Big Escalade SUVs fly off the lot at Texas-based Sewell Cadillac, even though the leases cost $1,000 or more a month.
“If we can get one, it’s sold as soon as it gets here,” said Carl Sewell, chairman of Sewell Automotive Cos., which owns Cadillac dealerships in Dallas and Grapevine. “They sell faster than anything on the lot.”
The Dallas Morning News reported that consumers began gravitating to truck-like vehicles about two years ago. SUVs, crossovers of all sizes and pickups sizzle these days and will probably lead the auto industry to double-digit sales growth this year, analysts say.
Low gas prices are fueling that fire, helping vehicles like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Honda CR-V and Ford Explorer record sales increases of 20% or more in January.
“People are coming in to look at sedans and going straight to the crossovers,” said Brian Huth, general manager of Five Star Ford in Plano.
The trend is pumping up automaker and dealership revenue but flattening out fuel-economy gains.
The average fuel economy of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. barely rose last year. The fleet average in 2014 was 24.1 miles per gallon, only one-tenth of a mile per gallon better than 2013. In 2013, the average rose half a mile per gallon.
If the trend toward trucks persists, it will put additional pressure on the federal government’s lofty corporate average fuel economy, or CAFE, standards.
For the full story click here.