Report: SUV Sales Drive Green Vehicle Market

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Online automotive retailer Edmunds today announced research that indicates the diversification of environmentally-friendly SUV lineups has propelled a jump in sales of green vehicles during the first half of 2017, marking the end of a three-year decline in green vehicle sales. The car-buying platform says SUVs now makeup 22.9 percent of the green vehicle market, up from 5.2 percent in 2012.

Edmunds executive director of industry analysis Jessica Caldwell says that growth in the green SUV market can be attributed to advancing technology that allows for more stylish vehicles to suit electric powertrains.

“If automakers want car shoppers to adopt green technology, they can’t just offer it exclusively in a little econobox,” she says. “While the styling of the iconic Prius used to be trendy, consumers don’t necessarily want a vehicle whose deign screams ‘green car.’”

The report also notes that plug-ins are on the rise, increasing 45 percent in volume year over year. During the first half of 2017, one out of every 100 vehicles sold had a plug, and the introduction of the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and increased production of the Tesla Model 3 is expected to push that number up in the following years.

However, General Motors Co., Tesla, and Nissan are nearing the 200,000-vehicle cap for federal tax credits, meaning they won’t be able to offer financial incentives to potential consumers. Caldwell adds that to continue a positive electronic vehicle trend, these companies will need to market EVs in a different way.

“Americans tend to buy cars based on emotion,” adds Caldwell. “If automakers can hone in on the right products that excite buyers without the carrot of government subsidies, EVs have a much better shot at going mainstream at a quicker pace.”

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