With high gas prices, compact vehicles flying off dealer lots

2011 Hyundai Elantra – Click above for high-res image gallery

Gasoline prices may have slipped a bit from the May 8th national average of $4 a gallon, but nobody is declaring the price hike over. In fact, data from Edmunds shows that compact vehicles are flying off dealer lots at a clip not seen since the gas price hike during the summer of 2008.

By using the days-to-turn (DTT) metric – its proprietary measure of how long a new vehicle remains at the dealership after delivery from the automaker – Edmunds says that "consumers have reduced dealers' wait to sell several different compact models to well less than a month" and claims that the average compact vehicle "was retailed 19 percent quicker in April than in March."

Which vehicles are flying off the lots? Well, without surprise, the Toyota Prius, with a DDT of 20 days in April, compared to a DDT of 41 in March, is near the head of the pack. However, it was the recently redesigned Hyundai Elantra, with a DDT of 12 days in April, compared to a DDT of 19 in March, that had the lowest DDT of all vehicles evaluated. Click here for a look at Edmunds' complete DDT data.

Ivan Drury, Edmunds' supervisor of pricing and industry analysis, warns that the run on compact vehicles could increase, stating:
In 2008, fuel costs rose very dramatically – but then tumbled down. If consumers are banking on this same scenario as the gasoline hovers around the $4-per-gallon mark, some could be delaying a purchase in hope that history repeats itself.
So, the question that needs answering seems to be: what happens next?

[Source: Edmunds Auto Observer]

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