A record amount of Europeans will be buying sport utility vehicles in coming years. According to a new report from Automotive Industry Data, (Schmidt's Sports-utility 4x4 Prospects to 2009) Europeans will ignore US controversy over SUVs and will buy more than one million of the four-wheel drive models in 2009, almost double the number sold in 1999.

European vehicle manufacturers will be increasingly prominent in the production of SUVs. Currently the market leader is Toyota's RAV-4 and Japanese manufacturers dominated with 53.5% of the European market in 2002.

By 2009, Europeans will dominate their own market, with new models expected from Volkswagen, Audi, Renault, Volvo, Fiat and Saab. Japan's share of this market will decline to 32.9%, according to AID.

There will some comfort for environmentalists though. Many of the new European SUVs will be smaller and more car-like than many of the current behemoths, and will have fuel-efficient diesel engines.

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