March 27, 2002

U.S. consumers will buy larger vehicles despite increasing gas prices says AAA

Washington, D.C. – As the U.S. economy shows signs of recovery, the American Automobile Association is predicting that Americans will continue to buy SUVs, trucks and minivans despite increasing gas prices.

More than half of the vehicles sold by General Motors last year were in this category, and they accounted for more than two-thirds of Ford’s and Chrysler’s sales as well. AAA says there is no indication that will change in the upcoming year.

“Since automakers derive huge profits from sales of larger vehicles, such as SUVs and minivans, expect some very aggressive selling strategies for them, including rebates and cut-rate financing,” said Dave Van Sickle, AAA’s director of automotive and consumer information, and editor of AAA Auto Guide: 2002 New Cars and Trucks, an annual review of more than 200 vehicles.

“New vehicle sales could reach last year’s volume of 17.1 million units,” Van Sickle added. “Many thought strong incentives in the fourth quarter of 2001 would steal sales from 2002, but that hasn’t been the case.”

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