$4 Gas? So What? Sales of SUVs Up 25%

According to Bankrate sales of SUVs are up 25% from this time last year. Wait, weren’t we all buying Priuses because we can’t afford $4 gas? Nope.

A combination of factory incentives from GM, Ford and Dodge and the fact that American families enjoy the convenience of a car that can haul 5 people and a load of crap from Costco has kept sales of SUVs strong. From Bankrate:

Recent sales figures, however, suggest the American love affair with sport utility vehicles has not abated. What’s more, sales of highly efficient sedans — such as the Toyota Prius hybrid — have slacked off to the point that Toyota is offering incentives on the Prius.

Sales of large SUVs actually rose nearly 6 percent in the first quarter of 2007, and in April were up 25 percent from last year.

GMC’s Yukon XL saw sales rise 72 percent in April compared with a year earlier while its cousin, the Chevrolet Suburban, saw sales rise 38 percent for the same period. Apparently, having to spend more than $100 to fill the tanks on these icons of SUV excess isn’t that much of a worry for many folks.

Bankrate concludes that if you tell an American that they saved $10,000 on an SUV, they don’t mind paying for the gas. —MEGHANN MARCO

Driving for Dollars [Bankrate]
(Photo: Aaron Gustafson)

Comments

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  1. B says:

    Yea, but $10,000 dollars buys a lot of gas, even at 4 dollars a gallon.

  2. iMike says:

    These are the last days of the American Empire.

  3. quagmire0 says:

    If only the majority of SUV owners were ACTUALLY carrying 5 people and a load of stuff from Costco…..most of the time I just see ONE person in them, and maybe one kid all the way in the back….what a waste of space! :D

  4. gorckat says:

    @iMike: No doubt.

  5. Pelagius says:

    I can carry 4 people and load up the back of my shitty little Escort Wagon with beer and it gets 30 mpg.

  6. sonichghog says:

    Or maybee its just the family’s extra vehicle. We have a Chevy Uplander, its a minivan they call an SUV, Sport utility Van. It eats gas at 24mpg highway.

    But I commute with 2 other people to work each day in my economy car. A dodge Neon, it gest 33 Mpg on the highway, and my Wifes Daily driver, a Kid Spectra gets 35Mpg highway.

    When we buy again in a few years, we will probably get an SUV again, and 2 economy cars. (probably electric ones if we can)

  7. acambras says:

    Parking in 2 spots like that — that person’s begging to get keyed.

  8. quagmire0 says:

    What you also have to take into account is cost of ownership. While one car might start out cheaper, it may cost you in the long run when it comes to repairs, upkeep, etc. Also, the cost of gas continues to rise, thus your savings starts to dwindle.

    I can *almost* understand having this as the ‘extra’ vehicle, but isn’t it a huge waste of money paying monthly payments on a vehicle that sits idle until the weekend?

  9. acambras says:

    @quagmire0:

    Don’t forget insurance

    (which will come in handy after someone keys the icon of conspicuous consumption for taking up 2 spots)

  10. Charles Duffy says:

    @quagmire0: If you’re buying extra cars, you’d better not need to make payments.

  11. dip_cone says:

    It’s just such a North American thing. People like safety and the utility of all that space even if they never, ever use it. Every time I see a family with 2 kids and a minivan I shake my head. Personally I’m fine if they quadruple the price of gas, besides the fact that I carpool my little hatchback diesel has enough room for a family of 5 (not teenagers, fine) and gets 45mpg you just have to actually pack things correctly or think about what you’re doing. There was a point these cars didn’t exist and people got along fine.

    This is the kinda thing where we should take a lead from Europe and tax the gas and tax the size of the engine and people would realize they can get by without these behemoths built for families of 9.

  12. quagmire0 says:

    @Charles Duffy: Yep, that makes sense to you and me, but I’m sure there’s people that still do that. :)

  13. Buran says:

    @sonichghog: Doesn’t hold true considering most of them are tooling around with just one person in them.

