Sport utility vehicles – SUVs – are a recent phenomenon, and this is the right way to describe them. Not so long ago no one had even heard of the concept, and now it’s one of the success stories of the motor industry. SUVs are in demand, not only in the U.S.A., where they first originated, but also in Europe, Asia and the rest of the world, to the extent that Jeep Cherokees are now even made under licence for domestic consumption in China. In 2001, when Arnold Schwarzenegger launched the Hummer H2 in New York City, it was a major media event, and not only because Arnie was there in the flesh. In 1982, less than 200,000 SUVs were sold in the United States, which was less than 2 per cent of the total car market. But sales doubled the following year and reached nearly a million in 1989, topping 2 million in 1996 and taking a 14 per cent share, while 3.5 million were sold five years later. Growth was especially noticeable in the luxury sector, where SUVs made up half of the sales in 1996. By 2000, SUVs, minivans and pickups had together captured half the entire U.S. market. There is no doubt about it: SUVs were the flavour of the late-20th century and, if current trends are anything to go by, their popularity looks set to continue. But how did this come about? Why is the image of ‘utility’ now so desirable? Why are so many anxious to pay extra for a vehicle that is often heavier, more difficult to drive and more costly to run than a standard saloon? Most perplexing of all, however, is why they never use the off-road capability which has been so expensively engineered into their vehicle.
|Раздел:||Спорт, Хоби и свободно време, Книги|