Stereotype of 'Chelsea tractor' reflects reality of urban SUV sales, says report
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Figures show that 75% of SUVS were bought by people living in towns and cities
The stereotype of the Chelsea tractor, the derogatory term used to describe the tendency of the London middle classes to use 4x4 vehicles for the school run, is based on reality, according to new figures.

Promoted by carmakers and advertisers as a vehicle that takes you back to nature, new data shows that SUVs, which produce much greater CO2 emissions than most other cars, are most popular in affluent urban areas such as Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham and Westminster.

Three-quarters of the 360,000 SUVs sold in 2019 in the UK were bought by people living in towns and cities, the report from the New Weather Institute and climate action charity Possible shows.

The royal borough of Kensington and Chelsea is in the top three districts for the sale of large SUVs, said the report. More Range Rovers were sold in Kensington and Chelsea than anywhere else; with one in 10 new cars registered in the borough belonging to the Land Rover brand of SUV.

The report accuses advertisers and the car industry of using persuasive but dishonest messaging to push the sale of polluting vehicles that damage the environment.

Because SUVs are bigger, heavier and less aerodynamic than other vehicles, they produce more CO2 than similar-sized cars – in 2019 average emissions of petrol SUVs were…
Sandra Laville
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