Over the last 12 months, there has been a 35% increase in UK motorists searching for new 4x4s, while new superminis have seen a 30% drop in searches and new hatchbacks have fallen by 12%, according to figures from Motoring.co.uk, a UK motoring website for new car search.
This increase comes despite the highest fuel prices on record, escalating insurance premiums and rising motoring costs. This rise in demand for 4x4 vehicles is partly due to the fact that car manufacturers have addressed the concerns amongst car buyers over fuel efficiency and the environment, according to Motoring.co.uk.
An example is the new Range Rover Evoque, which has stacked up more than 20,000 pre-orders before it becomes available later this year. The Range Rover Evoque 3-door Coupe 2.2 liter diesel with 190 bhp, 169 gCO2/km averages 44 mpg UK (37 mpg US, 6.4 L/100km).
In the past, opponents of 4x4s have disliked the vehicles’ fuel consumption and some people have believed they make congestion worse. Over the last couple of years, more fuel efficient, smaller engine 4x4 vehicles have been launched, allaying motorists’ concerns.
However, the 4x4 sector is split between the smaller engine, fuel-efficient models which are seeing a rise in demand and the larger, higher CO2 emitting counterparts which are dipping in demand, as motorists struggle to reconcile the growing running costs, increased fuel prices and tax disincentives.
Historically, there have been seasonal influences on 4x4 vehicle demand, but our new research shows that even in the summer months, demand remains buoyant. And prices have remained high this year. In 2011, the 4x4 sector that has recorded price resilience not seen in any other area of the market.
As major manufacturers continue to invest in more fuel efficient, smaller engine 4x4s, we will we continue to see demand continue to grow as motorists favor their size, safety and road handling in bad weather conditions.—Chris Green, Co-Founder and Sales Director of Motoring.co.uk