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DETROIT — Some of the auto industry’s money wagons — high-profit full-size pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles — are starting to fall out of favor as consumers migrate to other types of vehicles, analysts say.

Hardest hit is General Motors Corp., which saw sales of several full-size pickups and SUVs nosedive in June compared with a year ago.

While sales of the GMC Sierra pickup inched up, its twin, the Chevrolet Silverado, suffered an 8.1 percent drop in sales last month.

Sales of the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV fell 23.5 percent last month while demand dropped 13 percent for the GMC Yukon and 23.9 percent for the Yukon XL.

The June decline in GM’s full-size truck sales was shared by its domestic rivals, but to a lesser degree. Sales of Ford Motor Co.’s F-series pickups rose 1.3 percent last month, but demand for the Expedition SUV dipped 0.7 percent and the giant Excursion SUV saw its sales drop 10.7 percent. At DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group, Dodge Ram pickup sales slipped 3.7 percent in June.

Among foreign manufacturers, Toyota Motor Co. reported sales of its Sequoia full-size SUV fell 16.6 percent.

For the year, demand for many large SUVs and pickups is flat or down, while overall light vehicle sales are up 2.3 percent. Lincoln Navigator sales, for instance, are off 8 percent this year.

Full Story HERE
 

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I think the pickup market was so successful over the past few years because a lot of people wanted a RWD V8 powered vehicle. I'm not talking about the people who actually need trucks, but the many who bought trucks for personal every day use, i.e. drive to the office, take the kids to school etc etc. Being that as of now there aren't any stylish, versatile RWD drive vehicles out there, pickups became a popular alternative. Caddy CTS comes to mind but it's more of a luxury car, although sporty at the same time. Ford has the Crown Vic and Grand Marq's but they're grandpa's cars. Chrysler now has the 300 back to RWD and it's a hit, the Magnum is on it's way to the market. I don't believe that this so called RWD craze is a fad, people like RWD vehicles and I think that has a lot to do with why people bought pickups. Yes, there are other reasons too, you sit higher, added safety is arguable, and the come with a V8. As for people saying RWD vehciles are not as good in the winter, I disagree. If you drive cautious and slow enough in icy conditions, there's no reason why you can't handle one in the winter months. For me, driving a steady 60km/h in an 80km/h zone on a straight road a year and a half ago, I almost lost control of the FWD Taurus I was driving. On a straight road. It doesn't matter what you drive, if you hit a lot of ice, there isn't a vehicle out there that going to save you. (By a lot of ice, I mean under all four wheels. It's not good when none of your wheels have traction with pavement.)
 

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Trucks have been on a slide here since the mid 90's. When I started selling in 1990 75% of our business was trucks now it is less than 50%. Gas prices disposable income and insurance rates are all playing a factor in the numbers I feel. So much of our hobbies here require a truck as well,hunting,fishing, snowmobiling and just going to the cabin.

That is a pretty hard hit for 1 month though but I do know the whole industery is off here in Canada.
 

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I can definately see the effects of the gas prices around here. Just looking on the highway, probably 75% of the vehicles are cars compared to what seemed like 50% last year. It was inevitable that the high gas prices would catch up to the truck sales.
 

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I live surrounded by the corn and bean fields of Indiana and if I took a drive and saw more cars than trucks I would be shocked. If you count large SUVs as trucks it would be a blowout.


FWD vehicles are much safer in winter weather than RWD. But RWD is much more fun when the road is clear and dry.
 

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Originally posted by ChevyHoosier@Jul 2 2004, 10:54 PM
I live surrounded by the corn and bean fields of Indiana and if I took a drive and saw more cars than trucks I would be shocked. If you count large SUVs as trucks it would be a blowout.


FWD vehicles are much safer in winter weather than RWD. But RWD is much more fun when the road is clear and dry.
I live up in North Dakota so it's predominantly trucks. Lately tho, cars are gaining.
 

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Originally posted by ChevyHoosier@Jul 2 2004, 05:54 PM
I live surrounded by the corn and bean fields of Indiana and if I took a drive and saw more cars than trucks I would be shocked. If you count large SUVs as trucks it would be a blowout.


FWD vehicles are much safer in winter weather than RWD. But RWD is much more fun when the road is clear and dry.
This is a common misconception. FWD is actually less safe than RWD in the winter given a properly trained driver. However, most current drivers have spent most of their time with FWD and thus don't understand how RWD is different. You can get away with silly "all-season" tires on a FWD car because there's a lot of weight over the drive wheels. But in a RWD car, you really need proper snow tires. Even on FWD, you should be using snow tires, but people think just because they get traction a bit easier in FWD, they can skimp on tires.

AWD is the most fun in the snow, but RWD is definately a lot of fun, too. Of course, tomorrow I'm buying a 2000 Buick Regal GS (S/C 3.8 4-speed auto FWD) if all goes well. That's going to be replacing my 1989 Audi 100 Quattro, which simply has too many electrical gremlins for me to deal with anymore. The engine and drivetrain in it are as strong as ever, and truly amazing for a vehicle with more than 184,000 miles on it. I'll miss the ability to drive right through 10-12" of snow, pull super-tight 360's in parking lots, and drift around turns effortlessly in snow and ice. But you know, having leather, good air conditioning that doesn't suck the power from the car, and a much more powerful engine are worth the trade-offs. Not to mention the warranty and Buick's great reliability.

I agree that trucks were probably experiencing a lot of growth because of the desire for RWD's more natural handling, and the bigger engines available. But I'll be glad when the majority of those vehicles are being driven by people who really do need those capabilities, and thus there are fewer on the road.
 

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Originally posted by doh@Jul 2 2004, 10:05 PM
North Western Ontario, # 1 vehicle 4x4 Ext Cab s.b 1/2 + 3/4 tons
North Western Ontario, # 1 vehicle 4x4 Ext Cab s.b 1/2 + 3/4 tons

Is that Thunder Bay , lived there from '79 to '85.
 

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FWD is actually less safe than RWD in the winter given a properly trained driver. However, most current drivers have spent most of their time with FWD and thus don't understand how RWD is different. You can get away with silly "all-season" tires on a FWD car because there's a lot of weight over the drive wheels. But in a RWD car, you really need proper snow tires.
You sure are attaching a lot of conditions to your statement that "FWD is actually less safe than RWD in the winter."

Take away any one of the conditions you're listing and your statement is FALSE.

For example, you need to be "properly trained." Of course, if it's your first time driving in snow on RWD, you don't have the proper training and will have to learn. Hope your car, or better yet you, survives the "training experience."

Oh yeah, you need snow tires with a RWD car in winter. Sounds fun to spend $ on an extra set of tires and put them on in the winter. Wonder if they'll fit the next RWD car I buy? :rudolph:

Wonder what happens when the snow melts in December but I still have to keep snow tires on due to possibility of more snow later? Gee, the ride really sucks when there's no snow, doesn't it? <_<

Yes, those FWD drivers with "crappy" all-seasons sure are fools. No tire changes, scan still drive in snow, not having to spend $ on extra tires, still having a good ride when the snow melts in winter . . . all terrible reasons. :woot2:
 

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I live in an area where if a new model comes out, you don't see it around here for a couple of months. This is a Ford Truck town and I didn't see anybody with a new F150 until about 3 weeks after appeared at dealers.( It's a Ford town because there is only a Ford dealer in the middle of town. But it seems the GM Trucks are getting more and more around here)
Anyways when the 300 came out I saw 2 in my town the same week they hit the dealers. So I can only guess that it is a HIT!
 

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First off, I really doubt anybody is switching from cars to pickups because of handling ability, regardless of what wheels are driven. There are a lot of other reasons, but I just don't see handling as one of them.

Second, I wouldn't necessarily say FWD is safer than RWD in snow, but having owned both, I would say that FWD just makes it a lot easier to get around. Trying to pull out into traffic when there is snow at the intersection is agonizing in a RWD, unless you carry around a lot of weight in the back. Just taking off from a stop light, you can get moving much easier with FWD than RWD. It's a convenience thing, not so much safety.
 

