• May 9, 2006
According to the Wichita Eagle, local dealerships are seeing buyers either purchasing new, more fuel-efficient SUVs or just delaying their purchase of a new SUV until fuel prices fall. Few have seen buyers choosing to downsize even to large cars, let alone small ones. Les Eck of Rusty Eck Ford states, "I haven't seen people trading in their Expeditions to buy a small car."
Dealerships believe that even at $3 per gallon, the price of gasoline has not seriously affected consumer purchasing habits . Rather, lower car sales are being attributed more to the lack of rebates than higher fuel costs. SUV sales in particular, which have been falling at a steady rate, are due more to people waiting on gas prices to fall. Finally, these dealers are saying that consumers still feel hybrids are priced too high despite their savings at the pump.

Related:
Hybrid sales inelastic despite surging gas prices
Gas prices a threat to GM turnaround?
Motorcycles getting second looks as gas prices rise.

[Source: The Wichita Eagle]


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  • 17 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Did you get that picture from 'The Onion'? - I think the story was 'New SUV seats 8 passangers and their SUVs'
      • 8 Years Ago
      First rule in life: Never ever believe anything a car dealer has to say. They have a vested interest telling you that people are not trading in their SUVs for smaller cars. Most recent buyers of large SUVs are upside down on their loans and couldn't get out of their SUV even if they tried.
      All you have to do is look at new SUV sales to see the carnage. Car dealers are full of shit.
      • 8 Years Ago
      meh...I make a pretty decent sum...well above the national median income. I've been driving my Tundra recently while my commuter car (Ford Focus) has been out of action due to transmission issues. The $80 per fill up per week has affected my purchasing habits. I'm eating out less at lunch and skipped driving to the city to guzzle beer with the boys several times already.

      The cost of fuel may not affect people living in places with low costs of living. But I don't see how it wouldn't affect people in big cities with big mortgages. I don't know if my commute is average, but if it is $320/month is making me seriously consider taking the bus and doubling the commute time.

      I'm in the Silicon Valley, btw...
      • 8 Years Ago
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      • 8 Years Ago
      To those that have a large SUV and actually use it for what its intended... do you also commute to work in it daily by yourself?

      Im just saying that If you have a large SUV and actually use it for its purpose then fine, but for those commuting by themselvs in them, why not go pick up a mid 90's sentra for under 3k that gets 40mpg for commuting? (i picked up a 95 up for 2500) and it seats 5 and has a decent trunk. (my other car is a 240sx that gets 28mpg)
      • 8 Years Ago
      "...waiting on gas prices to fall..."

      Keep waiting, because the new reality is that energy costs more than it used to...a lot more. A few more years of $3.00 gas and the SUV market will probably shrink by at least 25%.

      Yes, some SUV's cost $30,000 new, and for the couple that just HAD to have an SUV, even if it costs them more than they can afford, they are the ones really hurting, because they probably also live far away from work so that they can have a new house in the 'burbs.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #11: I'm in the Bay Area as well, and even though my Eclipse averages over 20 MPG, I've been wishing for a more efficient alternative. The fact that it prefers the Premium $3.50/gallon stuff doesn't help.

      My fiancee drives a Prius, so the Eclipse sits for days at a time when gas prices spike. When are the automakers going to put a hybrid powertrain in something sport-oriented, with a stick? The Prius' drivetrain in a 2,500 lb '05 Celica would be just dandy.

      I wonder if John Smith is a liar?...
      • 8 Years Ago
      It takes a long, long time for a new car to pay for itself in fuel savings. Maybe buyers are smarter than ol' Rusty gives them credit for.
      • 8 Years Ago
      People are not trading in their big SUV's for a couple reasons:

      1) Contrary to popular belief, most people that drive big SUV's need the room. If you have a couple kids, once you go big it's hard to go back.

      2) Depending on how much you drive, the fuel savings between a large SUV and your average midsized car is not that much.

      3) If my SUV is paid for, why would I spend money to buy a new car just so I can save money at the pump? It just doesn't make economic sense.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Large SUV owners are probably really upside down on their loans right now, and *can't* trade without paying dearly.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "...why not go pick up a mid 90's sentra for under 3k that gets 40mpg for commuting?"


      Kelly Blue Book retail value for a 95 Sentra is $4000.

      95 Sentra should get real world MPG of 29
      2001 Suburban gets a real world MPG of 14

      I put 500 miles a month on the Suburban so at $3/gal. I could save $55 a month in gas by driving the Sentra full time and never driving the Suburban at all, which wouldn't be the case because there are times I would have to. Spending $4000 to save $55 a month means that it would take a touch over 6 years to break even and that doesn't even include the extra insurance, extra maintenance and repair for the 12 year old Nissan, tires, etc.

      Assuming you kept the Suburban out of necessity, even if you drove up to 1000 miles per month it would probably take 4-5 years to break even, all costs considered.

      Until gas gets REALLY expensive it just doesn't make much economic sense although your mileage may vary.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So at what point is a consumer putting off buying that new SUV and instead having bought somthing else? How the heck would you ever know? That comment can't be made by anything other than speculation. Ok put it off and WOOP gas prices don't go down... guess what that Camry starts looking even better while the GM dealers sit on their butts peddleing the crap GM throws at them saying "No no we have to stock pile it now cause people will want it later!"

      Speaking of a stockpile of SUVs who the heck is going to want to buy stockpiled SUVs from GM if Delphi can't supply parts? I'd be like hhrrmm gosh look like this platform and thusly parts and the manufacturer have a limited future, I wonder how that RAV4 drives.... I realize auto makers have to make parts for 10 years but not if their not around...

      --Noah
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