Will electric cars mark the end of SUVs?

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Electric cars have actually existed since the 19th century, although they have only become truly popular in recent decades. However, their popularity has significantly increased in recent times. In the first half of 2022, global sales increased by 62% compared to the same period in the previous year. So, can a similar increase be expected in 2023, especially in light of growing concerns about the impact of traditional combustion engines on the planet?

This is quite possible, which is probably not good news for SUV manufacturers. Because the greater the demand for electric vehicles becomes, the lesser the need for other types of cars. While some models might be able to transition to electric propulsion, not all will be capable of doing so. According to the CEO of Citroen, this is unfortunate news for SUV enthusiasts.

Vehicle sales don’t seem to confirm that SUVs are outdated

Vincent Cobée seems quite resolute when it comes to the future of SUVs, if one is to believe a recent quote from the CEO of Citroen. According to him, “the era of SUVs is over.” So, should manufacturers abandon these vehicles if they are supposedly on the decline? Perhaps not, because Cobée admits that “the numbers don’t agree with me.” SUVs have continued to be popular in recent years, constituting 50% of new registrations in Europe. Nevertheless, the CEO of Citroen sticks to his opinion that SUVs have only a limited lifespan left. So, what should drivers believe?

Vincent Cobée anticipates that specific legal restrictions will ultimately lead to the end of SUVs.


According to Vincent Cobée, one reason for the continued high sales of SUVs is the classification of vehicles that are actually labeled as SUVs. He points out that many sedans are labeled as SUVs because they are slightly taller than typical cars. From the CEO’s perspective, these vehicles are actually better suited for the driver of tomorrow due to their aerodynamics. For an SUV to be equally efficient, manufacturers might need to explore solutions such as increasing battery size. However, Cobée expects that limitations like vehicle weight and battery sizes will play a more significant role in the future. Whether through taxes, regulations, or other incentives, the exact method isn’t crucial. Once these measures are implemented, it could quickly spell the end for these vehicles.

Changes in the perception of climate could lead people to feel guilty about driving SUVs.

Of course, the introduction of such restrictions doesn’t necessarily mean the definitive end for SUVs. However, something else might fulfill this task first. Vincent Cobée is acutely aware of how the perception of certain vehicles is changing. While the world is still populated by climate skeptics, more and more people are becoming concerned about their potential impact on the planet. Not too long ago, someone driving an SUV was viewed positively. Yet, now it seems that more and more people look down upon such drivers. If these perceptions become entrenched in mainstream ideology, many people might suddenly feel guilty about owning an SUV.

Vincent Cobée is working towards a fully electric future for Citroen.


Given Vincent Cobée’s clear expectations for the future of SUVs, it’s not surprising that his plans for Citroen don’t seem to be oriented towards these vehicles. While other manufacturers continue to cater to today’s consumer demand, Citroen is focusing on producing cars that can operate efficiently with smaller batteries. The company is gradually transitioning towards a fully electric future, as evident from the Oli concept, for example. This is a decision that the CEO seems to have confidence in, but could he potentially be making a mistake by dismissing SUVs at this juncture?

Citroen’s desire to move away from SUV production carries a certain risk.

There are certainly concerns that Citroen’s view on the SUV situation could have a negative impact on the company. After all, the demand for these vehicles is currently still apparent. However, by choosing to withdraw from their production, the manufacturer could potentially experience profit loss. Nevertheless, this is a risk that Cobée seems willing to take based on his belief in future trends. He apparently also believes that it would be riskier to hold onto SUVs until, for example, 2030, only to find that the customer base is no longer there. This would result in losses as the company would have a lot of unsellable vehicles in stock. As the CEO himself said, “You don’t want to be the last one to leave the dance floor.”

Electric vehicles are gaining popularity, but there’s still a long way to go before they become the dominant force on our roads. However, they have already had a significant impact on how automotive manufacturers contemplate their future plans. Their presence could ultimately spell the end for SUVs, but we’ll have to wait and see if this actually comes to fruition.

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