End SUV sponsorship of Wimbledon

Drop SUV sponsorship of Wimbledon

On June 24th, Adfree Cities joined friends from the Road Danger Reduction Forum to deliver a letter to the Wimbledon organising committee asking that they drop Range Rover as the official vehicle of the tournament and end their sponsorship deal with Jaguar Land Rover (JLR).

As part of the sponsorship deal, JLR has provided a fleet of Range Rovers and Range Rover Sports to ferry players, teams and staff around the tournament. SUVs emblazoned with the Wimbledon logo are now a regular sight on the roads around the courts.

In the letter we request that the committee – known as the AELTC – in future go to greater lengths to support the transport of players, their teams and event officials by healthier and sustainable means, and refuse to enter into sponsorship deals that promote SUVs.

Why target sponsorship?

Demand for SUVs is heavily driven by marketing and advertising. High profile sponsorships deals like the one between JLR and Wimbledon associate SUVs with luxury, Britishness and traditional values. In reality, big SUVs are a source of luxury emissions, clogging the streets of our towns and cities and leaving a legacy of increased road danger. 

Sponsorship has always been a vehicle for polluting companies to whitewash their public image. But just as we would no longer expect to see sponsorship by cigarette companies, we should be equally appalled by sponsorship from harmful and polluting products like SUVs. 

The endorsement of these vehicles through partnerships with Wimbledon drives an aspirational culture which is filling our streets with ever larger vehicles, at the expense of space for other road users, road safety and wider climate goals.

A Land Rover Defender with a Wimbledon flag in the background
The streets around Wimbledon are full of SUVs, like this Land Rover Defender, the previous official vehicle of Wimbledon.

The problem with SUVs

SUVs are typically bigger and heavier than traditional cars, posing a greater danger to other road users, taking up road space that could be used for public transport or active travel, and are worse for the environment. 

The Range Rover epitomises all these problems. With a kerb weight of up to three tonnes for certain models, the Range Rover is well over twice as heavy as a traditional small car like a Ford Fiesta. Since 2018, the average width of a Range Rover has increased by over 20 cm, making them too large for many urban on-street parking spaces.

Greater size and weight necessitates more fuel and higher emissions. The non-electric Range Rover’s tailpipe CO2 emissions are double that of EU standards. Even electric SUVs are no solution as their weight causes them to emit up to eight percent more PM2.5 particulate pollution from tyre and brake wear than their fossil-fuelled counterparts.

In the UK, SUVs now make up 60% of new car sales, up from 19% just 10 years ago. The picture is even starker in the US, where over four fifths of new vehicles sold are SUVs, with the consequence that road deaths are now increasing even as vehicles themselves become safer.

What can we do?

We call on the AELTC to drop the SUV Range Rover as the official vehicle partner and to work with an organisation that can support the transport of players, their teams and event officials with healthier and more sustainable means, including public transport and more appropriately sized battery electric cars.

Beyond this, we want to see an end to all advertising for SUVs. Councils in Sheffield and Edinburgh have already taken this important step. Now it’s time for the government to do the same.

Write to your (new) MP using our easy tool and call for the high carbon ad ban we need.

Published by