Wednesday, January 02, 2008

SUVs Once Ruled The Earth But They Have Outlived Their Time

When we started our campaign, SUV's were all the rage in America. And the trend was sweeping across the UK into Europe. But the trend has been shifting. Through our campaign and the media, it's hard to hear of a conversation about 4x4s without some argument about their high carbon emissions, poor fuel economy or lack of usefulness in a city environment.

Well, now Alex Taylor III, a senior editor for the Fortune Magazine, writes that "SUVs once ruled the Earth but like the dinosaurs, they've outlived their time."

He continues, "It is an ignoble end to a proud motoring era. Not more than 15 years ago, SUVs ruled the automotive landscape and produced record profits during Detroit's last golden age. Now the most popular SUV of that era, the Ford Explorer, is headed to the scrap heap, done in by fuel economy and the lingering effects of tire-shredding and rollover issues from several years ago."

Customers in the US are demanding new crossover and hybrid models. "They have to do it," says senior analyst John Wolkonowicz. "It is what consumers want." Consumers get more from crossovers because they combine the functionality of the old truck-based SUVs with the ride and handling of a passenger car. He says the shift from truck to car engineering "probably saves 500 pounds in weight. The lower tonnage, along with improved aerodynamics that comes from sitting closer to the ground, will boost gas mileage."