  14. Buran says:

    @crycry: SUVs are not safer. An accident involving one is far likelier to involve serious injury or death. Spouting the party line doesn’t make it true.

  15. Buran says:

    @acambras: Or someone boxing in the driver’s door with their little compact that gets twice the mileage of that behemoth.

  16. Buran says:

    @B: There’s also a lot more pollution being created and wear and tear on the roads. Guess who pays for THOSE?

  17. ganzhimself says:

    I drive a ’02 Chevy Impala, I get 30 MPG and can haul myself and 4 others relatively comfortably, and it has a huge trunk… I can fit more into that damn trunk than I could in the cargo hold of my Durang w/ the 3rd installed and occupied… Of course 98% of the time it was just me driving the beast, with no passengers. The Durango got 18MPG Highway, but only if you were driving with the wind. I sold it the moment it cost more than $70 to fill up the tank. Being able to drive less than 400 miles for $70+ in gas was insane.

  18. ganzhimself says:

    @Buran:

    The saftey is perceived… And when you’re driving a huge SUV you’re not really thinking about other drivers on the road, since you’re now the “King of the Road.” If you’ve ever seen a small car get T-Boned by a SUV it’s worse than a scene from a horror movie. The SUV is fine, but because of the higher bumper and center of gravity, the car has absolutely no chance.

  19. acambras says:

    @ganzhimself:

    Another thing I’ve noticed up here in sunny Connecticut — SUV drivers tend to get awfully confident driving in bad weather. When there’s a blizzard and all the people with common sense are hunkering down at home with fireplaces and remotes, these asshats are out driving around. I guess they figure since they have 4WD and ginormous vehicles, nothing will happen to them (alas, I don’t think they think about the “little people” in little cars).

    Oddly enough, I see 4WD vehicles spinning out a lot more often than non-4WD vehicles — probably because their overconfidence makes them drive faster than they should in winter conditions.

  20. LBSurfer says:

    I will surely be in the minority here, but I own an Explorer and thoroughly enjoy it. I bought it about four years ago when gas prices were still ‘normal,’ but still drive it today. Granted, I’m driving my wife’s Civic to work now as she only has a 25-mile roundtrip commute and mine is 40+ miles each way.

    The point is that I just enjoy driving a truck. We don’t have any kids (yet), but we do have two large dogs. I own a home as well. There are time when the big cargo area comes in handy (ie, I’m not throwing two full size dogs in the trunk). Other than that, I just enjoy driving a truck over driving a car.

    Has it ever occurred to those of you that loathe SUV’s that the reason some of us purchase them is simply personal preference – the same reason you choose sedan A over sedan B?

  21. BillyMumphry says:

    @Buran:

    And spouting the contra line doesn’t either. What does far more likely even mean? And for whom? Your statement seems to imply safety of the SUV driver is diminished while, even if “far more likely” holds, it is more probable the injury is increased on the other vehicles involved, which really only bolsters the safety claims of the SUV community.

  22. Dancing Milkcarton says:

    Has it ever occurred to those of you that loathe SUV’s that the reason some of us purchase them is simply personal preference – the same reason you choose sedan A over sedan B?

    LBSurfer +1

  23. ganzhimself says:

    @ganzhimself:

    You nailed it. SUV drivers tend to over drive their abilities and their vehicle’s handling capabilities in bad weather. Sure, that 4 wheel drive is nice, but you can still easily lose control of your vehicle if you exceed safe speeds for your vehicle on the highway. Most of those morons also don’t realize the damage they’re doing to the 4WD system when they drive like that. When I had the Durango I always paid attention to the road conditions and drove appropriately, 4WD or not, that thing handled like crap in the snow, even with new snow tires.

  24. ganzhimself says:

    @acambras: See my last post. I guess I messed that one up pretty bad with the reply.

  25. Kaz says:

    acambras –

    I like in sunny Connecticut, too. And I drive my (hybrid) SUV (carefully) in CT’s so-called “blizzards,” but that’s because I lived in Buffalo for 26 years and know how to drive in snow.

    I find the most difficult thing about driving in snow in CT is that CT natives have no idea how to drive in snow (and yes, I agree, a lot of them drive SUVs).

