The sport utility vehicle virus is gathering to global proportions, as consumers from Europe to the US and from Latin America to China flock to the high-riding vehicles like never before.
Even Australians, well known for their undying love for passenger cars have seen the sector bleed market share in favor of crossovers and SUVs – as the latter nail record after record and continuously lower the gap between the two segments, mainly thanks to the rising popularity of compact SUVs. Passenger cars still make up the larger part of Australia’s $61 billion auto market, with 40,000 units of the little over 90,000 vehicles sold in May – but SUVs make up now around 30,000 deliveries per month are still on the rise. Meanwhile, passenger car deliveries have fallen 7.3 percent from the same period a year ago, while sport utility vehicles soared 5.8 percent. Following data from the past decade provided by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries signals the gap between the two segments is the smallest this year. “That gap is closing quite quickly, and we’re expecting that trend to continue to be driven by the smaller, compact SUVs,” comments an industry analyst. The reasons are numerous – they’re more versatile, very good for families and compact SUVs are priced lower than larger models but still offer plenty of interior space.
Space capabilities and off-road prowess compared to regular passenger cars has lifted sales of SUVs by 28 percent since the start of the year in the compact category, while medium and large SUVs have gained 12 percent and 6 percent respectively. The popularity has aided automakers add more models in the segment – from 39 to 91 SUVs between 2000 and 2015, says Richard Johns, head of Australian Automotive Intelligence.