Why was the espace such a success in the 90s?
Commercial success. Espace was a milestone vehicle. Not only it created a new segment, but a new cathegory: the MPVs as we know it today. It pioneered the multipurpose vehicle segment.
Espace is a revolution in the car industry by its design and practical using and it was able to satisfied the demand for modular, comfortable, compact enough cars. It breaks away from the image of the boring, one-box, utilitarian vehicle evolving towards comfort, safety and conviviality car, with an untraditional shape and interior layout, and plastic body.
Designed to carry up to seven passengers while having the same size chassis as an average sedan car, the Espace created and filled an enormous gap in the market between estate cars and van (Ford Transits). By removing the passenger seats, its load-space is similar to commercial vehicles', while still being as easy to drive as any normal car.
The tall nature of the Espace also creates good visibility for driving which, pre 1985, had been reserved for 4x4 vehicles.
The popularity of this family car has paralleled the influence of women in the purchase of new vehicles. Women loved this car (and indeed the percentage of women using espace was well above the average) for the driver position and the possibility to carry the whole family and a lot of luggage
In the words of Mr Guedon "Espace was a superb answer to a question noone asked." Matra was succesfull because it was able to create a new need and exploit a new segment, being for 10 years virtually without any competitors. More than half million Espace were sold between 1984 and 1997.
Epsace was an extraordinary industrial success for Renault. This company was able to capitalize this...