Americans are dumping SUVs faster than you can say ‘jack rabbit’. For the first time ever more 4 cylinder cars are being bought than 6 cylinder vehicles. The industry itself sees this as a significant turning point.
As Dave Strom of South Boston, Virginia says,
“I had to smile the other day when I filled my tank for $18 and the guy next to me had a Ford Explorer and the pump was clicking past $80,” said Strom, a 66-year-old retired manager of a Chevrolet dealership.
Highlights from the IHT article;
* In what industry analysts are calling a first, about one in five vehicles sold in the United States was a compact or subcompact car during April, based on monthly sales data released Thursday. Almost a decade ago, when sport utility vehicles were at their peak of popularity, only one in every eight vehicles sold was a small car.
* “The era of the truck-based large SUVs is over,” said Michael Jackson, chief executive of AutoNation, the largest auto retailer in the United States.
* In another first, fuel-sipping four-cylinder engines surpassed six-cylinder models in popularity in April. “It’s easily the most dramatic segment shift I have witnessed in the market in my 31 years here,” said George Pipas, chief sales analyst for Ford Motor.
* Sales of Toyota’s subcompact Yaris increased 46 percent, and Honda’s tiny Fit had a record month. Ford’s compact Focus model jumped 32 percent in April from a year earlier. All those models are rated at more than 30 miles per gallon for highway driving.
* There are some indications that the trend toward smaller vehicles will reduce fuel use. In California, motorists bought 4 percent less gasoline in January than they did the year before, a drop of more than 58 million gallons, according to the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey. “That is an incredible year-over-year drop,” said Tom Kloza, the organization’s chief oil analyst. “Some of it clearly has to do with changes in the vehicle fleet.”
* “This shift appears to be a permanent situation,” said Jesse Toprak, chief industry analyst for Edmunds.com, an auto information Web site. “These new products have become more fashionable, just like small, fuel-efficient cars are in Europe.” The low prices on small cars are also luring consumers who are tightening their belts in an economic downturn.
* “If you look at where the automakers are putting their resources into now, just about everything is going into small cars,” said Tom Libby, senior market analyst for J.D. Power.
The Americans have finally realised that burning heaps of gasoline just ain’t smart or cool. Amen!