    I guess my point is not to lump all SUV drivers together. Some of us know they are not accident- or injury-proof and drive accordingly.


  26. @BillyMumphry

    Umm, no it doesn’t. Because the majority of collisions are single-vehicle collisions. And those SUVs roll over like a puppy threatened with a newspaper.

    Despite the bill of goods the American public has purchased, big honkin’ trucks are more dangerous to drive.

    If you’d like, I can bring in the research guns or the empirical evidence guns. The research is easy to find. As for the empirical, well… I’m a professional firefighter and the rollover collisions I personally make are almost all SUV and pickup trucks.

    Does rollover=death? Not always. But it sure doesn’t help.

  27. Oh, and I forgot to add…

    I have no problem with SUV or pickup truck drivers. Honestly. Drive whatever you want. I’m pretty laissez-fare when it comes to your safety and economic well-being. If you want to spend your days filling your tank over and over before you roll down an embankment, who am I to stop you?

    Sort of the way I feel about motorcycle riders. It’s what we in the industry call “job security.”

  28. RTFMate says:

    I have read the article and I am still confused by the lack of sales numbers.

    They say 72% for the Yukon XL, but never stated how many were sold.

    For all we know the Yukon XL could have sold 100 last year and 172 this year.

    Also they seem to be comparing one specific model and not the Yukon fleet.

    Oh well

  29. Mojosan says:

    I don’t drink beer.

    Let’s discuss how much energy is wasted brewing, transporting, and cooling beer. And lets not forget the energy wasted in manufacturing cans, bottles, and paper goods. Glass manufacturing consumes huge amounts of energy.

    Then we can discuss why you wear wasteful clothing instead of potato sacks.


    Please, get off your high horse and let people drive what they want to drive.

  30. acambras says:

    @Kaz:

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to say (or imply) that all CT SUV drivers are reckless. What I’m trying to say is that most of the drivers that I’ve seen get themselves in trouble by being overconfident are 4WD drivers.

    As for the “blizzards,” I’m a southern girl, so CT’s “blizzards” are plenty for me. I didn’t learn to drive in snow/ice until the tender age of 32. When I moved here, I even considered getting an SUV to compensate for my lack of snow driving experience. But I realized that no type of vehicle can substitute for caution and common sense.

    Fortunately, I learned how to drive in snow/sleet/ice in my little car. With gas prices as high as they are in CT, I can’t afford to drive an SUV.

  31. Pi_Equals_3 says:

    Great picture!

    Shows how people who drive SUVs think they are special and can take up 2 parking spaces.
    I see that all the time with people who drive Escalades or Land Rovers. A bunch of assholes if you ask me!

    Back to the article: It doesn’t matter if gas was $7 a gallon. There are still consumers who will buy SUVs no matter what.

  32. mac-phisto says:

    @acambras: hehe. i live in nw conn & my commute to/from work is all steep hills & windy roads. 3 times last winter i had to stop for ditched SUVs to offer a ride or use of my phone. i always snicker a bit at the idea that i’m rescuing the driver of a 4WD in my FWD 93 honda accord 5-spd with all-seasonal toyos. there’s only 1 hill (in roxbury) that i can’t get up in that car.

  33. sonichghog says:

    Pi_Equals_3..Shows how people who drive SUVs think they are special and can take up 2 parking spaces……

    Looks like the SUV driver there just overcompensated for the guy that was parked in the spot next to him.

  34. Kaz says:

    @acambras:

    I will agree with you there – a 4 wheel drive is not a substitute for learning how to drive in the snow…

    So, being from the south, does that mean you are one of the people I see at Stop & Shop buying a week’s worth of groceries for one day’s worth of snow? :)

  35. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    I really don’t care if people drive an SUV. Just follow these simple rules..

    – Don’t whine about rising gas prices.
    – Don’t drive in the left lane. Ever.
    – Don’t park in the “compact” parking stalls.
    – Don’t drive your SUV like it’s a sports car, 100 MPH, weaving through traffic.
    – Use your mirrors to check for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians around you.

