Soaring SUV sales keep carmakers on collision course with climate policy

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Soaring demand for SUVs drove record sales for premium carmakers including BMW and Mercedes last year, leaving the industry on collision course with government efforts to tackle global warming despite big investments in electric vehicles.

BMW said on Friday deliveries by its main luxury brand rose 2% to a record 2,168,516 vehicles last year, thanks to a 21% jump in sales of its “X” branded sport-utility vehicles (SUV) which now make up 44% of the BMW brand’s global sales, according to Reuters.

At Mercedes-Benz, the world’s best selling premium car brand, every third luxury car sold last year was an SUV.

Automakers across the world are investing billions in electric vehicles to try to meet tougher emissions regulations. But the jury is out on how many drivers will buy them. “Consumer preferences for SUVs could offset the benefits from electric cars,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in its November World Energy Outlook 2019 report.

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