RESULTS: SUVs will be the biggest selling vehicles in Europe this year

11 May 2018

11 May 2018

Vehicle manufacturers are fast developing new models to meet customer demand and needs, which are constantly changing in the marketplace. This means there are many different segments, although recent reports that Ford may drop its saloon platform in the US highlight that certain classes are struggling against their new counterparts.

Therefore, Autovista Group asked readers of the Daily News Brief which vehicle class they thought would be the European market leader by the end of 2018. Dominating responses, the Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) segment was the clear winner, with 67% of readers feeling the automotive market would be flooded with activity models by the end of the year.

What will be the leading vehicle class in Europe in 2018?

The SUV is the cause of many other segment downfalls, offering size and space while remaining compact compared to off-road vehicles. Drivers are finding these vehicles ideal for city driving due to their size and seating position, while also being impressed by their comfort and performance on motorway driving.

As an example, more than one in every four cars sold is an SUV. This performance has outpaced growth in the wider new car market, but demand broadly outstrips supply in the used car market, affecting residual values.

However, the SUV market may be affected by the decline in diesel sales, with a number of models using the powertrains. Manufacturers have already wizened to this, and new vehicles are being offered with a petrol option, which, due to the smaller size of the SUV, does not impact performance.

In second place was the medium hatchback, featuring vehicles such as the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf. These remain popular as a general purpose all-rounder, and their price offers drivers a good sized car for not a lot of money new. Also, with turbocharged engines being used by carmakers, medium hatchbacks are benefitting from decreases in fuel consumption.

10% of respondents felt the small hatchback market would lead the European market in 2018, while 7% believed city cars, once a growing segment itself, would take the largest share at the end of the year.

None of the respondents to the survey felt that the large hatchback, saloon and 4×4 markets would lead the way. These segments have been hit hardest by the upsurge in SUV sales, as well as the collapse in the diesel market. 4×4 models, in particular, are set to attract large annual taxes in the UK alone as they use big diesel power units, while saloon models are becoming increasingly impractical as drivers crave load space.