Throughout the month of April, consumers traded in their gas-sucking SUV’s and trucks for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. Even with a slow economy, there’s no surprise that we’re seeing this trend of people who are buying smaller vehicles that cost less to fill up the tank.
Toyota, Nissan and Honda, all popular manufacturers of smaller, economical vehicles, saw an increase of sales from about three to seven percent for the month. At the same time, Detroit’s big three (Ford, GM and Chrysler) experienced double-digit drops in U.S. sales in April.
An example of the trend to buy smaller cars is evident with GM. The company saw a steep increase in sales of the popular, new Chevrolet Malibu, while the Chevrolet Trailblazer SUV’s sales dropped 73 percent. Overall, GM said its SUV and truck sales are down 27 percent.
The once-popular Chevy Trailblazer’s sales recently dropped 73 percent.
"Consumer preference is shifting, and we’re shifting with it," said Mark LaNeve, GM’s vice president of North American sales.
Ford is experiencing the same sales trend as GM. The company said its SUV sales dropped 36 percent in April. The fuel-friendly Focus’ sales jumped way up by 44 percent, while car sales in general declined by just one percent.
"It’s such a new world for us, because as you well know, for the better part of the last two decades, we’ve been a truck and SUV company predominantly," said George Pipas, Ford’s top sales analyst. "So this requires a big shift in our culture, in our training and our thinking. Not only for Ford but our dealers."
So what’s going to happen to all those trucks and SUV’s sitting on dealer lots? We’ll just have to wait and see. But if you need one for work or family reasons, you are almost guaranteed to get a stellar deal on one, as most dealers would do almost anything to get these gas-guzzling monsters off their inventory.