Even an untrained observer will have noticed. The streets of our cities are increasingly populated by a type of vehicle, the famous SUV, because “Sport Utility Vehicle” in good English. It’s very simple, these cars, which mimic 4x4s without having the features, have literally spread everywhere. The reality or the marketing power, the people, the families who buy these types of vehicles are developing, see at least on the volume of these animals, a sense of space, height and even security compared to conventional machines.
This observation is increasingly cutting the teeth of many defenders of the environmental cause, for whom these “tanks” are genuine ecological aberrations. Many voices are raised to protest against these cars, which are taller, bigger and therefore take up more space.
Thus, informal collectives have sprung up sporadically almost everywhere in the big cities of the old continent, whose aim is to… deflate SUV tires to fight against their spread and condemn the pollution they cause. These groups estimate that the CO2 emissions from this type of car are far above average. They point to the weight of these vehicles, which is much greater than the weight of standard cars, which leads to overconsumption of fuel.
This movement appeared a few months ago in the United Kingdom. Since then it has spread all over Europe, from Germany to France.
If there is no centralized political line, the modus operandi is practically the same: the owner of the SUV finds his vehicle with at least one of the tires deflated, or even all four, accompanied by a small butterfly on the windshield to explain to him the action he has undergone.
The purpose of these deflations is to sensitize both those who own this type of vehicle and the general population. If, in absolute terms, this type of action is not malicious, some people do not hesitate to condemn actions that are part of what they consider to be a “green dictatorship“. In a way, it’s obvious that it’s annoying to discover your car completely flat. But that’s the essence of an itchy act.
Dumping them in series, these anti-SUV commandos are also attacking the price of these vehicles, which are considered completely disproportionate. These cars, because of their “fashion” side, are not an affluent clientele. In fact, less fortunate families do not hesitate to go into debt to get “their SUV”.
The SUV tidal wave
For some years now, SUVs have ruled the European car market. By 2021, they accounted for almost 50% of sales in Europe, according to figures from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). To understand the extent of the phenomenon, the same SUVs represented only 14% of the market ten years earlier, according to the same source.
To meet all wishes, these cars are even available in all vehicle categories from small city cars to large highway cars. It’s very simple, SUVs have taken everything in their path, sales of sedans or station wagons have literally collapsed, to such an extent that certain manufacturers such as Renault or Volkswagen have announced that they will not give offspring to their large sedan Talisman and Passat.
And what about minivans that were once beloved by families? To oblivion! Renault, one of the specialists in these monovolume bodies, has signed the death warrant for its historic Espace. His little brother Scenic returns in the coming months with a new 100% electric model… in the form of an SUV. In addition, the end of the heat engine in 2035 in the EU, approved by the 27, will not sound the death knell for SUVs. Far from it, because all the manufacturers are furnishing new SUVs connected to the electric grid.
Even the sports car manufacturer Porsche sells more SUVs (Cayenne and Macan combined) than its emblematic 911. Another unmistakable sign, the most prestigious luxury brands have also rushed into the breach such as Rolls-Royce and its Cullinan, today the most expensive SUV in world.