It seems barely a week goes by without someone in the car industry launching or announcing a new SUV.
It’s simple economics, really: people love the things. And, even better for manufacturers, the demand is truly global. They’re hugely popular in the USA, Europe and, crucially, China, which means one product – with a few tweaks – can be sold in a range of vastly differing markets.
That’s huge for car manufacturers, because differing tastes have previously made developing ‘global cars’ a difficult challenge. How do you develop a product that meets the demands of, say, the British and American markets when the best-selling car in the UK is the Ford Fiesta, while in the US it’s the Ford F-150 pick-up truck?
But SUVs are proving universally popular, and that’s giving manufacturers to capitalise on increasing economies of scale. A desire to sell in China is partly why Skoda dropped the Yeti name for its recently launched Karoq. The Kona is the latest example of a global SUV: it was styled in California, but it will be sold worldwide with just a few regional variations (for example, Europe will get smaller turbocharged engines and differing suspension).