10 years ago, when the average Australian visited the US, more often than not the observation was made – why do Americans all drive such ridiculously big cars? The average tourist’s tiny hire car was dwarfed by trucks and SUVs, tearing up six-lane highways and terrifying those of us still trying to get the hang of driving on the other side of the road as well as the other side of the car.
Fast forward to present day and the SUV market has exploded in Australia. In 2016 there were more SUVs sold here than new babies born – we welcomed a new baby home every 1 minute and 41 seconds this year, but welcomed a new SUV into the driveway every 1 minute and 10 seconds*
SUVs have also, for the first time ever, outsold passenger cars for the first six months of 2017. This hasn’t always been the case, however. In 2006 there were just 171,000 SUVs sold in Australia, representing a meagre 20 percent of the Australian new car market. Fast forward 10 years to 2016 and that number has almost tripled to 441,000 SUV sales, or a staggering almost 40% of the total market.
“SUVs are more popular than ever and the segment just keeps on growing,” said Holden’s Director – Communications, Sean Poppitt.
“Where once SUVs were seen as just the typical ‘soccer mum’ car, or for outback off-road adventures only, that’s no longer the case. Aussies love their SUVs and Holden is responding – we’re primed to launch two all-new SUVs into the market by 2018 in the Equinox and Acadia.
“We’ve already got the stylish small SUV, Trax and the capable and rugged, seven-seat 4×4 Trailblazer, and soon they’ll be joined by the high-tech Equinox and the luxurious Acadia. The Acadia in particular will add some real American swagger to the Holden showroom.”
Despite population density in major cities increasing year on year, parking becoming nigh on impossible in metro areas, urban mobility solutions such as ride sharing gaining ground every day, and many of the 4X4 and 4X2s purchased in Australia never actually making it off-road, the SUV market’s meteoric rise shows no signs of slowing. But why? What are the, ahem, drivers behind Australia’s move to bigger vehicles?
CarsGuide’s Jack Pyefinch summed it up perfectly. “SUVs are the Swiss Army Knife of cars; you can drive them on good roads, bad roads or in the absence of roads and they’ll take it all pretty much in stride.
“The popularity of SUVs actually helps make them a better purchase too, as more manufacturers angle for a slice of the increasingly meaty pie. This means more competition and better prices as a result.”
Holden’s latest editions, Equinox and Acadia, were sourced from the SUV motherland – North America – and have received significant Australian involvement from the beginning of development. Holden’s entire future SUV range – Trax, Trailblazer, Acadia and Equinox – was also challenged over rugged off-road, unsealed gravel roads and around the high speed ring by local Australian media this week, all passing with flying colours.
While Australians don’t seem to need any convincing of the SUV’s prowess, Holden’s Director – Communications, Sean Poppitt, never misses an opportunity to drive the point home: “Equinox and Acadia are game-changers for Holden and the segment. Not only do they boast high-tech features like wireless phone charging, heated and cooled seats and the ability to park themselves, they’re also great to drive and look the goods, too.”
* Vehicle sales data courtesy of VFACTS. Australian birth-rate statistics courtesy of the Australian Bureau of Statistics .