Ford and Volkswagen will finally enter the compact minivan segment at the Geneva auto show, seven years after Renault created it with the hugely successful Scenic.
The development of both the Ford Focus C-Max and VW Touran were plagued by manufacturer delays and changes of plan. And Ford and VW face formidable new competition from the automaker that invented the segment.
Renault will present the first of two versions of its second-generation Scenic at the Geneva auto show - a five-seater. Renault will add a second, flexible version with seven seats called Grand Scenic, probably in 2004.
The Scenic's dominance of the segment it created is undiminished, even though strong new entrants such as the Opel/Vauxhall Zafira and Citroen Picasso have also been successful, said Nigel Griffiths, analyst for DRI Global Insight in London.
"The new entrants have tended to grow the segment rather than compete with existing models," he said. "That can't continue. Once [VW and Ford] are in the market virtually everyone will have compact minivans, with the exception of Peugeot."