SMMT News UK Manufacturing

Greenpeace: A menace with the facts?

05 April 2006 #SMMT News #UK Manufacturing

SMMT has today (Tuesday 4 April) responded with frustration to the latest piece of 4×4 ‘research’. 4x4s in the City from Greenpeace, pulls together a host of inaccurate and unconnected data from a range of sources, mainly from the USA where SUV data falls within the truck category.


SMMT chief executive, Christopher Macgowan said, ‘This latest paper is full of the usual misconceptions, mixing opinion with the occasional fact. To include five pages of safety data based on a different set of US vehicles, without any supporting evidence relating to either the UK or European market, is clearly irresponsible and misleading.


‘Where were the facts relating to CO2 emissions, showing a fall of 10.7 per cent for the new car market? Where was the recognition that, despite the increase in sales of 4×4 vehicles, CO2 from them has fallen 17.3 per cent? Where was the fact that despite a 25 per cent overall increase in cars on the roads, the level of emissions from passenger cars has remained flat? All we ask for is a balanced and responsible discussion about the facts as they affect motorists, and our industry, in the UK.’


The following facts help to redress the balance:



  • 4×4/SUV registrations in the UK rose from 121,556 in 2001 to 187,392 in 2005. In road accidents over the same period, injuries and fatalities among pedestrians fell 17.4 per cent and car users by 16.9 per cent. 1
  • Each of the three best-selling 4x4s on the market – the Land Rover Freelander, Toyota Rav 4 and Honda CR-V is shorter than a Ford Mondeo or a Vauxhall Vectra.2
  • The Toyota Prius has the same EuroNCAP ratings as the Volvo XC90. There are many examples of models in all segments which perform less well than current 4×4/SUV models. Clearly this is an issue of individual product design and not a reflection on an ‘unsafe’ vehicle type.3
  • The top 10 areas for 4×4/SUV buying in Britain in 2005 are predominantly rural. Warwickshire and Powys lead the way followed by the Scottish Borders, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Large conurbations like London, West Midlands, Merseyside and Manchester appear towards the bottom of the list.
  • Stability control systems are increasingly fitted as standard on 4×4/SUV models, such as on the Volkswagen Touareg, Volvo XC90, BMW X5 and Mercedes M Class. Anti-rollover technologies are also common, fitted to models like the new Land Rover Discovery III, Nissan X-Trail and the Jeep Cherokee. Such ‘active safety systems’ are designed to prevent an accident occurring in the first place.



1. Source: DfT statistics

2. Source: 4×4 – The Facts, SMMT 2006

3. Source:

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