If you had to narrow down everything you heard about the auto industry last year, you’d probably come up with these two blurbs:
- People now want hybrids and small cars instead of big trucks because of gas prices and environmental reasons
- The ‘Big 3′ can’t compete anymore
With the skyrocketing gas prices, the incredible melting ice caps, and the “Big 3″ making vehicles “nobody wants”–the top 2 on the list were:
1) Ford F-150
2) Chevrolet Silverado
Now, I can’t be sure–but those MUST be two-seater electric hydrogen hybrid mini coupes made in Japan…right?
Also in the top 10 is the Dodge Ram. The rest of the list is populated with exactly what it’s always populated with—-mid level sedans.
The Toyota Prius, with all the benefits of tax breaks, universal praise from celebrities and media figures, and the endless publicity that goes along with it, failed to crack the top 10.
That’s not to say hybrids didn’t have a good year –but even a car like the Honda Civic (#5 on the list) that focuses a lot of attention on its hybrid–still had people overwhelmingly choose the regular version. Civic hybrid sales rose over 20% this year—but that brought them to only around 10% of total Civic sales. The Toyota Camry (#3) has approximately 13% hybrid sales. For those math geniuses out there, around 90% of people buying these cars are choosing not to buy the hybrid.
The truth is, people buy “what they can afford” first, “what they want” second, and “what they think is right to help trees in Australia” a distant third (sometimes the first two switch order: see “Sub Prime Mortgage Crisis”).
If you didn’t like George W. Bush’s pre-Christmas auto bailout, you might remember last Christmas when he buried another car-related holiday surprise: auto manufacturers must have their entire fleet of cars average 35 miles per gallon by 2020.
Guess how many of the top 10 best-sellers get 35 miles per gallon?
Now, these companies not only have to fight the unions, but also the government telling them to build cars that people don’t want. Sounds easy. Happy New Year car companies!
Al Gore must be so annoyed
. He hates it when people save money on gas.
“Trucks and sport utility vehicles will outsell cars for the first time since February, according to a December report by Edmunds.com, which tracks industry statistics.
“Despite all the public discussion of fuel efficiency, SUVs and trucks are the industry’s biggest sellers right now as a remarkable number of buyers seem to be compelled by three factors: great deals, low gas prices and winter weather,” said Michelle Krebs of AutoObserver.com, a division of Edmunds.com, in a prepared statement.”