Analysis: what SUVs do to the bottom line

Published: 09 September 2016

 Merc sells more than 4m SUVs
 Why 4x4s swell profits
 SUV sales double since 2011

Tired of hearing how SUVs saved the car industry? Well take a look at these figures just released by Mercedes-Benz

It’s reported passing the milestone of 4 million SUV sales – not bad going for a genre it was absent from back in 1998 at the launch of its first SUV, the M-class.

Granted, the hard-as-nails G-class, or G-wagen, has been with us since the late 1970s, but it’s the rise of the road-biased, family-friendly sports utility vehicle that’s really turbocharged many car makers sales.

Mercedes SUVs: still selling like hot cakes

Parent company Daimler reported a rise of 40% in sales of soft-roaders and 4x4s this year, as it posted its strongest August in history, with 156,246 registrations globally.

Total sales are up 12% year-to-date, to 1.33m in the first eight months of 2016. Another record.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC

Ola Källenius, sales and marketing board member, said: ‘Mercedes-Benz has already delivered more than four million SUVs to customers worldwide. Their popularity is rising year on year. Thanks to their double-digit growth rate, the SUVs once again contributed significantly to the best-ever unit sales by Mercedes-Benz this August.’

The best sellers

The brand’s strongest-selling SUVs were the GLA and GLC (above); with more models arriving by the year, no wonder Merc SUV sales have more than doubled since 2011.

Which begs the question: what happens when they’ve flooded every niche? What will be the industry’s next silver bullet, when everyone who wants an SUV has one?

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet