I don’t know how many times I’ve said “Indians love SUVs”. Irrespective of the segment or price tag, SUVs have commanded unparalleled attention and desirability. Think Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour, Mitsubishi Pajero, Mahindra XUV500, Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7, Range Rover, Renault Duster, Maruti Gypsy or even the Premier Rio. While India’s fascination with the SUV is growing, it is safe to say that we are not alone.
The US has always favoured “trucks” and China’s fascination with the SUV is growing at a typically Chinese pace. Manufacturers are adding fuel to the fire by churning out SUVs galore! For all you know, Audi may just spawn Q1, Q2, Q4 and Q8 to complement the existing range of Q3, Q5 and Q7! Maybe even a Q9! BMW? How does X2, X4 and X7 sound? Land Rover is planning no less than 16 SUVs among the Range Rover and Land Rover offerings. Mercedes isn’t immune to the SUV fever either. The entry level GLA is being given finishing touches and the new Ener-G-Force concept hints at a Range Rover rival to sit right on top of the Merc SUV range.
Even the more affordable brands are cashing in on the trend. VW is planning a fleet of small SUVs – starting with the UP! platform and then there’s the Taigun concept that was shown in Brazil recently.
Closer home, Maruti’s XA Alpha concept, Nissan’s V-platform based Extrem SUV, Ford’s EcoSport, Honda’s City-based SUV are all in different stages of development and these aren’t meant just for the Indian market either. Renault and Nissan have the super successful Qashqai crossover and they even showcased a compact SUV on the V platform. The hunger for SUVs, no matter the size or ruggedness, is growing rapidly.
It wasn’t too long ago that there were speculations flying thick and fast about the extinction of SUVs. As it turns out, that was a bit off the mark. There’s a glut of SUVs coming our way and these will be leaner, cleaner and will come in every size imaginable. Will the world “car” market morph into an SUV market? I have a feeling, it just might.