Four-bangers on the rise, sixes and eights start to slide

As fuel prices continue on their upward trajectory, more and more evidence is coming to light that American drivers are making adjustments. Sales of mid-sized SUVs have completely tanked in the last few years, and now J.D. Power and Associates has compiled sales data on the relative market shares for different engine types. Since 2003, market penetration for both eight and six cylinder engines has dropped while four cylinders are on the rise, a trend likely to accelerate in the coming years.

Over the intervening years, four cylinder engines have gone from 31.1 percent to 37.9 percent of the U.S. market. Six cylinders retain the lead (for now!) with 39.8 percent while V-8s have dipped to only 20.4 percent of all installations. That trend is a big part of why GM recently chose to cancel a new premium V-8 engine program. At the Detroit Auto Show, Ford announced their EcoBoost engines that would be migrating into many of their cars in the next few years. The EcoBoost engines use reduced displacement along with direct injection and turbocharging. EcoBoost V-6s will replace V-8s while fours will replace V-6s. Similarly GM is going to downsized turbocharged fours as well as adding their second generation mild hybrid system to replace larger engines.

[Source: Winding Road]

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