The growing popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in the company car market risks fleets missing cost and emissions targets, according to Chevin Fleet Solutions.

The fleet management software company stated that SUVs typically have 10-20% lower fuel economy and higher emissions than hatchbacks or saloons, and warned of a shortage of alternative fuel options like hybrids and electric vehicles.

SUVs have become the best-selling type of car in the UK and Italy, and Dataforce has predicted they will overtake the compact car as the biggest part of fleet sales in Europe within 2 years.

Ashley Sowerby, managing director of Chevin, said: “Many drivers like SUVs…this puts a lot of pressure on human resource departments and fleets to add these vehicles to their choice lists.”

“SUVs are heavier and less aerodynamic than their conventional car equivalents and, as a result, tend to use more fuel and have high emissions.”

Sowerby added that this creates a conflict, and some fleets are forced to choose between attracting and retaining staff and adhering to cost and emissions standards.

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“In industries where attracting and retaining the right staff is tricky, there can be pressure to loosen targets, especially given the scarcity of hybrid and electric SUVs within the market,” he said.

“It certainly seems that the popularity of SUVs presents a genuine conundrum for responsible fleets. It’s clear that the industry needs to focus on how to achieve best fleet efficiency amidst this trend.”