The automotive industry has been showing signs of an exciting comeback in recent years. After the struggle following the 2008 economic crisis, car manufacturers have begun coming up with new and exciting models, better marketing strategies, and new ways of keeping the industry as vibrant as it is today.
The SUV industry is perhaps the most interesting to follow. Despite market uncertainties and negative sentiments, the SUV and light truck manufacturing industry is now worth $195 billion, with a whopping annual growth of around 8%. So how does the future look for SUVs and their manufacturers?
Focus on Functionalities
SUVs have always been attractive in the eyes of customers for their ability to conquer any terrain and function well in different conditions. Over the years, however, there has been a shift in focus among SUV manufacturers. We saw the likes of Kia Borrego and Dodge Nitro not gaining the market attention they were made for.
Today, however, SUVs are all about functionality. They are capable of carrying up to 7 people comfortably. They are also designed to be sporty yet comfortable; luxurious but efficient. We see cars like the Mazda CX-5 (and its bigger brother, the CX-9) and Audi’s Q7 offering customers more in terms of features and reliability.
Other manufacturers are using the same recipe too. The Ford F-150 remains the best-selling car of all time, and it is set to hold that position for years to come with the latest models now offering better electronics and more capable but efficient engines.
Another interesting point that also ensures a bright future for the SUV industry is the fact that SUVs are no longer seen as bad for the environment. In the old days, owning an SUV meant having a car with a big, powerful and thirsty engine; often unnecessarily so when you consider that the majority of SUVs are used in big cities.
There are now small SUVs filling important market segments. We have seen manufacturers starting to compare SUVs with the aim of making their own products friendlier to the environment. We also see cars like the popular Ford Escape being introduced with a smaller and eco-friendly engine.
These are bigger changes than they appear. The small steps made by SUV manufacturers towards making their vehicles environment-friendly are attracting new customers who would never consider an SUV otherwise.
Signs of a Bright Future
The changes happening on the market and the way SUV and light truck manufacturers respond to those changes bring a lot of hope for the future of the industry. There is no doubt that the SUV industry will continue on its current trajectory and show steady, healthy growth for five more years.
What makes this conclusion even more interesting is the introduction of more hybrid and electric SUVs, including the Tesla Model X, the Lexus NX Hybrid, and the Jaguar I-Pace. These cars really show how much the SUV form is loved by customers. It is a form that will continue to add excitement to the market; these are signs of a bright future for the SUV industry indeed.