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Volkswagen survey sheds light on Americans' love for their SUVs


By Sven Gustafson, Autoblog

It won’t come as a shock to anyone to hear that sport utility vehicles are very popular with American drivers. But a survey conducted by Volkswagen (spoiler alert: They make and sell several SUVs) sheds some light on just how wedded American drivers are to their SUVs, and why. 

Volkswagen says it divined three key takeaways from survey respondents: People see SUVs as being safe and comfortable; they see them as a new kind of living room; and young Millennial and Gen Z drivers value safety above all else. Results were taken from a 5-minute online survey conducted in September of 1,000 SUV owners in the U.S., not overall vehicle owners, and was divided equally between men and women. The margin of error was +/- 3.1%.

Diving deeper, 96% of respondents ranked SUVs as the best vehicles for the money, and 87% said they had no plans to own any other kind of vehicle in the future. They also said they felt more confident on the road in an SUV to the tune of 94%. A little over two-thirds rated safety and comfort as the highest priority features in an SUV, though there was a bit of a gender split: Men rated comfortable seating highest, while women were more likely to prioritize safety and passenger space.

Bolstering the “living room” theme, more than 80% of parents said they have family discussions in their SUV. Parents were also more likely than non-parents to say they expect to continue to stick with the segment from now on, to the tune of 90%. Interestingly, owners of three-row ‘utes were the most likely to say their vehicles host family discussions, at 75%, versus 60% of owners of two-row SUVs.

Lastly, Millennials and Gen Z SUV owners rank their vehicle’s overall safety as being most important, followed by handling on rough roads. Drivers over the age of 55, by contrast, ranked comfortable seating tops.

Sales of SUVs grew by 51,000 units in November and were up by 244,000 year to date, excluding models from Ford, GM, Fiat Chrysler and Tesla, which don’t report monthly sales and would most likely have driven the numbers higher, according to data compiled by GoodCarBadCar. Through November, the top five SUVs by sales were the Toyota RAV4 in first place, followed by the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Toyota Highlander and Subaru Outback. Volkswagen’s Tiguan was No. 13 at 102,032, up nearly 8%, while the Atlas came in 18th at 74,108, up almost 40%.

With sales of SUVs and crossovers approaching nearly half of the overall U.S. auto sales market, the survey suggests the segment’s popularity shows no sign of waning anytime soon.

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Autos News: Volkswagen survey sheds light on Americans' love for their SUVs
Volkswagen survey sheds light on Americans' love for their SUVs
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