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Get your car segments right

Auto Motive

Sanjay Krishnan  |  Hyderabad 

Did you know that the Opel Vectra, General Motors' premium segment offering in the country, is actually a though it is pitted directly against E segment offerings such as the Hyundai Sonata, Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Ford Mondeo?

And though the Sonata is a good couple of lakh cheaper on the pocket, it is still classified as an E level offering by the because of the overall length (OAL) of the automobile?

Well, then what are A, B, C, D and E segments?

In automotive industry parlance, these segments refer to the length of the car, and usually E segment cars also are more luxurious and offer better levels of trim and equipment.

According to Siam, the classification the Vectra competes with are the Mercedes Benz C Class, Toyota Corolla, and Skoda Octavia.

Siam has classified vehicles with an OAL of between 4,501 - 4,700 mm under the A4 segment, while the A5 segment, between 4701-5000 mm, consists of the Sonata from Hyundai, Camry from Toyota, Accord from Honda and Mondeo from Ford and Daimler Benz E Class.

For the record, according to Siam, there is competition for - an A segment car - from the electric Reva from the Maini Group in Bangalore.

Not many experts seem to know what forms the basic for automotive segmentation but ask the car makers, especially their marketing wiz kids and you will realise that there is more than mere A, B, C and D segments.

For example Fiat would claim the Palio 1.6 GTX to be a B Plus car or better still a C Minus car! Similarly a top end Ford Ikon 1.6 Sxi is a C Plus car or a D Minus car and so on.

Here goes the ABCD of car segements for dummies -

A two box car (with a engine compartment and a passenger compartment) with an engine lower side of 1000 CC can be safely termed a A segment car.

Example: Maruti 800, How about the Alto 1.1? Of course it is a A Plus car, dummy! Bigger two box cars with engine above 1000 CC and below 1300 CC can be termed a B segment car. Plum examples being the Zen, Wagon R and the Santro Xing.

Small three box cars, most of the time hatchbacks with added boots form the lower C segment. Ikon (based on the Fiesta hatchback), Siena (based on the Palio hatchback) and the Corsa sedan (based on the Cors hatchback) are thus classified.

These cars have engines that vary from 1300 CC to 1600 CC. You can claim yourself to be the proud owner of a 'proper' C segment car if you drive a City (old one), Accent or a Lancer. Because they never had any hatchback root to begin with.

D segment is slightly blurred. Bigger three box cars with 1800 CC or more engines come into play here. The Lower D segment comprises Chevrolet Optra, Toyota Corolla and to some extend Skoda Octavia. The proper D segment will have the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry and (despite what Siam claims).

Any self respecting will have a 2000 CC or bigger engine. Then there are cars such as the C class Mercedes which falls between the lower and upper D segment cars with a price tag that can teach an E segment car a thing or two.

Where do SUVs stand -no where for the time being. Ask genuine enthusiasts and they will tell you whether you have a 'soft-roader' (without proper SUV-off-road credentials and mean for only city use) or a real 'sports utility vehicle' with a low-ratio gear box.

First Published: Thu, November 13 2003. 00:00 IST