4×4 buyers go undercover

Time 3:50 pm, March 25, 2008

NEW research shows that while UK 4×4 sales continue to fall, bucking the trend for rising sales across the rest of Europe, British motorists are yet to be truly converted to the green cause.


Figures based on over 50,000 used car sales have been released by Carcraft, the UK’s largest used car hypermarket chain, showing that 4x4s are the only category of vehicle where used car sales are actually falling (by 1.1% in 2007).


However, this doesn’t mean that we are necessarily becoming a nation of greener drivers.  Despite a falling demand for 4x4s, Carcraft has also reported a rise in the number of larger engine cars (2000cc and above) being sold in the same period.


The used car data from Carcraft mirrors the trend with new car registrations. In the UK, new 4×4 registrations did increase marginally by 0.2% in 2007 but that compares with an average increase of 1.7% across the whole of Western Europe. This indicates that Britain’s love affair with the 4×4 may be coming to an end.


Mike Walsh, sales director at Carcraft, suggests that 4×4 drivers may simply be going undercover to avoid criticism for their choice of car.


‘It seems that people still want powerful cars but they are less keen on being seen driving a 4×4,’ he said. ‘I believe this could be the result of effective lobbying activity by groups such as the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s, who appear to be winning the PR battle against manufacturers.’


‘The 4x4s are being marked out by campaigners as being environmentally unfriendly and unfashionable but this is failing to get across the wider message. The real issue isn’t the style of the car but its level of emissions.’

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