June 2, 2005

J.D. Power reports truck-based SUV sales sliding

Westlake Village, California – Traditional truck-based SUVs captured just 12.1 per cent of U.S. new-vehicle retail sales in April, their lowest market share since May 1996, reports J.D. Power and Associates’ Power Information Network. In contrast, more fuel-efficient, car-based “crossover” SUVs increased to a 49 per cent share of the total SUV market in April.

“For many customers, the crossover SUV or sportwagon offers an appealing alternative to the traditional truck-based SUV,” said Tom Libby, senior director of industry analysis at the Power Information Network. “Most crossovers offer all-wheel drive, command-seating position, interior space and the seats of a traditional SUV along with car-like ride and handling. The crossovers generally weigh less and use a more compact package to provide better gas mileage as well.”

The report showed that traditional SUVs sat on dealer lots an average of 79 days before being sold in April 2005, the 11th consecutive month their “days to turn” (the number of days a vehicle remains on a dealer’s lot) exceeded 75 days. In contrast, car-based crossovers sat on lots for an average of only 48 days. The days-to-turn for traditional SUVs have nearly doubled since late 2002 and early 2003, when they sat on dealership lots approximately 30 days.

The report also found that the propensity of owners to trade in a truck-based SUV for a crossover has almost doubled from 2004 to 2005. Almost 20 per cent of traditional luxury SUV owners who purchased or leased a new vehicle in April switched to a crossover.

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