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Bye-bye SUVs!

by asdf Tue Oct 4th, 2005 at 10:47:44 AM EST

This is relevant in Europe too...from the diaries ~ whataboutbob

Americans are wasteful users of petroleum, that's not under debate. But how fast, in the presence of increasing oil prices, could America change her tune?

"John Mathews of Universal Toyota in San Antonio has witnessed the day that auto industry executives in Detroit said would never come.

"We are seeing people who are driving $40,000 Suburbans trading them in on $15,000 Corollas," said Mathews, who manages a dealership in a state where big trucks and sport-utility vehicles rule the roads. "The last 30 days have been unlike anything I've ever seen in the automotive industry."

"Nationally, Toyota Motor Corp. officials say the Corolla, one of the Japanese company's smallest and most fuel-efficient passenger cars, had 8.7 days' supply of inventory at the end of last week. In the industry, inventory of 50 to 60 days' supply is seen as adequate."

East coast liberals are slowly moving away from their SUVs, too. But where's the real action?

"The trend isn't as pronounced [in DC] as in truck-dominated Texas where people who have been buying trucks for years are rushing to get out of them. "Most of the time you come in here and you might have 80 Corollas to choose from," said Dave Reynolds, general sales manager of Jack Taylor's Alexandria Toyota. "Now you come in and you have 20 to choose from."

How long will it take to sideline all those giant SUVs, and where will they go?


Old cars are crushed and turned into new cars. But usually they spend a decade or so as "junkers" or "winter cars" first...
by asdf on Sun Oct 2nd, 2005 at 12:37:17 PM EST
"The last Ford Excursion, a super-sized sport-utility vehicle, rolled off the assembly line Friday as the automaker shifts its focus to producing more fuel-efficient vehicles. Sales of Ford's three largest SUVs -- including the Expedition and Explorer -- fell by more than 24 percent in the first three months of 2005."
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-shadowbox0105oct01,0,6790514.story?coll=orl-business-hea dlines
by asdf on Sun Oct 2nd, 2005 at 12:54:49 PM EST
It has always ticked me off that the mileagel limits were skirted by the SUV and light trucks.  This is a very good thing for energy and the environment.  Not a good thing for Detroit, who have not kept up on autos and particularly fuel efficiency, IMHO.
by wchurchill on Sun Oct 2nd, 2005 at 02:22:32 PM EST
Market forces are being allowed to do their job, finally (at least to some extent).

When Americans are faced with more of the actual cost of gas, they're willing to consider more sensible autos.

Witness Toyota beginning sales of the subsubcompact Yaris in the States next spring. That was one vehicle I thought they'd never bother bringing over, but now they're all set to.

by Texmandie on Sun Oct 2nd, 2005 at 05:32:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, market forces are late sometimes. Do we always have to wait to face inevitable?
by das monde on Sun Oct 2nd, 2005 at 08:22:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
no, we don't always have to wait.  but this is a situation covered in basic economic textbooks.  It should have been regulated in some way--perhaps additional tax on fuels, or higher gas mileage standards.  but it takes political will to do some of these things.  In this case, applying CAFE standards to SUV would have really hurt Detroit's auto industry, as they were losing market share in auto's, making it up in light trucks and SUV's.  And their congressmen prevented such actions being taken.

economics and good policies are required to get to the right answer.

by wchurchill on Mon Oct 3rd, 2005 at 12:22:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

The sales haven't completely flatlined yet, so there are still some new ones being added to the roads.

The sad thing is that a car has an engineering lifetime of about 10 years or so.  A 3-year old SUV still has a lot of life in it if it weren't for the fact that it was a gas hog.  If you crush it, then it is a loss - both economically and from an environmental point of view in the sense that you need to replace it with something else.  Well, technically you could argue that it shouldn't be replaced, but folks who drive SUVs aren't exactly prime candidates for going without.

In the past months I sit back and refect on the world situation, and I am really shocked at how materialistic we have become.  If you look at a car in the 3rd world, it simply wouldn't sell in the U.S.  Doesn't have satellite radio, navigation system, heated leather seats, on-star, or a list of other things.  When I was a kid, our cars had hand-crank windows and vinyl seats (and for that matter we only had one car for the family).

by ericy on Tue Oct 4th, 2005 at 09:48:12 AM EST
Basically the same news appears today in the New York Times

SUVs lag in sales

I'm betting we're going to see regular under $2 a gallon again," he said, but added that "what we have is volatility and the volatility may continue.

It seems Big Detroit is still betting on a two-three dollar a gallon for next year thanks to new good-quality oil input  ( I guess from the Caspian, Nigeria and Angola if I did not read jerome wrongly this morning).

It is a risky bet. I do not know the exact numbers,do they know it? How can they control the decline in other fields, specially Russia. I do not see it as a good bet...may be it is not a bet , just wishful thinking.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Oct 4th, 2005 at 10:30:38 AM EST
I can confirm some small part of this. My sister, who lives in Texas, traded in a late 90's Escalade for an '03 Ford Taurus. I haven't found out what the amenities and the mileage were on the respective vehicles, but she was definitely looking to ditch the beast for something more efficient.
by toad on Tue Oct 4th, 2005 at 09:36:24 PM EST

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