FLAB IN THE MUSCLE GAS PRICES, ROLLOVERS STALL SUV SALES.Byline: Brent Hopkins Staff Writer
WESTLAKE VILLAGE - Sales of the muscular sport utility vehicle show signs of weakness in a J.D. Power survey released Thursday, which says SUVs are sitting longer on dealers' lots and require higher incentives to seal deals.
But no one is predicting SUVs will go the way of the Edsel.
Since emerging in the mid-1980s, sport-utes have been wheels of choice for campers, parents and anyone with a Costco card, accounting for nearly one-quarter of all vehicle sales nationwide in 2003.
While SUVs remain popular, they have a number of factors against them. With gasoline prices cresting crest·ing
An ornamental ridge, as on top of a wall or roof. the $2 mark in much of the country this year and remaining high throughout the summer, the poor fuel-efficiency ratings of some of the largest SUV models make them a tougher sell. Smaller models, which are more competitive with sedans' gas mileage Noun 1. gas mileage - the ratio of the number of miles traveled to the number of gallons of gasoline burned
fuel consumption rate, gasoline mileage, mileage
ratio - the relative magnitudes of two quantities (usually expressed as a quotient) , may be caught up in the slowdown as well though.
Further depressing sales are persistent questions of safety. This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA, often pronounced "nit-suh") is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government, part of the Department of Transportation. released figures for the first time showing that sport utilities are more prone to roll over in crashes than sedans.
And with automakers introducing more muscular cars, like the Dodge Magnum The Dodge Magnum name has been used on a number of different automobiles. The most recent is a large rear-wheel drive station wagon introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year. and Chrysler's revamped 300 sedan, power-hungry drivers have new options outside the SUV world.
This July, SUVs sat on lots an average 73 days before selling, a 13-day increase over the same period a year ago, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. a study by J.D. Power & Associates' affiliate Power Information Network. While new- vehicle prices have increased slightly, average SUV transaction prices dropped 2 percent from those last July. In an attempt to fight back, manufacturers jacked up incentives 12 percent over their June mark - nearly double the overall average - to an average $3,440.
``It's not as fun to buy an SUV anymore,'' said Wes Brown This article is about Wesley Brown the football player. For the First African-American to graduate from the Naval Academy, see Wesley A. Brown
Wesley "Wes" Michael Brown , a partner in Iceology, a Westwood-based car manufacturer consultant. ``The gas mileage is awful. You can't go around corners as quickly. You have to sacrifice things to drive an SUV, and people are saying (they) don't want to sacrifice anymore. It's cool to buy a car again.''
While finding signs of weakness in sales of SUVs, the senior director of PIN's industry analysis, Tom Libby, countered: ``This isn't the end of their world by any means.''
Local dealers agree that manufacturers have had to sweeten sweet·en
v. sweet·ened, sweet·en·ing, sweet·ens
1. To make sweet or sweeter by adding sugar, honey, saccharin, or another sweet substance.
2. To make more pleasant or agreeable. the deal to ease the trucks out of the showroom, but most don't fear that their lucrative SUV business will dry up soon.
``It's a big part of our business,'' said Gus Garcia, general manager of the Rydell Automotive Group. ``Southern Californians love their SUVs, so things haven't slowed down significantly. If the gas prices did anything to demand, they're offering such good rebates and discounts, it hasn't really hurt us.''
Even with nearby gas stations' pump prices still above $2 and window stickers promising 13 miles per gallon Noun 1. miles per gallon - the distance traveled in a vehicle powered by one gallon of gasoline or diesel fuel
unit, unit of measurement - any division of quantity accepted as a standard of measurement or exchange; "the dollar is the United States unit of , SUVs still remain strong sellers on Van Nuys Auto Row. Libby said the national data might not reflect the same trends seen in Los Angeles, which often bucks convention.
``It's where the money is,'' said Michael First, a sales manager at Miller Nissan. ``You're in Southern California. People will buy them because they want to look good, even if they go broke in the process.''
Brent Hopkins, (818) 713-3738
(color) General Motors sport utility vehicles This page lists sports utility vehicles currently in production (as of April 2007), as well as past models. The list includes crossover SUVs, Mini SUVs, Compact SUVs and other similar vehicles. await buyers on a Rydell Automotive Group lot in Van Nuys. SUV sales show signs of slipping nationwide.
Andy Holzman/Staff Photographer
Source: Power Information Network, LLC (Logical Link Control) See "LANs" under data link protocol.
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