The large-SUV bust and the large-pickup slump may be over, according to a report on Forbes.com.
“We’re not seeing that flood of customers exiting, and that’s a plus,” said General Motors sales analyst Paul Bellew while announcing October sales Wednesday. “We’ve taken off the intense pressure.”
When gas cost $1.50 a gallon, families with one kid were buying 7,000-pound Chevy Tahoes. Then, this spring, when gas hit $3 a gallon without an accompanying hurricane, those buyers ran screaming from large SUVs.
A similar, if less drastic, cycle affected big pickup sales. With interiors as comfortable as those in luxury cars, drivers were buying big pickups for their commute to their desk jobs. They also reconsidered this spring.
But now sales of these big rigs seem to be finding their level, though one much lower than in the heady days of super-cheap gas. Now it is families with four kids and a Boston Whaler who are buying the 7,000-pound SUVs, and people who need to carry a bed full of gravel around town who are buying pickups.
General Motors’ sales of light trucks, including SUVs, surged 33% in October, albeit compared with a disastrous October of 2005. Car sales fell 3%, and overall sales rose 17%. Retail sales of Chevy Tahoes rose 92%, while Suburban sales jumped 64%. Chevy Silverado sales were up 79%, helped by newly redesigned pickups, which started arriving at dealerships in October.
At Ford Motor overall sales rose 9% on the strength of a 25% boost in car sales, led by sales of the company’s trio of mid-sized vehicles: the Ford Fusion, Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ. Truck sales were about flat, but Ford’s Expedition large SUV rose 41%, and Lincoln Navigator rose 44%. F-Series pickup sales were up 3%.
Toyota Motor sales grew 9% in the month, helped by a 16% jump in truck and SUV sales.