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New Survey Says Trucks and SUVs are Too Big, More Buyers Want Regulation

by | April 1, 2024

SUVs and pickup trucks have rapidly become an enduring presence on America’s roadways but a new survey appears to show that a growing number of consumers think that they are too big and that automakers should regulate how big they are as well as design them with pedestrian safety in mind. 

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 Is there such a thing as being too big? 

YouGov survey sheds light on the way truck and SUV buyers think.

The survey from the data research group YouGov might seem like a glaring contradiction to the enduring love affair that Americans have with large pickups and trucks but look beneath the surface and you’ll see some interesting data that suggests not all is rosy in this complex buying relationship. 

For example, 27% of those surveyed believe that car makers should voluntarily regulate the size of the vehicles they design and place a stronger focus on pedestrian safety. This increase in size is seen across all sectors of the automotive market and is often partly due to adding extra safety features and new technologies that require the vehicle to grow. That’s evident when you compare vehicles side by side, with a 1990’s era Nissan Sentra for instance being noticeably smaller and different than the current generation one. 

An additional 32% of those polled say that the government should step in to impose regulations but that might end up being a double-edged sword in the long run since any new regulations might cause the price of SUVs and trucks to go up especially if the companies are forced to use expensive technology to help these models comply with any future regulations.  


Customer perceptions play key role in the buying experience 

Customer perceptions still driving force in auto purchases

The survey also addressed the perceptions that customers may have in their minds when buying a new vehicle. A section of the survey says that half of truck buyers believe that trucks are safer for occupants than smaller vehicles. This plays into an enduring belief that American buyers have had for the past several decades with the adage “Bigger is Better” often being a potent motivator for these buyers to skip smaller vehicles when going for their next vehicle purchase. Dealerships have been more than eager to encourage this belief too with promotions and advertising often focusing on trucks and SUVs versus smaller offerings. 

At the same time, half of those polled also said that trucks and SUVs are more dangerous for other vehicles on the road as well as pedestrians and cyclists. While the bigger dimensions of trucks and SUVs do create a greater risk of injury for pedestrians and occupants in smaller vehicles due to the larger crash area they have, it’s important to note that many of these incidents often involve another factor such as distracted driving, drinking behind the wheel, or some other reason. 

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 Don’t expect change anytime soon

Look for large trucks and SUVs to continue generating profits for auto manufacturers.

While YouGov’s survey is an interesting glimpse into the psychology and buying behavior of truck and SUV buyers, don’t expect things to change anytime soon. Most buyers still want a vehicle that has more of everything: safety, style, technology, and performance. To accommodate that, a vehicle must grow and change to adapt to these needs and more.   


  1. Let the consumer market decide. That will drive (pun intended) models offered on the market. Keep government out of it. Last thing we need is MORE government regulation over consumer choices.

  2. I have no confidence that this ‘survey’ is even close to accurate as presented. Who in their right mind would want someone else, much the government, to decide what is available on the market. If OEMs can’t sell what they offer, they’ll soon change their products or go out of business. It’s called CAPITALISM.


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