US: cheap gas influences April sales, favoring SUVs and pickups image

With fuel prices hovering at a record low level in America – where taxes have a smaller influence over the retail prices – US consumers took the opportunity to choose less fuel-efficient models, mostly large sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

Average retail gasoline prices across the US are about a third lower than last year during the same period, with researcher Autodata saying the deliveries of big premium sport utility vehicles have jumped 31 percent during the first quarter of the year. Analysts believe the trend remained level for April as well, with automakers now having to lay off workers involved in small car production because of the falling sales in the respective segments. US consumers believe the cheap gasoline is here to stay so they are reverting to their old habits of buying large, roomy and comfortable SUVs, crossovers and pickups – shedding the previous concerns over fuel efficiency and green house emissions. Naturally, technology has also evolved and the models that were once gas-guzzling monsters can deliver outstanding mileage, especially if we’re talking about the new breed of crossovers – they combine the utility of an all-wheel drive vehicle with the architecture and comfort of a passenger car, making Americans feel less guilty than before when driving larger models.

According to motoring club AAA, gasoline prices are actually on a slow climb since the year started, inching around 14 percent during the first quarter – but they remain around a dollar lower than compared to the same period last year. Friday’s results are thus ready to show what everyone expects – trucks and SUVs will be the best-selling models in April. Additionally, with a seasonally adjusted annualized selling rate, or SAAR, forecasted to grow to 16.7 million units, all six major automakers on the US market are expected to deliver positive results for the month.

Via Bloomberg