A new trend called "rocketing" is set to hit the Midlands with new vehicle sales being accelerated by a new generation of ultra low cost cars, it has been claimed.

Industry commentators at KPMG in Birmingham believe that the new market of sub £5,000 cars will alter buying habits in the region.

'Rocketing' involves trading up to more expensive marques for the main car whilst clawing back some of the extra cost by downgrading the second, or even third family motor to a much lower cost model.

Mike Steventon, head of automotive at KPMG in Birmingham, said: "With the Midlands being home to car production in the UK, the Midland car consumer is savvy and has really spurned previous attempts by the major car manufacturers to sell economy models.

"Viewing them as stripped out city cars they have found them a poor alternative to say a one year old super mini, such as a Fiesta or Corsa, for example.

"In addition, attempts to create so called low cost 'world cars' such as the Fiat Palio have not been a conspicuous success as the promised cost savings proved to be illusory."

But the launch of a new batch of sub-£5,000 cars could swing buyers' perceptions, he said.

"However, the Midland car buyers we believe will be swayed by a solution that is creating waves throughout the industry - Renault has produced the Logan, a car that will be introduced in the UK in 2007. We should expect to see them on the streets of the Midlands - distinctly functional, medium sized, four door saloons.

"The styling is deliberately boxy and the interior is designed to look simple and functional without straying over the line into being primitive. Originally intended for less affluent markets, its potential in Western Europe is making several other manufacturers sit up and take notice.

"With a UK price of £4,995 for a spacious family saloon, it's obvious to see why informed Midlanders will see it as a viable second or third family car."

Early sales evidence from mainland Europe show that the Renault Logan is taking sales from used cars and not from more expensive Renaults, providing early evidence of the emergence of a new trend in the car market.

Watching the success of the Logan is Volkswagen - keen to recapture the basic transport market.

The company is currently working on a prototype called the 3-K; so called because of its target manufacturing price of 3,000 euros, which would translate into a UK price of £4,995.

In response, Peugeot has said it will keep the Rytonproduced 206 in production as its low cost car after the new 107 has been launched. Mr Steventon said: "Cars like the Logan can appeal to the public in two ways.

"They can appeal to buyers who are in the market for a genuinely low cost car as their only vehicle, or they can appeal to the growing tranche of buyers who are rocketing their primary car up to something expensive.

"They then claw back some of that cost without ending up with a secondary car which looks cheap and primitive."