Ford of Europe plans to expand its range and increase sales in the fast-growing SUV segment in Europe, as well as significantly increase its offering of all-wheel drive (AWD) technologies so, natch, its has released results of its sponsored survey in the region showing "SUVs are highly desired by Millennials – those aged 17-34 – indicating Europe’s SUV boom is poised to accelerate". More so than other age groups, Millennials say SUVs make them feel powerful when they drive, are the kind of vehicle they want to be seen in and are more sporty and fun to drive than other vehicle types – according to strategic research consultancy Benenson Strategy Group.

The Millennial generation is also more likely to consider it important that a car is perfect for an active lifestyle with half believing this better describes SUVs than other types of vehicle.

“The survey makes two important points – the SUV boom in Europe is not a passing fad and young people are not as ambivalent about car ownership as some suggest – especially when it comes to SUVs,” said Ford Europe's sales and marketing chief Roelant de Waard. “For both rational and emotional reasons, many younger buyers in Europe see SUVs as the perfect choice for them.”

Millennials account for 24% of Europe’s adult population. The new survey shows one in four Millennials who intend to purchase a vehicle in the next year are considering an SUV. Industry wide, SUV sales in Europe are expected to increase from 20% of total passenger car sales in 2014 to 27% by 2020, according to industry analyst IHS.

The study of 5,000 adults in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK also found:

  • 54% of Millennials believe SUVs are better than any other type of car at going anywhere in city or countryside
  • 52% of Millennials believe SUVs are better at keeping them safe than other types of vehicle
  • 84% of Millennials believe SUVs have become more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly over the last five years
  • 52% of Millennials intending to buy an SUV consider them the only type of vehicle that delivers toughness as well as lifestyle, rational and emotional appeal in a single package

“There is a trend for consumers to seek one-stop solutions – whether it is the smartphone in their pocket that can double as a camera, media player, and torch – or the car on their driveway that offers a fuel-efficient commute and a versatile, and dependable way to accommodate the family on its weekend adventures,” de Waard said.

Ford is showing the European-specification Edge large SUV for the first time at Frankfurt Motor Show next week. Starting with that launch early next year, the automaker plans to introduce five new vehicles in the next three years that will compete in the SUV and crossover 'space'. It also will introduce updated versions of the EcoSport small SUV and Kuga mid-sized SUV this year. It is targeting sales of 200,000 SUVs in Europe by 2016 – a 200% increase compared with 2013.