The Mix

The decline of the SUV?

At long last, could it be that American drivers are realizing that size matters?
By way of DailyKos, an article in the Times today shows a little of the how and why SUV sales are declining:
For Janna Jensen, it was the dirty looks and nasty gestures from other drivers that finally persuaded her to give up the family's $55,000 Hummer H2. Her husband, Michael, meanwhile, was tired of the $300 monthly gasoline cost and the quality problems that began soon after they bought it.

So the Jensens of Reno, Nev., dumped the sport utility vehicle this year for a more modest Honda Element, still an S.U.V. but one with better gasoline mileage and a lower profile than the H2. And they are not alone.

Luxury sport utilities are becoming decidedly less cool than just three years ago, when they were the hottest things on wheels and dealers had long waiting lists for the most popular models.
The article is noticeably less than pessimistic on the death of SUVs, quoting a Southern Californian Cadillac dealer who says the brand-new 2007 Escalades are selling so fast that it's like "shooting fish in a barrel."

But even if some buyers are oblivious to the heavy costs of owning these 8,500-pound symbols of our oil addiction, the Times report shows that luxury SUVs like the Escalade are sitting on dealership lots for about a week longer on average than they were this time last year, an increase of about 15 percent.

Kos notes that while the intro to the story suggests that FUH2's mission of flipping off Hummer H2 owners is working on drivers like Jensen, "the price of gas is probably the biggest reason for the drop in sales of luxury SUVs."
Matthew Wheeland is AlterNet's managing editor.
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