Observe, enlighten and decipher the evolution
of consumption patterns in France and abroad
Section 2 - SUVs, a stunning success story

Today’s success is set to continue

4 minutes of reading

A compelling option for everyone

The record sales achieved by SUVs make it hard to deny that these vehicles have been a runaway success. The results of L’Observatoire Cetelem de l’Automobile 2022 clearly support this point. SUVs hold great appeal and they have stamped their mark. Those who try them out tend to be won over. 6 out of 10 SUV owners state that they would choose an SUV again if they were to buy a vehicle within the next 12 months. SUV owners in the UK and the US, where SUV sales are the highest, as well as in Turkey and Brazil, are the most likely to make this choice (68%, 67%, 67% and 67%). Conversely, the Belgians and Poles are less enthusiastic, although a very slim majority would still pick this option (49% and 50%). The French post a score that is close to the overall average.

But most strikingly, almost a third of non-SUV owners would be prepared to opt for such a vehicle and, more importantly, they are more likely to do so than to buy a saloon car (19%) or a city car (18%) (Fig. 26).




In Brazil and South Africa, non-owners who intend to buy an SUV in the near future are actually in the majority (52% and 51%). Those most resistant to this idea can be found in the Netherlands, Japan and the United Kingdom (12%, 15% and 15%). Non-SUV owners in France, Germany and Belgium are also rather dubious (19%) (Fig. 27).




A preference for electricity

The vast majority of those who will opt for an SUV in the future will go down the electric route. That is true for 66% of SUV owners and 61% of non-SUV owners (Fig. 28).

On this environmentally-tinged question, the trio comprising Germany, France and Belgium appear to be much less excited about the prospect, with the French displaying the least fondness for the electric option. The level of enthusiasm among both populations of motorists is particularly high in Turkey, China and Brazil, but also Italy.




A groundswell against restrictions 

Unsurprisingly, while the idea of sales restrictions is sometimes put forward as a way of ending the potentially negative impact of SUVs on the environment, motorists are opposed to such measures. 

Only 30% of SUV-owners would be in favour, which is more or less the same proportion as those who would not buy one again. A peak of 52% can be observed in Poland, with SUV owners being even more supportive of such measures than non-owners) (Fig. 29). With 23%, Mexico posts the lowest score.




While 41% of non-owners do not agree with such restrictions either, the differences between the countries are much more pronounced in this instance. Indeed, the majority of non-SUV owners in the UK, France and Germany are in favour, posting figures more than twice as high as SUV owners in the UK and Germany.

A moderate appetite for penalties

When asked about measures less drastic than restricting the sale of SUVs, motorists are equally cautious. None of the items put forward for consideration attract the support of a majority of SUV owners. This is true for speed limits and ecotaxes on combustion engine SUVs (45%), as well as taxes on the heaviest vehicles (40%) (Fig. 30).

It is even more true when it comes to increasing their price (31%), banning them from urban centres (30%) and banning their advertising (26%). With regard to the first three items mentioned, a slight majority of non-SUV owners support these measures. On all these issues, the Norwegians are alone in being consistently more tolerant than average.




Key figures

  • 7/ 10 SUV owners use their car to go on holiday
  • 15,251 the average number of kilometres SUVs are driven annually, compared with 13,506 km for other types of vehicle
  • 34% of SUV owners hesitated before buying their vehicle because they were concerned about fuel consumption
  • 3 values associated with SUVs: a family vehicle, off-road capability and safety
  • 29% of non-SUV owners are thinking of buying one within the next 12 months
  • 7/ 10 respondents believe that an electric SUV pollutes less than a combustion vehicle

Sub-section 8
The electric option relieves some tensions
As we have already seen, SUVs are not considered fuel-efficient. However, fuel consumption is a topic of concern even for SUV owners, at a time when petrol and diesel prices are soaring. 34% of owne
Sub-section 10
While they may be a topic conducive to media debate, particularly with respect to the environment, motorists tend not to view SUVs the same way.  The results of this survey confirm what the sales