In case you were automatically thinking “There will never be an article on a Daimler website that demonizes the SUV!” – Congratulations, you’re right! However, as a company that produces such vehicles, we feel obliged to get involved in the debate. In Germany, this debate really flared up last fall and it still hasn’t completely died down. This is demonstrated by the reports in the media as well as by the Fridays for Future demonstrations, which are especially critical of private transportation.
I think that the protesters have a right to be critical. Pluralism and freedom of expression are very important. Naturally, people are free to envision a world that doesn’t contain any SUVs — and perhaps even one that doesn’t contain any automobiles at all. That’s also okay. However, we at Daimler don’t share this view. On the contrary, we are convinced that self-determined private mobility will still be a necessity in the future. The SUV too will play a big role in this future — not because Daimler wishes it to, but because many customers want it that way.
This is confirmed by the sales figures, which are rising, even though these vehicles are denounced by the media. In fact, SUVs are selling better than ever before. More than one million new SUVs were registered in Germany last year, making them one of the most popular model types. According to Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA), almost one third (32.2 percent) of all passenger cars sold in Germany are SUVs. In the United States, they even account for half of new vehicle registrations. Moreover, the fact that Mercedes-Benz was once again able to increase vehicle deliveries by 1.3 percent last year, to 2.34 million units, is in part due to the growth of the SUV segment and, in particular, to the success of the GLC and the GLE. According to a study conducted by the CAR Institute at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the SUVs’ market share could rise further next year to as high as 34 percent.