Observe, enlighten and decipher the evolution
of consumption patterns in France and abroad
Section 1 - SUV, three divisive letters

Owning one makes all the difference

3 minutes of reading

A negative impact in the eyes of non-owners

While geography evidently plays a part in shaping the image and uses associated with SUVs, the very fact of owning one is also a dividing force.

Since their inception, but especially since their dazzling rise shook up the automotive industry, SUVs have been the subject of much criticism, a topic we shall return to later. Whether it be their environmental impact, the danger they pose to pedestrians or their sheer bulk and the space they take up on streets, it is easy to find fault in these vehicles.
In this respect, the difference between owners and non-owners of SUVs is particularly stark. Around 2 in 3 non-owners believe this criticism is justified. This opinion is particularly prevalent in the UK and Germany (84% and 80%) while Mexicans and Spaniards who do not drive SUVs display greater tolerance (51% and 55%) (Fig. 5). Just 1 in 2 owners of SUVs consider the criticism to be justified, with the Americans, French and Spanish being the least likely to hold this view (41%, 42% and 43%).




Just a passing fad

Non-SUV owners are also critical when it comes to the reasons why people buy them. Their main criticisms revolve around the idea that this is a somewhat frivolous and narcissistic choice. In their opinion, the main reason why people buy SUVs is to follow a trend (Fig. 6). 43% of those who do not own an SUV are of this belief and the proportion is even higher among those aged over 55 (52%). This is a factor cited by at least half of respondents in Portugal, France and Germany. In contrast, only a quarter of Americans agree with this point. 




As well as believing that those who own an SUV are simply following a trend, non-owners also suspect that they want to stand out from the crowd, a view held by more than half of the Poles and Turks surveyed, compared with 1 in 5 respondents from Japan and Norway. 

However, sitting between these two criticisms is the idea that SUV owners appreciate the practicality of this type of car and that it meets the needs of families (37%). 

The fourth reason for buying an SUV in the eyes of those who do not own one? The advantages these vehicles provide, which counterbalance their environmental impact. 34% cite this criterion, including 1 in 2 South Africans.

Sub-section 3
An image that varies geographically
As we have seen, attempting to recognise a vehicle based purely on its silhouette can be a difficult task. However, the answers given by motorists when asked whether or not they own an SUV are even
Sub-section 5
A target for widespread criticism
One issue that seems to stick to SUVs like glue is that of pollution. And again on this topic, the differences between owners and non-owners of SUVs are marked. 36% of non-owners think that SUVs pol