Millennials view SUVs as leading choice for fuel-efficient vehicles

Fresh from the announcement that Ford is commercialising a fully-electric SUV, a survey sponsored by the motor giant has revealed that millennials are making purchasing decisions based on the efficiency of a vehicle.

A Ford Motor-sponsored survey of 5,000 people aged 17 to 34 across the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain found that 80% of millennials believe that SUVs have improved on fuel-efficiency and environmental impacts over the last five years. In total, a quarter of respondents intend to buy one in the next year.

“SUV sales are rising faster than any other type of vehicle in Europe, and eco-conscious Millennials are a driving force behind growing SUV demand. Last year, Ford’s SUV sales outpaced even this rapid industry growth,” Ford Europe’s vice president of marketing Roelant de Waard said.

Vehicle market consultants JATO found that SUV registrations increased by 21% across Europe in 2016 and accounted for more than one quarter of all new vehicles registered. The vehicles have shrugged-off reputations as heavy emitters and Ford’s own Kuga SUV meets latest Euro Stage 6 emissions requirements and delivers 115 g/km.

The survey arrives one month after Ford unveiled plans for a new fully-electric SUV, with an estimated driving range of at least 300 miles. The new electric SUV will arrive on the market in 2020 as part of five new zero-emission models from Ford.

Figures from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) predict that electric vehicle (EV) sales will sky-rocket in the next 15 years, even though high capital costs are dissuading some consumers. With this in mind, Ford has moved to ensure that cheaper diesel options are more energy efficient for the company’s production arm.

Ford’s new diesel engine production line is expected to cut energy and water use by 50% for each engine built at the company’s Dagenham diesel centre in the UK.

Other manufacturers are attempting to commercialise EV SUVs, including Mercedes. Renowned actor and former governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger will test drive a prototype of a fully-electrified, off-road Mercedes G 350d as part of a development agreement with Austrian battery specialist Kreisel Electric.

Millennial movement

Japenese carmaker Nissan has previously commissioned its own survey to examine how millennials view EVs. A survey, released in September 2016, found that 53% of millennials would consider buying an EV within the next 10 years, or already own one.

The influence of millennials is evident in markets outside of transportation. Professional services company Accenture found that millennials are far more likely to sign up with energy providers that utilise enhanced data services and distributed energy resources. A survey from the firm suggests that engaging with younger generations will create more economic revenues for energy companies.

Matt Mace

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