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Have we Reached Peak SUV Saturation?

Today, just about every manufacturer is releasing one SUV after another, hoping to cash in on Australia’s love affair with the category. Such is our fervent admiration for the humble SUV, it is far and away the nation’s best-selling type of car. The segment makes up as much as half of all new car sales.

But with a never-ending list of new SUV models being pushed into the market, which somewhat contrast the direction being pushed by many that we are meant to be moving towards more eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable vehicles, have we reached peak SUV saturation? Are there simply too many SUV models being launched in the market today?


What are car manufacturers doing?

Take one look at Toyota’s line-up, where the famous pint-sized Yaris is now being converted into a compact SUV crossover. It probably wouldn’t be all that puzzling if it weren’t for the company’s six other SUV models, including the LandCruiser, Prado, Fortuner, C-HR, Kluger and RAV4. Volkswagen, an otherwise ‘slow’ adoptee of the SUV format, will soon have seven or even potentially eight vehicles competing across this segment.

Neither are alone in what appears a very deliberate attempt to all but prioritise high-riding SUVs over all other segments. Just about every auto-maker is adopting a similar strategy, each with numerous SUV models. In fact, some other brands are even going as far as cutting passenger vehicles from their line-up and replacing them with SUVs.



The unstoppable trend

But behind all the engineering nous, design flair and marketing excellence, SUVs are proving an unstoppable trend among Australians. Even as the new car market slumps to historic lows, the SUV category is holding up better than its peers. That comes despite the fact that an SUV would typically be more expensive than a comparable passenger vehicle, even if it is a compact SUV or crossover.

If Australians are prepared to open their wallets and fork out more for an SUV in what was already a challenging economic environment, let alone in the middle of a recession, it is as sure a sign as any that manufacturers will continue to divert extra weight to developments in this segment. That may well mean that we are going to see even more SUV models yet, catering for each size category and various price points.

If you’re not a fan of SUVs you may well have to get used to it, because the trend is here to stay and manufacturers are intent on capitalising from it.