For students of the way car demand is changing — and how design will adapt — the next few years will provide some fascinating spectator sport.

Seems to me that many of the rules about how cars look and are laid out will be rewritten, even before the expected blizzard of hybrid and electric powertrains arrives.

There are signs this week that Volvo is about to redesign its traditional V70 estate - because customers think its roof is too low - just as Renault is preparing to drop its Espace MPV because customers feel, in this new age of insecurity, that the pioneering people-carrier’s glassy, high-riding way of doing things makes them too vulnerable.

Discovering who’s right (each company doubtless has iron-cast research to justify its point of view) will be fascinating.

Other trends? Big-engined cars are obviously in trouble, now that fuel efficiency is all. That threatens formerly bulletproof premium cars.

Buyers have traditionally used their BMW purchase to justify an extra-performance engine with accompanying trimmings. BMW does perfectly good ‘cooking’ engines, of course, but it’s the pizzazz that earns them the money. If they start making a higher proportion of ordinary cars, as they surely will, the bottom line is bound to suffer.