Just as McDonald’s resturants successfully introduced themselves into food-conscious Europe, another American-derived invasive species could be entering and killing off the native fauna.
At a briefing for the launch of the Ford Kuga (aka our Escape), Ford’s Alex Gallagher told Just-Auto that SUV sales are far outpacing sales of D-Segment cars, or what we call mid-size cars in North America. Europe’s D-segment includes not just sedans, but also hatchback and wagon variants as well.
Over the last 5 years, sales of SUVs have more than doubled, to 250,000 units annually, eclipsing D-segment sales for the first time last month. Despite SUVs being primarily thought of as an American product, Gallagher cites the Nissan Qashqai and Juke as the driving force behind the switch to SUVs. Last month, the Qashqai and Juke ranked 5th and 9th respectively in a top 10 list dominated by small B-segment hatchbacks. In 2012, the 6th place Qashqai outsold the 13th place Vauxhall Insignia (the top selling D-segment car) by roughly 13,000 units, and outsold the Ford Mondeo and VW Passat (the second and third place D-segment cars) by a 2:1 ratio.
While SUVs were once derided as vehicles for farmers, mobsters or over-indulged housewives (at one time being labeled “Chelsea tractors, after the tony London neighborhood) the newest crop of SUVs are more in the dreaded crossover template than anything else. Despite the accepted binary dynamic whereby wagons= good and crossovers=bad, the much maligned two-box vehicles have won high praise from both critics and consumers on the continent. Even Chris Harris went ga-ga for the Dacia Duster, praising it for its simplicity and calling it “the most significant new motorcar launched in the past decade“.