Lotus and Smart are new members of the SUV club. In early April, the British sports car brand presented the Eletre, its first SUV. Also in April, Smart revealed the #1, a B-segment SUV that should rival the Mini Countryman. These products are in response to the SUV sales boom that has driven automaker growth since the 2000s.
As these vehicles are usually priced higher for consumers while based on shared platforms for other models, automakers stand to make higher profits. The formula is quite simple: develop one platform and then create different body types, with the SUV at the highest point in the pricing structure. The price gap is quite significant, according to the data from JATO Dynamics.
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In Italy, for instance, a B-segment SUV is 35 percent more expensive than a comparable car. This gap falls to 11 percent in the luxurious F segment. On average, an SUV is 33 percent more expensive than a car across all segments. Based on this, it is quite easy to understand why almost every prominent automaker in the world builds at least one SUV.
Almost, But Not All
However, there are still a few brands that have not been tempted by the allure of SUV profits. Some of them are not interested because it is not part of their brand’s DNA. Others simply don’t have the resources. And for a few, plans for SUVs are already in the works.
As of spring 2022, you won’t find an SUV at the following 11 brands: Abarth, Alpine, Bugatti, Chrysler, Ferrari, Lancia, Lucid, McLaren, Pagani, Polestar, and Ram. The list excludes niche companies like Caterham, Morgan, Dallara, Rimac, Koenigsegg, and others.
In the case of Alpine, Ferrari, and Polestar, an SUV is expected to arrive within the next two years. Actually, the Ferrari Purosangue is due to be revealed in the coming months. With perhaps the exception of Ferrari, these brands need an SUV in order to gain more traction as relatively new companies.
Chrysler recently unveiled its Airflow concept, which blurs the already blurry lines between SUV, crossover, and hatchback, but a production version is still years away. While Abarth technically doesn’t have an SUV you can buy right now, the Pulse Abarth from Fiat was recently revealed for South America and should go on sale later this year.
Others like Bugatti, McLaren, and Pagani are recognized as supercar brands where an SUV might not be a priority yet. However, this could certainly change if the Ferrari Purosangue proves to be successful for the Maranello company – and harmless to the brand’s image. Curiously, Ram is the sixth-largest brand by sales under the Stellantis umbrella, but the focus there has been on its pickup trucks and commercial vehicles.
Lucid has just started its journey as an independent brand with its electric Air sedan, but the second step should be an SUV. Lancia is yearning for more products, but product planning presentations thus far have not mentioned an SUV within its future lineup.
The author of the article, Felipe Munoz, is the Automotive Industry Specialist at JATO Dynamics.