SUVs And Light Trucks Make Comeback

Cheap gas, great deals, and winter weather resulted in SUV and light trucks resuming their dominance in vehicle sales in December, climbing to 51% of all sales, as Prius sales dipped 48% in November.
January 2, 2009, 7am PST | Irvin Dawid
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[Correspondent's Note: An earlier edition of this article inspired NYT Columnist Tom Friedman to write "the second biggest decision Barack Obama has to make - the first is deciding the size of the stimulus - is whether to increase the federal gasoline tax or impose an economy-wide carbon taxon the urgency of raising gas taxes"]

"Trucks and SUVs will outsell cars in December (composing 51% of sales), according to researchers at the automotive Website Edmunds.com, something that hasn't happened since February.

Meanwhile, the forecast finds that sales of hybrid vehicles are expected to be way down."

"Despite all the public discussion of fuel efficiency, SUVs and trucks are the industry's biggest sellers right now as a remarkable number of buyers seem to be compelled by three factors:
• great deals,
• low gas prices and
• winter weather," commented Michelle Krebs, Senior Editor of Edmunds' AutoObserver.com."

"The term 'SUV', in this case, includes only truck-based vehicles like the Ford Explorer... not car-based crossover vehicles like the Ford Escape. Truck-based SUVs have a separate frame and they are designed for heavier hauling and towing. They generally weigh more and have lower fuel economy than crossover vehicles."

In November, Prius sales were already down 48% compared to the same month in 2007. Prius prices are also expected to be much lower, said Edmunds.com sales analyst Jesse Topraks."

Thanks to Thomas Friedman

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Published on Monday, December 29, 2008 in CNNMoney.com
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