Sunday 16 December 2018

Time of huge change as SUVs go ‘viral’ but we still have old-fashioned requirements

Nissan Qashqai
Nissan Qashqai
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

ONE thing I have is a great grasp of the obvious (that’s meant to be self-criticism not a boast).

Yet the obvious is so often worth repeating – I prefer it to the crystal ball gazing that frequently passes as expertise.

And in this case the obvious emerges from new data which underlines just how much we are witnessing two major turning points in car buying.

The upward turn comes with the spiralling purchases of SUVs across Europe.

The downward slide shows how hard diesel is being rejected. The figures show that, overall, 8.66 million cars were sold in the European market for the first half of the year (a 2.4pc increase).

And, of that total, SUV registrations rose by 24pc to 2.92 million. Where is it going to end?

But there has been a 17pc dive in diesel buying.

Diesels now command just 37c of the market – the smallest in 17 years but still a sizeable chunk of business.

There are a few other tell-tale signs of the revolution sweeping the forecourts.

For example:

* There was a 42pc rise in SUVs made by the Volkswagen Group;

* The Nissan Qashqai is still the biggest-selling SUV pack (now fifth, up from sixth);

* People carriers (MPVs) are being snubbed at a fair old rate of knots (23pc down on the first half of 2017).

We are obviously at a major juncture, with old shapes, powerplants and preferences giving way to the new.

It looks like the rate of change is going to pick up even more pace if recent trends are anything to go by.

The thing about such trends is they create their own momentum. When people see others driving an SUV, petrol or hybrid they tend to shift towards them. It’s human nature.

* Yet some things don’t change. Motorists still major on running costs, reliability and price when buying a car, a study claims.

It was conducted by Hyundai.

It also found that fuel type, road tax and the maker of the car, play big parts in what we decide to buy.

Other – obvious – elements include handling, safety, size, comfort and emissions.

* I’ve been told about a new service from easytrip. It’s called easyWash.

The easytrip people partnered with Maxol in order for you to get your car washed by using an easytrip tag. There is now no need to go into the service station for a ticket or to enter a code at the car wash.

Here’s what they have to say: “You just press the easytrip button at the maxWash.

“Your tag is registered and the bill is added to your easytrip account.”

* Skoda’s Karoq Scout version will be shown in Paris in October.

The four-wheel-drive small SUV will have three engines as well as some styling variations.

Irish Independent

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