March 23, 2004

SUV interest remains high despite record gas prices, says study

Irvine, California – In the third portion of a New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Study on SUVs released by Kelley Blue Book Market Research, surveys show that purchase interest in SUVs remains high despite soaring gas prices. Among car-buyers, interest in an SUV increased 3% over last year, when pump prices were at 2003 highs. Wave III of the SUV study was conducted by Kelley Blue Book Market Research as gas prices were rising, February 26 — March 1, 2004.

Among those considering an SUV as their next purchase, their No. 1 concern was rollover issues (49%), with impact on foreign oil dependence ranking at the bottom of their concerns (19%).

“We have asked in-market car buyers how favourable they feel towards SUVs during negative media hype as well as amidst rising gas prices and surprisingly, favorability of the vehicles remained at high levels,” said Rick Wainschel, Director of Marketing Research at Kelley Blue Book. “Favourability ratings toward SUVs increased 5% over last year.”

This same sentiment is echoed in sales data of SUVs. The SUV segment has been the best selling vehicle segment for some time in the U.S.. Sales of SUVs increased in February of this year over last year by more than 3,200 units.

This New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Study on SUVs was again administered on the company’s Web site Survey respondents include those considering buying an SUV as well as those that are not. The study was completed to determine the attitudes and views of SUVs amidst record high U.S. gas prices.

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