Four-cylinder engines dominate in U.S.; V8s drop to just 17 percent

Four cylinder engines have replaced sixes as the engine of choice for U.S. consumers, powering 43 percent of light vehicles sold in the first six months of 2011, according to IHS Automotive.

Back in 2005, V6 engines were found under the hood of 43 percent of vehicles sold, but rising fuel prices and a shift in consumers' preferences over the last six years helped the four bangers rise to the top. If we exclude fleet sales, then more than half the vehicles sold in the U.S. in the first six months of 2011 had four cylinder engines. Meanwhile, the burly V8 engine has lost ground at at rapid pace, now powering only 17 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. Does that number seem high for anyone else? When do you think that number will drop below 10 percent?

Two factors are fueling the change. Consumers are reacting to soaring gas prices by either downsizing vehicles or opting for four-cylinder engines and automakers are focusing on technologies that enable four-cylinder units to crank out power comparable to six-cylinder engines while consuming less fuel.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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