By now we all know that the market for large trucks and SUVs has become a black hole for both U.S. and Japanese automakers here on this side of the Atlantic. It looks like the same holds true over on the continent where fuel prices have approached $10 a gallon in many places. Much like the U.S. market, sales of SUVs in Europe have dropped by 44.4 percent so far in 2008. Perhaps more worrying to companies like Mercedes-Benz and BMW is that large cars have also dropped by nearly 30 percent. BMW already announced cutbacks earlier this summer to compensate as buyers rush to smaller cars, sales of which have climbed by almost 20 percent this year. Sales of cars like the Smart and MINI have never been better. Just as sales of SUVs propped up profits for Detroit automakers for years, the large premium cars have done the same for many European brands.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]

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