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March 31, 2003

USA: Kelly Blue Book survey claims 5% decline in SUV buyer interest in last 6 weeks

Wave II of Kelly Blue Book’s New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Study on SUVs claims to chow a 5% decline in consumer interest in buying sport utility vehicles over the last six weeks. Even though petrol prices have begun to decline by a few pennies, the overall cost-per-gallon appears to have had a significant impact on car-buyers. In this latest study, more than four out of 10 SUV considerers indicated that recent petrol prices would keep them from buying the vehicle. Additionally, half of those not considering an SUV as their next vehicle cite petrol prices as their main reason.

By bcusack

Wave II of Kelly Blue Book’s New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Study on SUVs claims to chow a 5% decline in consumer interest in buying sport utility vehicles over the last six weeks.

Even though petrol prices have begun to decline by a few pennies, the overall cost-per-gallon appears to have had a significant impact on car-buyers. In this latest study, more than four out of 10 SUV considerers indicated that recent petrol prices would keep them from buying the vehicle. Additionally, half of those not considering an SUV as their next vehicle cite petrol prices as their main reason.

A barrage of news has been seen over the last several months regarding SUVs, from safety issues reported by the administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Jeffrey Runge, to advertising campaigns by organisations claiming that SUVs support terrorism. Wave I of the Kelly Blue Book survey reported 55% of car-buyers felt these issues were just media hype.  But with the US now at war with Iraq and high petrol prices, safety issues are no longer the greatest deterrent to purchase.

Wave II of the New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Study on SUVs revealed: overall favourability of SUVs has dropped 5% since January; of those consumers not considering an SUV as their next purchase, their No. 1 reason for not buying the car is petrol prices; 43% of respondents believe SUVs have a significant impact on foreign oil dependence versus only 36% just six weeks ago; 44% of car-buyers felt that car manufacturers do not care about the social impact SUVs have on the US, a gain of three percent over the last six weeks.

While “family-oriented” remained the top attribute given to SUV drivers, it dropped from 68% to 60%, while the attribute of “irresponsible” gained ground.

“While sales of large SUVs are not necessarily declining, we are seeing greater interest in crossover vehicles and small SUVs,” said Charlie Vogelheim, executive editor of Kelley Blue Book.  “Regardless, the editorial team believes the heyday of large SUVs is about over.”

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