With sales of the sport utility vehicle segment soaring across all major regions, it looks like the days of passenger car dominance could be history this year once more.
And while mass-market brands will never relinquish the lower-yield, but sales crucial, passenger car segment, the luxury automakers seem entrenched in a massive crossover race. They won’t neglect the traditional segments – especially since they thoroughly expanded those lineups – but 2015 seems to be the year of the SUV/crossover for them. From Lexus to Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and even Bentley – all luxury and ultra-premium automakers mount an SUV product offensive. Bentley is introducing its first ever SUV this year and has said it could soon add a second, derived variant afterwards, across Europe and even in the US the compact and subcompact crossover sectors are thriving and in the US buyers are swarming to buy large, utterly-expensive SUVs thanks to the recent gasoline price drop.
On the eve of the Detroit North American International Auto Show, Daimler AG Chief Executive Officer Dieter Zetsche presented to the public its new mid-sized SUV, the GLE Coupe – designed to tackle the second-generation BMW X6. Additionally, the head of the third-largest premium automaker in the world said the Mercedes brand plans to reveal four new or refreshed sport utility vehicles in 2015. The Mercedes brand will have this year no less than 80 cars and SUVs on offer, up from 75 last year. Jaguar, the British automaker parented by India’s Tata Motors also announced ahead of the official media days of the Detroit auto show that it would move to offer its first-ever luxury sports utility vehicle from 2016, the F-PACE offroader.