The White House has done its best to curtail sales of monster SUVs in these United States, but We The People just won’t seem to let the big ‘utes die.
President Obama’s government thought, and probably still hopes, that a required 35.5 mpg fleet average will someday eliminate the likes of the Chevy Tahoe and Ford Expedition from hogging lanes on American streets, but according to the Detroit News, sales of those big machines have flourished recently. Believe it or not, large SUV sales are up by 20 percent so far this year, with General Motors and Ford poised to take full advantage.
How could this be? Chevrolet marketing manager Mark Clawson explained it well,
Unless the country decides to limit people to only having two kids, only having one activity and not having things like snowmobiles, jet skis and boats, then there will be some people who will still want these vehicles.
Granted, large SUV sales won’t reach to the heights of the 1990s and early 2000s, but there’s no denying that big towing-friendly family rigs will remain a staple on American highways. With a smaller market, though, don’t be surprised if at least one foreign automaker pulls out of the market in coming years. That could translate to the demise of the Toyota Sequoia or Nissan Armada, which would be fine with me, because Detroit builds far better big utes anyway.
Both GM and Ford say they are committed to the segment for the foreseeable future, although changes are on the way to help improve fuel economy. Large SUVs will keep their truck underpinnings, but look for more fuel-efficient engines – such as Ford’s EcoBoost technology – and automatic transmissions with up to seven speeds.
GM has confirmed that a revamp of its SUV lineup is coming in either 2013 or 2014.
I think as long as gas is cheap, big SUVs will continue to sell. If the government truly wants to discourage these vehicles, it should institute a hefty gas tax. Agree?