SMMT News UK Manufacturing

Bank of flimsy anti-4×4 research keeps growing, warns SMMT

23 June 2006 #SMMT News #UK Manufacturing

SMMT is concerned that drivers of 4×4 / SUVs have once again been blasted by a weak piece of research. An Imperial College report, published in the British Medical Journal, was based on observations of driver habits at only three points in central London. SMMT believes this is just the latest in a line of poorly-researched reports, worryingly reproduced by some in the media as fact.


‘Our concern is that conclusions will be taken as read, simply because this is the British Medical Journal and the report has therefore generated media interest’, said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan.


‘While we welcome the fact that researchers have acknowledged 4x4s / SUVs as one of the safest cars for occupants, they seem to have made a huge leap of logic about drivers. Surely it can’t be good science to suggest that the safety benefits of driving a 4×4 makes people more complacent and therefore more likely to use their mobile phone illegally while driving?’


In January this year, SMMT published an industry guide to safer driving called Drive Green, Drive Safely. This encourages drivers of all types of vehicle to adhere to the rules of the road, by following a series of simple reminders, tips and hints.


SMMT will forward copies of the free guide to publishers of the Imperial College research for distribution to doctors’ surgeries around the UK. The booklet has already been widely distributed to safety and government bodies in Britain and is also free to download as a PDF from the SMMT web site at:


4×4 facts in a nutshell:

  • 7.7 per cent of new cars leaving showrooms throughout the UK is a 4×4 / SUV. That compares to 30 per cent for supermini cars (Fiesta / Corsa sized) and 31 per cent for small family cars (Focus / Astra) sized models.
  • Average CO2 emissions from 4x4s / SUVs are 12 per cent lower than for luxury saloons and on a par with sports cars. Average new 4×4 / SUV emissions have fallen by more than 17 per cent in the last six years, compared to a car-wide average drop of 11 per cent.
  • Each of the three best-selling 4x4s / SUVs on the road last year, the Freelander, RAV4 and CR-V, is shorter than a Mondeo or Vectra.
  • Despite pressure group claims, there is NO verifiable research which shows European 4x4s / SUVs are less safe than other types of vehicle. In fact, independent EuroNCAP crash tests – – demonstrate that many perform better than smaller cars in terms of both occupant and pedestrian protection.


Filter News

Update Newsletter