Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) boom in the German car market

The Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) boom in the German car market continued in June as new registrations rose by 6.2 percent year-on-year to reach around 68,500 vehicles, the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA)has said.

SUVs made up 21.2 percent of the total of 325,000 new cars registered in June, the KBA said.

Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer, automotive expert at the German CAR Institute, predicted that the SUV boom would continue and more than one million SUVs could be registered in Germany this year.

Back in June 2014, the market share for SUVs in Germany was still 9.8 percent, while compact class models such as the VW Golf had a share of 26.8 percent before shrinking to 20.7 percent in June 2019.

Environmental associations have been critical of the SUV boom. “They are too heavy, too large, and thus fundamentally inefficient, threatening all the social goals that have been set,” said a spokesperson from Friends of the Earth Germany.

Politicians from several parties have demanded that something be done about the increase of SUVs.

“In comparison to small cars, SUVs have a considerably higher emission of pollutants, but are currently increasingly being bought for a variety of reasons,” Kirsten Luehmann, spokesperson on transport policy for the SPD parliamentary group, told the German newspaper Die Welt.

The Greens have called for a toll on cars with “ecological and traffic control effects,” Die Welt reported.

“If you drive a lot and produce a lot of greenhouse gases with your car, you have to pay more,” said Baden-Wuerttemberg’s Minister of Transport Winfried Hermann (Greens).

The German Left Party (Die Linke), on the other hand, wanted to base the tax privilege of company cars according to how environmentally friendly they are.

“Instead of building fewer dirty cars, the car industry is now focusing on particularly large, heavy and even dirtier cars,” left-wing politician Ingrid Remmers told Die Welt.

Dudenhoeffer, however, insisted that “it is simply wrong to equate SUVs with giant monsters.”