  36. zolielo says:

    Yesterday the national average for regular gasoline was $3.02 and is trending downward.

    Oh, Meghann…

  37. lindsaynagle says:

    Three years ago my parents got a $30,000 tax break for purchasing an Escalade. Something to do with the weight of the vehicle was such that it qualified as a farm vehicle and they got a huge tax credit.

    My Dad is always telling me that when the time comes, I should just go buy the biggest, heaviest car I can afford (I live in NYC and don’t have a car) because he believes that is the best way for me to stay safe on the road. I am sure there are a lot of people in this country who feel this way.

    And some who might not feel this way while they are single or don’t have kids. I am sure there are many folks out there that tow the eco-friendly line until Junior comes along and their primal instinct to defend their little bundle of joy from the world takes over and they start looking into Hummers.

  38. acambras says:

    @Kaz:
    So, being from the south, does that mean you are one of the people I see at Stop & Shop buying a week’s worth of groceries for one day’s worth of snow? :)

    Yep. :-)
    But I no longer don a hat and gloves and complain about how cold it is when the temperature dips below 50 degrees. ;-)

  39. kryx says:

    Gladwell addresses many points about SUVs in an article he wrote a few years ago. It’s still relevant to today.

    [www.gladwell.com]

  40. MMcNasby says:

    Is that picture of the douche-bag double-space hog from the Orange, CT Costco?

  41. bossco says:

    Statistics like this just prove the Americans just don’t care about the enviorment, or their kid’s future. Eventually the cheap gasoline will dry up and we all will pay the price and be forced to conserve.

  42. TechnoDestructo says:

    How is the resale value on SUVs these days? Every used car lot I see is overflowing with them. People buying used cars care about gas prices more than those buying new, I think. Anyhow, if the glut of used SUVs continues, I think resale might become part of people’s considerations when choosing whether to buy an SUV.

  43. TechnoDestructo says:

    @MMcNasby:

    He only parked that way because the Cavalier is over the line.

  44. ingridc says:

    I don’t mind the SUVs. More SUVs = more opportunities to tell them that they, like the SUV pictured above, park like assholes.

    :D

  45. adamondi says:

    #1 – There are a lot of retarded, selfish people who only think about themselves and the immediate future. These are the people who buy huge SUVs without any sort of need for them, because they can save $10,000 at purchase time. They don’t think at all about the impact that behemoth will have on everyone else around them throughout its product life time.

    #2 – Anyone who parks like that intentionally should have all four tires slashed and should be keyed. Anyone who parks like that accidentally and doesn’t immediately correct their mistake upon discovery deserves the same slashing and keying treatment.

    That is all.

  46. @kryx:

    Yes, I read that Gladwell article a few years ago, and it really stuck with me.

    I think of it often, literally, no kidding, as I’m cutting screaming and dying people out of their giant-ass SUVs.

  47. penarestel says:

    @Mojosan: Thank you for that perfect example of a Straw Man argument.

    @adamondi: #1 – There are a lot of retarded, selfish people who only think about themselves and the immediate future.

    Sadly you speak the truth.

  48. LBSurfer says:

    It often amazes me how many people can insult SUV owners and lump them into a group of ‘assholes’ without ever asking why they own it.

    Perhaps they own a boat or snowmobiles or dirtbikes and need a vehicle to tow them with. Are they supposed to ALSO buy a little 4-banger as a daily driver when not towing their toys? That’s just fiscally stupid if you ask me. Perhaps they own a home or do handyman work on the side and need the extra space for tools/supplies when working. Again, an additional daily driver is stupid. There’s tons of reasons that an SUV would help out in, but not be required all the time.

    And, unlike adamondi, I’ve actually listed a few and not been vague in my points.

    If any of you really believe that SUVs are the root of all evil and are the major catalyst of air pollution in the world, I truly feel bad for you.

    Hell, since large SUVs are primarily built by US automakers, isn’t the increase in sales of SUVs a good sign for the economy? We’re building vehicles here folks! It beats buying tin cans from Asia and having American workers unemployed.

