Last year, one in three cars sold in Belgium (30.1%) was an SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle). Febiac, the Belgian car and cycle federation, is indicating this in a communiqué on Tuesday. Between 2012 to 2017, the market share of these vehicles doubled. SUVs have a current market share of around 20%.
The term “SUV” designates a vast heterogeneous group of vehicles which have all-terrain features. These are cars with a ground clearance higher than a traditional saloon car. Despite their all-terrain aspect, the majority of these vehicles are two-wheel drive and equipped with road tyres, as is the case with traditional cars.
In Febiac’s view, the ageing population is the primary reason for the success of the SUV. The organization stresses, “By 2020, one in three drivers will be over 60 in Belgium. It is precisely this section of the general public who need to be able to get in and out easily, and who attach enormous importance to this aspect. The figures also prove it. For example in the Netherlands, 70% of SUV buyers are over 55.” The trend is similar for Belgium.
SUVs are often criticized by environmentalists who regard them as particularly polluting vehicles. Febiac tempers this assertion.
Based upon its analyses, the organization explains, “For example, if SUVs represented not 30% of the new vehicles market (as now) but 15% (as for five years ago), average CO2 emissions would only be two grams less than their current figure. Admittedly two grams, is not a negligible figure.”
Febiac goes on, “The two-gram figure is equally not of a scale for us to be able to state that these vehicles are reducing to nil both technological progress and the reduction in CO2. Neither can we say that our achievement of the CO2 emissions objectives is exclusively linked to the success of the SUV.”
Febiac says that this difference of two grams is a lower figure than the CO2 emissions caused by the current shift seen in the car the market towards petrol vehicles.