Nissan Qashqai

SUV sales soar to new heights

05 April 2018

MOTORISTS are switching from conventional cars to so-called SUVs in record numbers, according to a new independent analysis of UK vehicle sales.

The surge is happening in both the new and second-hand market places at an unprecedented rate.

The change is a massive boost for companies such as Nissan, whose locally-made Juke and Qashqai models are among the main beneficiaries.

Industry experts say that the demand for SUVs is happening on such a grand scale that a further 20 completely new models are planned for introduction here this year.

This follows the addition of 115 newcomers in just the last three years, many of which are now flooding on to the second-hand market where they are becoming increasingly affordable as everyday family models.

They are replacing the traditional saloon, hatchback and estate models that once accounted for the overwhelming majority of vehicles on UK roads.

Data experts at hpi say that the sudden surge in SUV sales is the greatest single phenomenon in the market since records began.

Cap hpi spokesman Mark Bulmer says: ``Ten years ago the SUV sector of the market barely existed. It was so small that annual sales were about 160,000 vehicles out of an annual total of more than two million.

``The SUV sector accounted for just over ten per cent of the market share. By last year the SUV sector achieved sales of over 817,000 vehicles within a total market of 2.5 million, achieving almost a third of the total market.

“The growth of SUV sales in just ten years is nothing short of staggering and it shows no signs of applying the brakes. There have been 114 completely new models introduced since 2015 with a further 20 expected within the next 12 months.’’

Among the newest models to take the market by storm are the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, Citroen C3 Aircross Volkswagen T-Rok, Jaguar E-Pace, Kia Stonic, Toyota C-HR, Peugeot 3008 and the Volvo XC40.

Mr Bulmer added: “Boasting practicality and efficiency, SUVs are all the rage and clearly an increasingly popular choice with drivers.

“The huge choice of models and year-round lifestyle appeal to buyers. SUVs have become the vehicle of choice for families because they  meet the demands of everyday family life in the 21st century.

“The SUV sector remains one of the most exciting vehicle sectors and manufacturers are putting a great deal of emphasis on design, styling and performance to capitalise on this continuous growth. We can expect to see plenty of new SUV models this year covering all sector sizes with electric, hybrid, petrol and diesel options.”

However, the reverse trend is the dramatic decline in the popularity of diesel models, where the market appears to be virtually collapsing.

Having been urged to switch away from petrol to diesel by the Government just a few years ago, users are now facing draconian taxes because older diesels are considered to be more polluting than their petrol equivalents.

Even though the problems have been addressed in the case of newer diesel engines, motorists do not appear to accept this and are shunning oil-burning vehicles as a result.