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Dragon

Big engines stay popular despite gas spike

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http://www.cnn.com/2006/AUTOS/04/25/big_en...reut/index.html

DETROIT (Reuters) - U.S. consumers bought vehicles with big, gas-guzzling engines at an unchanged rate in the first three months of the year despite rising gas prices, according to a survey released on Monday.

In the first quarter, about 25 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States were equipped with eight- cylinder engines, according to sales trends analyzed by the Power Information Network, a data tracking service of consulting firm J.D. Power and Associates.

That market share level for V8s -- typically the most powerful engines used in trucks and large sport utility vehicles -- was unchanged from the average of 25 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Power Information Network.

The market share of six- and four-cylinder engine-vehicles have also not budged in the face of higher gasoline prices, now above $3 per gallon in many U.S. markets, J.D. Power said.

Six-cylinder engines represented just over 40 percent of new-vehicle sales over the past nine months, while four- cylinder engines have accounted for just over 30 percent, the firm said.

If that trend holds, it would be good news for General Motors Corp., which has staked its product strategy this year to the launch of a new line of SUVs, including the Tahoe and the Yukon, which run on V8 engines.

"So far, the perceived gas price increases have not had any discernible impact on new-vehicle buying patterns, at least with regard to the size of the engine," said Tom Libby, an industry analyst at the Power Information Network.

Despite fears of a consumer backlash against SUVs in the face of higher oil prices, few analysts expect U.S. drivers will defect in large numbers to smaller cars featuring four- cylinder engines this year.

Rather, most forecast gains for cross-over utility vehicles, which are built on car platforms, and even luxury sedans at the expense of the SUV market.

Those marginal shifts in demand are widely tracked since the overall U.S. auto market is expected to be flat at best this year at just under 17 million vehicles sold.

"Gas prices are certainly becoming a popular dinner and water cooler discussion topic, but consumers appear to be conditioned to prices at current levels," said Jeff Schuster, executive director of global forecasting at J.D. Power.

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25% of vehicles sold here are eqiped with a V8?! Big deal.

That number could double if DOD becomes standard issue. Nothing

like a V8, I know some people are anti-V8 but let's face it, they're

mostly pu$$ys & little old ladys afraid of the excessive power. :rolleyes:

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That number could double if DOD becomes standard issue. Nothing

like a V8, I know some people are anti-V8 but let's face it, they're

mostly pu$$ys & little old ladys afraid of the excessive power. :rolleyes:

There isn't anything like a V8, but a supercharged six comes awful close, and at 23-27mpg I was averaging while my car was in the shop...worth it.

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There isn't anything like a V8, but a supercharged six comes awful close, and at 23-27mpg I was averaging while my car was in the shop...worth it.

True... esp. in a FWD car a SUpercharged V6 makes more sense

packaging wise and in terms or weight distribution, BUT I am

one of those snobs that likes the smoothness of an inline six

or V8 better. Truth be told the only V6 I've ever been crazy about

is the Buick 3800. (any vintage or series) The Nissan 3.5, Chrysler

3.5 , GM 4.3 & 3.1/3.4 are all good but not great. They still leave

me wishing for more. Not just power but refinement & smoothness.

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I like the VQ's exhaust note... it's fart can Hondas & Acuras

that irritate me 99% of the time. They're esp. ass-tastic

when the car is stock & natrually aspired. Turbo whine &

blow off valves help though.

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Nissan's VQ would be fine if it weren't for that irritating, shrill tuned exhaust note they have.

The VQ is the V6 in the Maxima, 350Z, etc? I had a 350Z rental last week and the one thing I really didn't like was the sound on startup..I don't know if it is the ignition or the engine, but it didn't sound good...otherwise, very smooth..

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