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Gas Prices Reduce Sales of Full-Size SUVs


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High Gas Prices are Boosting Sales of Smaller Sport Utilities

Environmentalists are cheering the world over with news that North America’s largest sport utility vehicles have been slumping in sales over recent months. Obviously the price at the pump is hitting home, with less potential customers willing to take the risk of being curbed with an empty gas tank and no budget to fill it.

Which SUVs were hit the hardest? Based on research data accumulated through Autodata Corp., Ford’s Expedition was hit the worst with a 34 percent decline in sales, while the same automaker’s Lincoln Navigator dropped 25 percent. Chevy’s behemoth Suburban found 21 fewer homes as well.

Does this mean SUV sales are also plunging downward? Not exactly. Overall, the sport utility market was up by 2.5 percent in April, compared to the same month in 2003, with smaller SUVs taking the majority of the lost sales. The biggest winner was Saturn’s VUE with a 59 percent increase, but in all fairness the compact ute never got off to a good start. Chevrolet’s Blazer is still being made by the way, with sales improving by 55 percent, while Ford Escape deliveries were upped by 49 percent.

Whether or not the high fuel costs will make an even greater mark on the automotive landscape than these most recent trends will remain to be seen, although it’s fairly safe to assume that if fuel prices stay as high as they are for any length of time, or even worse if they escalate yet further as recent reports have speculated, more compact vehicles will be sold.

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