  49. tschepsit says:

    My wife and I have both had tiny fuel-efficient vehicles since we learned to drive. Now that we have a kid and another on the way, I completely understand the need for an SUV. Safety laws these days pretty much require someone with 2+ kids to purchase a larger vehicle. We’ve still got one of those small cars, and my pregnant wife can’t drive it, because she can’t fit herself into the back to buckle our kid in, since his car seat is freaking huge. I have trouble buckling him in, and I’m a health nut who runs 40+ miles a week. I’m not saying that safety laws for kids are a bad thing, but there are financial and environmental consequences to them.

  50. whydidnt says:

    Wow, I never realized that consumerist was overrun with a bunch of intolerant, generalizing tree-huggers. Silly me, I thought it was a sight about how consumers could empower themselves and make good decisions.

    Seems from these comments, it’s about condoning random vandalism and insulting people you don’t know simply because of their choice in vehicle, without even considering their are often good reasons why someone would own an SUV, as pointed out in a few of the previous posts.

    Yes, I own one, no I don’t drive it every day. No, I don’t have a loan on it. Yes, I need the capacity and towing capability on occasion- that’s why I bought it. But just like if you want to drink, smoke or fart, I won’t tell you not too – you can have my SUV when you pry it from my cold dead hands!

  51. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Haha.. It’s funny when SUV owners get defensive about this subject. Just to point out, it is financially possible to have an SUV for fun and a compact car for daily commuting. Buy a used Civic. They go for under $3000. Insurance is dirt cheap. And if you list it as your primary vehicle and your SUV as a recreational vehicle, your total insurance premium will go down.

    But who cares, it’s your money. You can buy and drive whatever you want. Just remember to stay out of the left lane! Thanks. :-)

  52. Trai_Dep says:

    I think rising insecurity of a shrinking middle class, people turning from normally fit to being out of shape lard-butts and people largely losing power in the face of monolithic corporations has a role, too. Especially with the shrill talk-radio/cable TV types hyping their victimhood.

    Basically a bunch of powerless, small-dicked, losing-traction-economically blowhards overcompensating by buying a “manly” steamroller car.

    Minus a VERY small minority of people who actually need them, of course.

    Gives me giggles every time I see them rolled over on the side of the road, or taking fifteen minutes filling up at the gas station though.

  53. itsjos says:

    i wont even get into how the government makes it appealing for people to purchase suvs… but its like people dont even care, or even notice that gas is $4 a gallon, its crazy… i see jeeps, suburbans and hummers lined up at the gas station to pump their 30 gallon tanks full of 4$ a gallon gas, the hummer dealerships lot is empty… while the slightly smaller more fuel efficent cars collect pollen on the dealers lots…

  54. Trai_Dep says:

    @kryx: wow, what an excellent article. You guys should read.

    For me, the money quote is on the first page. This isn’t from tree-hugging, latte-sipping lefties, it’s from the auto industry execs that know more about SUVs, that market and those that buy SUVs than anyone around.

    [The author] brilliantly captures the mixture of bafflement and contempt that many auto executives feel toward the customers who buy their SUVs.

    Fred J. Schaafsma, a top engineer for General Motors, says, “Sport-utility owners tend to be more like ‘I wonder how people view me,’ and are more willing to trade off flexibility or functionality to get that.”

    Internal industry market research concluded that [SUV owners] tend to be insecure, vain, self-centered, and self-absorbed, who are frequently nervous about their marriages, and who lack confidence in their driving skills.

    (from High and Mighty, by Keith Bradsher)

    So sure, I’m biased and I snicker. But by the gods, the guys whose bread is buttered by SUVs, who create SUVs, who convince people to buy SUVs have similar disparaging contempt for SUV drivers.

    Feel suckered yet, guys?

  55. Jesse in Japan says:

    This is why I will never, ever buy a car manufactured in America.

  56. campero says:

    What pisses me off the most about this article is the sucker in the picture taking two parking spots. AARRGGHHH!!

