SUVs and crossovers benefited most from Europe’s first rise in annual sales since 2007. Combined sales of models ranging from the Nissan Qashqai to the Opel/Vauxhall Mokka to the BMW X5 increased 21 percent last year to more than 2.5 million units, according to data from JATO Dynamics. That rise easily outpaced the overall market’s 5.3 percent growth to 12.8 million.
One out of every five car buyers in Europe chose an SUV or crossover last year, up from 17 percent in 2013.
Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn said last month that the only global market with a stronger appetite for SUVs and crossovers is China, where the vehicles account for 26 percent of total sales.
Ghosn has been enjoying Europe’s shift toward SUVs and crossovers for years. The fun started in 2007 when the Nissan Qashqai helped establish a niche for vehicles that blended a compact SUV with a compact hatchback.