SUVs Still One-In-Four New Vehicles Sold In America; Carmakers Introducing More Fuel-Efficient Models
NEW YORK, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite pain at the pump, 56 percent of
Americans refuse to downsize and will stick with the wheels they've got,
according to a new survey by consultant AutoPacific. "We haven't turned into
wimps overnight," AutoPacific's George Peterson tells Newsweek in the October
10 issue (on newsstands Monday, October 3). "People still like a tough looking
With gas at $3 a gallon, hybrid sales have soared while behemoths like the
Chevy Suburban have dropped dramatically, reports Detroit Bureau Chief Keith
Naughton. But hybrids represent just 1.3 percent of the U.S. auto market. The
real action remains in SUVs, which still account for one-in-four new vehicles
sold in America.
What has changed is that Americans are downsizing from XL models to more
modest SUVs, like the H3 and "crossovers" built on smooth-riding car chassis.
Chrysler is doubling its SUV offerings over the next three years, including
the radical Dodge Nitro model coming next year with flared fenders and fuel-
friendly V6. GM is counting on a new crop of full-bodied SUVs coming next year
to drive its comeback.
By 2010, the number of SUVs on the market will increase 27 percent to 109
models, while just 44 different hybrids will be offered by then, according to
auto researcher J.D. Power. By the end of this decade, J.D. Power predicts
hybrids will account for less than 4 percent of total auto sales. SUVs,
meanwhile, will grow from 24.6 percent to 26.6 percent. "For hybrids to have a
double digit market share," says J.D. Power's Jeff Schuster, "we'd essentially
have to run out of fossil fuel."
Basically, this reenforces the point I've been making all along.
Hybrids just won't cut it for the muscle enthusiast.
If we want to make a realistic move toward a sustainable fuel economy, diesels are the only option for that 56% of car-buyers.
The U.S. needs to recognize this and initiate more incentives for a biodiesel infrastructure along with the current push for hybrids (which should include diesel hybrids) and hydrogen technology.
There's not one solution, but that combination represents the best coverage of the various different car-buying mindsets.