  57. lonelymaytagguy says:

    I used to feel guilty driving an SUV, that is until the day I parked my RAV4 between an Escalade and a Hummer.

  58. synergy says:

    I don’t know where that is, but I live in Mammoth SUV country aka Texas and I’ve been seeing a lot more Hondas, Toyotas, and other small-car manufacturers on the road. Especially a lot more Priuses. I’m glad because I have a Civic and I can FINALLY see over the vehicles in front of me or to the side of me when I need to make a turn or pull out of a space.

  59. justelise says:

    People need to stop lumping all of the SUVs together in one class. There are definitely two classes of SUVs — full sized and small/crossover. The truth is that the smaller ones (RAV4, Escape, etc) have better gas mileage than a lot of large sedans, minivans, and older cars that are on the road, but they get a bad rap because they are classified as SUVs. Since the small SUVs also have larger tires, a sturdier frame, and a tough suspension made to go (slightly) offroad, they also require a lot less money in overall maintenance over time because they can take more abuse. People need to realize that their 10 year old out of tune Crown Victoria with improperly inflated tires is going to consume a lot more gas.

    I drive one of these small SUVs, and initially I have to say it was not my first choice. I moved to Florida and after trying to drive in some of the wicked flash downpours, navigating roads that had partially washed out, and having to drive on the roads in Florida after the wicked series of hurricanes we had a few years ago, I don’t think I would drive anything else. Would I buy some big honkin’ Hummer, Yukon, or other giant monstrosity of a vehicle? Absolutely not. I bought the car I need for where I was living at the time, and it suits my needs and my lifestyle. I don’t drive long distances and my commute to work is short. If that changes, I would definitely consider a smaller vehicle. In fact, I know my next vehicle will be a Hybrid (car or SUV).

  60. justelise says:

    @LBSurfer: Just because people are buying asian cars does not mean that American workers will be unemployed. A lot of foreign companies are moving assembly plants here. Honda has its own exit off of I-95 in South Carolina. Toyota has something like 7 plants in North America with plans to build 5 more. Subaru has plants here as well. Toyota in particular is selling an enormous amount of cars in this country and will be the number one manufacturer of cars sold in the US this year. The fact that they are planning on opening more plants and employing so many US workers shows that they are investing in the country as well.

  61. justelise says:

    @Pi_Equals_3: So how about all of the luxury car drivers who do the same thing in an obvious effort to keep people from touching their car. Are they in the same class of asshole you’re talking about or do they get a pass because they’re not driving a car that’s classified as an SUV?

    Bad parking is bad parking no matter what you drive. I know people who can barely park a Honda Civic in a parking space the same size as the one in the picture. How come you’re not pointing out those people out as assholes because they park like drunk heiresses?

  62. synergy says:

    @justelise: There’s a lot less of them and it takes a helluva lot more to park badly if you have a small car.

  63. SexCpotatoes says:

    I always take up three spaces when I stop by the local Circuit City… Their lines are so goddamned closely painted that a ’91 Crown Vic’s doors are just inside the paint, CLOSED. So I park sideways, across three spaces, back far enough that there’s plenty of room to get out and that I’m not inconveniencing anyone either.

  64. SkyeBlue says:

    I guess owning a SUV is some kind of “Status” thing with people but I really just don’t get it. The price of these things can run upwards of what $40-50 thousand or more for the high-end ones? You can buy a HOUSE in the small town I live in for that! And people FINANCE these things! You drive it off the lot, it depreciates and you are paying interest on THAT? PLUS the extra money it costs to insure it PLUS all that gas! People are ABSLOUTELY INSANE. I will stick with my little 1996 Ford Escort (that looks and runs like a dream) that I paid $1900.00 for thank you!

  65. chili_dog says:

    I just love the SUV bashing going on because the exact same attitudes are seen in the pompous jerks in the Hybrids.

    It doesn’t matter what you drive as long as you are pleased with it and act responsibly.

