September 26, 2023

The most popular letter in the automotive industry is probably SUV. Car buyers love them, and manufacturers are racing to make them.

That’s not shameful. A firm that makes cars the public wants to purchase is not only good business practice but also common sense. Some firms, however, are trying to avoid the term SUV.

Rolls-Royce described the Cullinan as a “high-sided vehicle” in a press release. This was later changed to ‘high body vehicle’. This is probably because it sounds like something you can’t drive across the Severn Bridge in high winds.

Despite everyone knowing it, Ferrari spent years denying that it was making an SUV. The reason is that the company will call the model an FUV. It’s a Ferrari utility car – just because.

Lamborghini admits that the new Urus is an SUV. However, it insists it’s a super sports utility vehicle – a moniker that it manages to pull off thanks to its bizarre design.

It is easy to see why Rolls-Royce or Ferrari would be reluctant to use terms that might make their cars sound like a Nissan Qashqai, Ford Kuga, or even a Ford Kuga.

While the market for SUVs is still growing, so are the terms used to divide the various sizes and types of SUVs, from small crossovers to large SUVs. However, a Cullinan will not be mistaken for a Qashqai even though they are both SUVs.

Is a “high-bodied vehicle” really more luxurious than an SUV? Is it more likely for Ferrari buyers to buy an FUV than a UAV? In either case, I’m not convinced.

To be honest, I don’t see why any brand would make a car that looks and acts like an SUV but not call it an SUV. It’s not as if SUVs are a deterrent to car-buyers, unlike MPVs and estates, which many manufacturers do lyrical gymnastics to avoid. Why not just call an SUV a spade?

Both Ferrari and Rolls-Royce could learn from Maserati’s marketing campaign for the Levante, the Maserati of SUVs. Genius. It states that it is an SUV but also a Maserati, so it is okay.

Let’s face facts: If people are looking for an ultra-luxury, premium SUV, wouldn’t it make more sense to sell them the Rolls-Royce of SUVs rather than the Rolls-Royce high-bodied vehicle?

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