Are Super SUVs killing off the Supercars?
Most of us did not expect an SUV invasion in the supercar segment. On the contrary, we all thought it would be a safe haven from these big and so-called practical designs. Well, we thought wrong, and it seems that the allure of sales and volume has trumped supercar principles.
The biggest problem however is not the invasion itself, it's what the invasion might lead to.
The SUV has already killed off a few vehicle segments in its conquest to rule the automotive world, but now it is further threatening the survival of traditional supercars.
SUVs have been all the rage over the past decade or so, bulldozing their way into global automotive markets with massive sales figures. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that almost half of the vehicles on the road today are SUVs – compact, mid-sized, huge 7-seater luxury models, you name it.
While many expected it to stop there, none of us thought we would ever see SUVs built by supercar manufacturers such as Porsche, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, Ferrari, Lotus, etc.
Yes, they have continued to produce supercars, but the potential money they could make by selling Super SUVs was obviously too good to pass up - of which we are seeing today with the likes of the Lamborghini Urus, Bentley Bentayga and Rolls Royce Cullinan to name but a few.
We only need to look at Porsche's Cayenne and Lamborghini's Urus as an example. It is now officially the best-selling Porsche and Lamborghini of all time, so why wouldn't they make more of them, right? And then there is demand. With more and more people wanting Super SUVs after getting a taster, we're pretty sure the range will continue to expand.
It all started with the Porsche Cayenne, a Super SUV widely known as the vehicle that saved the Zuffenhausen brand from a major crisis.
At the beginning of the noughties, the global population grew from 4.5 Billion to 6 Billion compared to the nineties. This population growth saw more families being established, which saw the rise of demand for more practical cars with bigger boots and the declining sales of sports cars.
This shift left Porsche in a pickle as the slow sales of their cars saw them going deeper into financial ruin. However, their executives adapted quickly and started researching the demand for a Porsche SUV.
Many said yes after Porsche stated that they would not be making just any old SUV, but one that is the most agile, fun-to-drive yet practical SUV with off-road capabilities. After that, and as they say, the rest is history - the Cayenne really did put Porsche in a great financial position.
For a while, they were the only supercar manufacturer to build an SUV, but family member, Bentley and Lamborghini, part of the Volkswagen group, joined the scene with the Bentayga in 2016 and Urus in 2017.
From there onwards, the flood gates opened, and sleek as well as uber-luxury sports car manufacturers such as Maserati, Rolls Royce and Aston Martin joined the party with the Maserati Levante, Rolls Royce Cullinan and Aston Martin DBX in 2016, 2018 and 2020, respectively.
Ferarri and Lotus will probably be the last ones on the scenes as they plan to manufacture and unveil their SUVs in 2022. Perhaps the only safe haven from the SUV revolution will be in Woking, Surrey, as McLaren has yet to announce any ambitions to make one officially - but there are rumours that it is in the pipeline.
Many manufacturers have introduced cheaper sports cars to curb the loss of interest in supercars. According to Autocar UK, "with the exception of Ferrari, sales numbers of supercars were down. Felipe Munoz, an analyst at Jato Dynamics, said supercar prices also fell by 0.8% across the three major European markets (the UK, Germany and Switzerland).
"It's mostly the result of the introduction of cheaper versions and lower demand for the most expensive ones," said Munoz as reported by Autocar.
As you can see, the rise of the Super SUVs is having a knock-on effect on supercars, and with the rising age of the global population, we really can't see an old foggy with a bad back choosing a low slung and cramped supercar over a slightly more spacious Super SUV.
Does all of this mean the beginning of the end of the supercar? Perhaps the rising introduction of track-focused limited edition supercars says it all, limited only to those with deep pockets and the want to go really fast around a circuit on track days, and even then, we bet they drive their Super SUVs on the weekdays.