Autocar notebook: the most 4x4s by far

40 land rover defender

Our reporters also get Alpine F1’s candid view on one of last year’s back markers

It’s official: SUVs are now more popular than they have ever been. New figures from industry analyst JATO Dynamics reveals high-riders took a whopping 49.7% of the market in Europe last month, with 402,900 units registered across the region.

Other stand-out stats from January’s registration figures include an 18% share for electrified cars, a 27% year-on-year decline for diesel cars and a whopping 24% overall share of the market for the Volkswagen Group alone.

It’s important to note, however, the market was down 28% on pre-pandemic January 2020 as a result of the chips crisis, and Swdeden was the only country in Europe to record an uptick in registrations.

Haas to hand it to ’em

People should be “more cognisant of the fact that whatever we’re doing in Formula 1, even if [a team] is last, it’s still phenomenal”, according to Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi.

Taking long-time backmarker Haas as an example (and excusing the amusing irony in his French pronunciation of its name), he told Autocar: “People say ‘bah, Haas is crap’, but for 99% of the engineers of the world, it’s one of the most fantastic accomplishments ever.

“It’s like Nasa on wheels, combining the best of engines, suspension, gearbox and aerodynamics. It’s incredible, and everyone else is as well.”

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