Big engines stay popular in U.S. despite gasoline price spike.

Discussion in 'In the News' started by xcel, Apr 25, 2006.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    U.S. still buying vehicles with gas-guzzling engines at an unchanged rate …

    Reuters - April 24, 2006

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    DETROIT - U.S. consumers bought vehicles with big, gas-guzzling engines at an unchanged rate in the first three months of the year despite rising gas prices, according to a survey released on Monday.

    In the first quarter, about 25 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States were equipped with eight-cylinder engines, according to sales trends analyzed by the Power Information Network, a data tracking service of consulting firm J.D. Power and Associates.

    That market share level for V-8s - typically the most powerful engines used in trucks and large SUVs -- was unchanged from the average of 25 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Power Information Network.

    The market share of six- and four-cylinder engine-vehicles have also not budged in the face of higher gasoline prices, now above $3 per gallon in many U.S. markets, J.D. Power said.

    Six-cylinder engines represented just over 40 percent of new-vehicle sales over the past nine months, while four-cylinder engines have accounted for just over 30 percent, the firm said.

    If that trend holds it would be positive news for General Motors, which has staked its product strategy this year to the launch of a new line of SUVs, including the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon, powered by V-8 engines.

    "So far, the perceived gas price increases have not had any discernible impact on new-vehicle buying patterns, at least with regard to the size of the engine," said Tom Libby, an industry analyst at the Power Information Network.

    Despite fears of a consumer backlash against SUVs in the face of higher oil prices, few analysts expect U.S. drivers will defect in large numbers to smaller cars featuring four-cylinder engines this year.

    Rather, most forecast gains for crossovers, which are built on car platforms, and even luxury sedans at the expense of the SUV market.

    Those marginal shifts in demand are widely tracked since the overall U.S. auto market is expected to be flat at best this year at just under 17 million vehicles sold.

    "Gas prices are certainly becoming a popular dinner and water cooler discussion topic, but consumers appear to be conditioned to prices at current levels," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power.
     
  2. tigerhonaker

    tigerhonaker Platinum Contributor

    I can tell you that the larger vehicles with the bigger engines are selling where I work.

    Business has picked up and it is not because of selling small energy efficient vehicles where I am.
     
  3. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    Half the guys I work with drive full-size trucks or SUVs with V8s. One guy got his truck as recently as last fall to replace his aging GTI. Why he didn't get a new GTI instead is completely beyond me. These guys have been talking about nothing but gas prices for at least a couple of weeks, acknowledging that there are things that they can do to mitigate the effects. E.g. carpooling, stringing trips together, riding the bike instead, etc. What it boils down to is that it's not a matter of not getting it; these guys realize that their decisions impact their wallets. The issue is that they can't connect that realization with their purchasing habits. We are in essence a nation of lobotomized consumers.
     

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