Rush to Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Recedes, Edmunds.com Research SuggestsBy Scott Doggett August 11, 2008
Large-SUV segment: Could reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated?
The run-up in gas prices from April through June spooked American car buyers into a manic rush to find the most fuel-efficient vehicles they could and to dump their gas guzzlers.
So new-car buyers nearly abandoned the large-SUV and pickup-truck segments, grew lukewarm about crossovers even compared with the first quarter, sought out small cars, pushed OEMs' subcompact-car manufacturing capacity to the max, and completely sucked up supplies of Prius and of some other hybrids. All the while, overall sales tanked.
So automakers made some of the most precipitous and significant decisions ever about production cutbacks and segment reallocations. Each of Detroit's Big Three and even Toyota moved quickly and massively to slash pickup and SUV production and goose small-car output as much as they could.
But the latest Edmunds.com data indicate that the industry may well have rushed into these moves too soon, perhaps overreacting -- along with the news media and other entities -- to how American consumers plainly were responding to skyrocketing gasoline prices.