FThe enemy number one is clear to the opponents of the car. “City armor out of our cities”, said the head of the German environmental aid, Jürgen Resch, before the international motor show last year. This meant the SUVs that were becoming increasingly popular in Germany.
Sport utility vehicles are the higher, wider models that, based on off-road vehicles, now also dominate the streets of inner cities. For climate protectionists, they are the symbol for reckless behavior by car owners, after all they consume significantly more space and fuel and are therefore also for more CO2-Emission responsible. But is that actually true? Were more than a million “city tanks” approved in the past year?
The SUV trend continues
In fact, no segment is growing as fast as that of SUVs. Last year, every third newly registered car was assigned to this category, as figures from the Federal Motor Transport Authority show. And despite the corona pandemic, the segment’s growth continued to 34.2 percent in the first months of 2020. In 2010, the proportion was only a good 11 percent.
But not every one of these vehicles is a huge “city tank”. On the contrary: the SUVs have shrunk significantly in recent years and have lost weight. This was the result of an evaluation by the private research institute Center Automotive Research (CAR), which is available at WELT AM SONNTAG. And because the other models are getting wider, longer and heavier at the same time, there is hardly any difference to the deviled off-road vehicles.
The development is particularly evident in the length of the vehicles. In 2007 there was still a huge difference of almost 30 centimeters between the SUVs, which were on average 4.58 meters long, and the other new cars of the year, which only averaged 4.29 meters.
Since then, the difference has melted to just three centimeters. While the new SUVs this year are on average about twelve centimeters shorter and thus only 4.47 meters long, the other new cars grew by 15 centimeters to an average of 4.44 meters.
The more kilos, the more consumption
The image of off-road vehicles as fuel guzzlers is primarily due to their weight. The more kilos the vehicle weighs, the more fuel it usually consumes and the higher the CO2Emissions from. But the SUVs and the other models have also come very close in terms of gross vehicle weight in recent years.
In 2007 the difference was still over 580 kilograms, the SUVs weighed an average of more than 2.43 tons, the other vehicles only reached 1.85 tons. In the first months of this year, however, the SUVs only weighed an average of 2.15 tons, the other vehicles came to 1.99 tons. As a result, the difference shrank to just 160 kg.
In terms of width, there is only a slight decrease in the average values of the SUVs from 1.86 meters in 2007 to still 1.84 meters. But because the other models increased from 1.76 meters to 1.80 meters at the same time, the difference shrank from ten to just four centimeters.
“The SUV is becoming more and more the norm in the streetscape,” says car expert and CAR boss Ferdinand Dudenhöffer. There are two reasons for this development: On the one hand, new SUVs are coming onto the market that are smaller and more compact and appeal to customers who want to drive an off-road vehicle, but who have a smaller budget and therefore a smaller budget Search segment. On the other hand, the limousines are getting longer, wider and heavier.
Even small and medium-sized cars have grown significantly in recent years. For example, the VW Golf increased in length from 3.82 meters to 4.28 meters across generations and also became 18 centimeters wider.
But sedans like the Audi A8 or the BMW 7 Series also got bigger over the years. An analysis by the British car lender Zuto showed that the eight best-selling models have all grown by at least 14 percent since they first hit the market.
Customers love the higher seating position
There were also significant increases in weight. The Golf has grown by 63 percent since the first generation, the Mini Cooper by 64 percent and the Fiat 500 even by 73 percent. This should also be due to the fact that manufacturers are installing more and more additional equipment.
At the same time, almost all manufacturers have responded to the trend that more and more customers want an SUV. Above all, the higher seating position, easier boarding and the greater sense of security are reasons for the popularity. That’s why carmakers are launching more and more models, some of which are more of a mix of the larger SUVs and limousines. Some manufacturers refer to these vehicles as crossovers.
The spectrum of SUVs is therefore extremely large: The BMW X7 certainly contributes to the fact that the vehicle class was given the reputation of the “city armor” because it is 5.15 meters long, two meters wide and has a permissible total weight of more than 3.15 Tons of enormous dimensions. And it goes even longer: The Rolls-Royce Cullinan holds the current record with 5.34 meters.
“The question remains as to why manufacturers sell the giant SUVs in Germany at all and are thus exposed to criticism from climate protectors,” says Dudenhöffer. The CAR boss suggests simply removing the extremely huge models, which are mainly built for the Chinese and American markets anyway, from Europe. “The monster SUVs cause damage and lead to prejudices that are no longer justified.”
This text is from the WELT AM SONNTAG. We are happy to deliver them to your home regularly.