Crossovers and SUVs represent an ever-growing share of new-vehicle sales in North America, claiming around 32 percent of the market last year versus just 22 percent little more than a decade ago. That’s forced automotive companies like Ford to adjust their strategies, diverting money away from (especially small) cars and toward the taller, higher-riding class of vehicles.
But it isn’t just North Americans who are ditching cars in favor of bigger vehicles; Ford’s most recent sales report out of Europe shows that in the top 20 biggest European markets, unit sales in the segment were up a staggering 28.5 percent in October versus the same month last year. Sales of crossovers and SUVs in those markets were up 23.6 percent through the first ten months of this year.
The explosion in sales is driven largely by greater demand for the B-segment Ford EcoSport and C-segment Ford Kuga (Escape) crossover models, Ford says. This makes sense, as both models recently underwent significant updates. It’s hard to compare those figures with the car segment, however. The Ford Fiesta subcompact is all-new for 2017, so a sales surge should be expected, but production is still ramping-up; the 18,800 units sold throughout October may be shy of where sales would be otherwise.
Either way, Ford’s sales of crossovers and SUVs in the top 20 European markets through the first ten months of 2017 demonstrate that growing demand for the tall, utilitarian vehicles is not just an American phenomenon. As new, fuel-efficient powertrain technologies continue to make these automobiles more cost-effective to operate than ever before, that’s a trend we don’t foresee reversing anytime soon.