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We still love SUVs, just smaller ones

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We still love SUVs, just smaller ones

05:57 PM

SUVs moved off dealer lots faster than any other type of vehicles from April 1 through May 19, according to the latest analysis by J.D. Power and Associates.


"Seven crossovers (CUVs) and three traditional utilities were the 10 models that sold in the fewest number of days, on average, during the past 7 weeks," reports the Power Information Network.

That doesn't mean they are racking up the biggest sales numbers, only that they are so popular dealers can barely keep them in stock.

Helping drive the embrace of SUVs: More models in the market, such as Kia's 2011 Sorento (which just got high marks from Consumer Reports), Hyundai's freshened Santa Fe, Honda's updated CR-V and the like. Plus, of course, the discounts that accompany increased competition.

Despite a tsunami of bad publicity for unintended acceleration, Toyota's had the lead with four fast-moving SUVs -- RAV4, Highlander, 4Runner and Lexus LX series. Those barely had time for the dealer-prep wash job before buyers grabbed them. They were on lots an average 13, 14, 16 and 15 days, respectively. Toyota's offering generous incentives to attract buyers wary of its vehicles because of the acceleration issue.

Even though Detroit automakers pioneered the SUV segment, only one domestic -- Chevrolet Equinox (15 days) -- was on the PIN list of 10 fastest sellers.

Illustrating, perhaps, American buyers' real preferences -- that is, when the economy seems somewhat better than terrible and fuel prices don't threaten to top $3 a gallon the next 24 hours -- Audi's big Q7 SUV was on this years "fast" list, taking just 15 days to turn. A year ago, it took an average three months to unload one, PIN says.

A year ago, in fact, SUVs weren't the hot sellers at all. Chevy's Camaro was the fastest to fly off dealer lots -- a stunning 7 days, on average. Now, PIN says, Camaro takes an average 31 days to sell.

-- James R. Healey/Drive On



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