04 January 2007

SUV suffering

Will 2007 sound the death knell for 4x4s?

Chevrolet Captiva

Sales of SUVs will fall even further in 2007, according to a report that canvassed the opinions of 150 car industry executives.

The study was carried out by financial firm KPMG, which predicts that SUV sales will drop by 15 per cent in 2007 compared with 2006. The report does make it clear how much of the drop is down to buyers shunning SUVs and the general slowdown in new car sales at present.

The motor industry executives believe concerns over fuel economy and the environment are steering buyers towards other vehicles, while the anti-SUV lobby also has a bearing on buying decisions.

The trend in the UK is reflected in the US, where the big three of Chrysler, Ford and GM have all seen significant sales drops, as buyers turn away from their traditional SUVs towards more economical cars from the Far East.

In 2006, the Big Three reported sales drops of between five and nine per cent, while Toyota posted an increase of 12.9 per cent, and Honda upped sales by 3.5 per cent.

Toyota is poised to become the world's leading car manufacturer in 2007, usurping GM's long-held position.

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