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Land Rover’s baby SUV and the global niche that’s set to boom

Land Rover's baby SUV and the global niche that’s set to boom

The baby SUV market is set to boom – and Land Rover must be part of it

There isn’t much in the car industry that’s guaranteed, but a boom in sales of baby SUVs seems to be one thing that is. Figures put together by analysts at Credit Suisse show that sales of this hitherto niche vehicle are set to boom – which explains why Land Rover is evaluating an £18k baby SUV

In 2000 the B-segment SUV market achieved just 357,000 sales worldwide. It bounced up to 505,000 in 2004 before drifting back to just 287,000 units in the deep recession of 2009. In 2010 it jumped to 546,000 units and then to 874,000 units in 2011.

A significant chunk of 330,000 units gained was accounted for by the Mini Countryman, a car that was an instant hit in the showroom and accounts for nearly a third of all Mini sales.

Credit Suisse analysts think that the global market for baby SUVs will rocket to 2.7 million units worldwide by 2020. And the total global market could be even bigger, because these sales apply to car makers from Europe, Japan, the US and South Korea.

Local entries from Chinese and Indian car makers — such as the proposed SUVs being developed by Land Rover with Tata and Chery — would only add to the Credit Suisse estimates.

Clearly, Land Rover can’t afford to ignore this boom, especially now that Audi has shown its hand with the Crosslane Coupé and BMW is certain to replace the X1 with a smaller model based on its new front-wheel drive platform.