such small numbers that demand exceeds supply by some margin and they move quickly off forecourts.”