  66. Trai_Dep says:

    @justelise: “There are definitely two classes of SUVs — full sized and small/crossover. The the smaller ones (RAV4, Escape, etc) have better gas mileage than a lot of large sedans, minivans, and older cars that are on the road, but they get a bad rap because they are classified as SUVs”

    Absolutely. Goes without saying. Whoops, I guess it doesn’t. Okay, you said it. :D

    It’s the lil-dicked-guys-in-steamroller-SUVs that we’re snickering at.

  67. ahwannabe says:

    I could understand, and even forgive, someone who buys an overpriced gas-gulper if the thing at least looked good.

    But those things are dog-assed ugly.

  68. sonichghog says:

    “Gives me giggles every time I see them rolled over on the side of the road, or taking fifteen minutes filling up at the gas station though.”

    It give me giggles to see an idiot who failed to stop have there tiny car totaled under the back of an SUV, and the SUV bairly taking a scratch from it.

    I own 3 cars, 2 compact, and 1 SUV (minivan).
    Maintenance on the Minivan is A LOT less than the maintence on the compacts. My compacts tend to go through tires faster as well.

  69. Trai_Dep says:

    Minivans aren’t SUVs. Completely different class of vehicles, subject to CAFE standards, safety standards, the whole enchilada.

    Think that people that need them should get them. Even better is when people do like you do: one (or two) cars for mortal travel, and the minivan for the hauls.

    :D

  70. LBSurfer says:

    @justelise: Just FYI, I am a mechanical engineer and have a few colleagues who have lost their jobs because of lowering sales in the US of American automobiles. I am fully aware of the assembly plants that are being populated by foreign automakers. I was referring more to the engineers and similar staff who are being affected by Americans not buying American. After re-reading my post, I believe that that thought may not have come across in my post.

  71. LBSurfer says:

    After looking over this thread, I’ve come to the conclusion that not many folks on here are car/truck people. For the most part, the people who have commented here view vehicles as simply a way from get to Point B from Point A. This is all well and good. However, there are those of us who enjoy tinkering (or more) on our vehicles; those of us who enjoy horsepower and torque; those of us who will sacrifice gas price for quarter mile times; those of us who enjoy off-roading and rock-climbing; those of us who think a Friday night at the Drag Strip or on the trail is a great time. I think a lot of that has been missing in this conversation.

    And, that being said, I don’t think there will ever be a resolution to this issue.

    Just as an aside, I recently read a great article in a trade magazine (I forget what it was – Machine Design, Design, or Mechanical Engineering probably) about how the H2 Hummer is actually a more affordable vehicle over the course of it’s lifetime – design, construction, use, and disposal – than a Hybrid (I believe they compared it to a Toyota Prius). It also mentions how the H2 actually has _less_ of an impact on the environment over it’s entire lifetime than said Hybrid. Pretty interesting read…

  72. Trai_Dep says:

    LB: read above: the extent of off-roading that 98.5% of SUV owners do is when they veer onto sidewalks on their Sunday 3:00 am drunken drive home.

    That’s what makes the SUV thing so amusing. Reality COMPLETELY opposite the reality. Oh, and it drowns polar bears – kewl (!!) bonus.

    And FWIW, I’m not a dowdy driver. I like speed, manuverability, good handling. Most guys that really like driving laugh at SUVs because they’re so removed from the road. And they always block our way.

  73. LBSurfer says:

    I supposed talking about quarter-miles times and SUVs was a bit, um, miscalculated :) At the same time, you have to realize that ‘truck’ guys laugh at car guys for the exact opposite reasons you listed. Sure, you can go fast, and can maneuver/handle well at those speeds, but you can’t drive off-road, or even in a good snowstorm. Truck guys will always choose trucks over cars and vice-versa. I know very few ‘motor-heads’ who have a passion for both trail-riding and drag-racing (although I have experience ‘drag-racing’ on the trail – that was interesting to say the least).

    I suppose that all my posts have been pointing towards the fact that personal preference has been completely disregarded by those commentors who have had nothing but negative things to say about SUVs. Not to mention, all it takes is a few spoiled rich kids in the Hamptons to give all SUV drivers a bad name.