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Originally posted by ibechip+Jul 3 2004, 02:21 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (ibechip @ Jul 3 2004, 02:21 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-ChevyHoosier@Jul 2 2004, 10:54 PM
I live surrounded by the corn and bean fields of Indiana and if I took a drive and saw more cars than trucks I would be shocked.  If you count large SUVs as trucks it would be a blowout.


FWD vehicles are much safer in winter weather than RWD.  But RWD is much more fun when the road is clear and dry.
I live up in North Dakota so it's predominantly trucks. Lately tho, cars are gaining. [/b][/quote]
and a 4x4 is that much better.
 

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during heavy rain, snow, and ice it sure is nice to pull a lever or push a button. I feel much safer in a 4x4 pickup rather than a front wheel drive sedan. where i'm from almost all pickups are 4 wheel drive so there is no issue with rwd and fwd.
 

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Originally posted by airbalancer+Jul 3 2004, 12:31 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (airbalancer @ Jul 3 2004, 12:31 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-doh@Jul 2 2004, 10:05 PM
North Western Ontario, # 1 vehicle 4x4 Ext Cab s.b 1/2 + 3/4 tons
North Western Ontario, # 1 vehicle 4x4 Ext Cab s.b 1/2 + 3/4 tons

Is that Thunder Bay , lived there from '79 to '85. [/b][/quote]
250 miles west Fort Frances
 

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Originally posted by awalbert88@Jul 3 2004, 04:35 AM

This is a common misconception. FWD is actually less safe than RWD in the winter given a properly trained driver. However, most current drivers have spent most of their time with FWD and thus don't understand how RWD is different. You can get away with silly "all-season" tires on a FWD car because there's a lot of weight over the drive wheels. But in a RWD car, you really need proper snow tires. Even on FWD, you should be using snow tires, but people think just because they get traction a bit easier in FWD, they can skimp on tires.

AWD is the most fun in the snow, but RWD is definately a lot of fun, too. Of course, tomorrow I'm buying a 2000 Buick Regal GS (S/C 3.8 4-speed auto FWD) if all goes well. That's going to be replacing my 1989 Audi 100 Quattro, which simply has too many electrical gremlins for me to deal with anymore. The engine and drivetrain in it are as strong as ever, and truly amazing for a vehicle with more than 184,000 miles on it. I'll miss the ability to drive right through 10-12" of snow, pull super-tight 360's in parking lots, and drift around turns effortlessly in snow and ice. But you know, having leather, good air conditioning that doesn't suck the power from the car, and a much more powerful engine are worth the trade-offs. Not to mention the warranty and Buick's great reliability.

I agree that trucks were probably experiencing a lot of growth because of the desire for RWD's more natural handling, and the bigger engines available. But I'll be glad when the majority of those vehicles are being driven by people who really do need those capabilities, and thus there are fewer on the road.
How can you say FWD is less safe in snow and ice? its simple physics, pulling an axle behind you rather than tring to push an axle infront of you. and the weight being over the axle doing the work. Try hooking a team of horses behind the wagon and see if it works

I will agree that people used to drive only RWD and did pretty good but when FWD came everyone raved about how good the vehicle is in snow and ice before they got acustomed to driving it.

Me I don't understand how anyone drives a FWD or RWD in winter due to mine are 4x4 and AWD.
 

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Reading this thread, it sure feels like the momentum is shifting away from trucks, to which I say: Amen!

This is going to hit the (no longer quite as) Big 3 like a punch in the face. Thankfully, though, they turned their attention back to cars in the last 2-3 years, and they've got some good car-cars hitting the streets, and in the pipeline - the Chrysler 300s, the Ford 500 and (formerly) Futura, GM's Epsilons and Deltas and Sigmas. Let's hope it's enough to take up the slack.

Meanwhile, let's all sit back and admire Toyota and Nissan's timing with their moves into the big truck market. Neh, neh!
 

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FWD is great in the snow as far as getting through stuff, but....only if there is sufficient weight over the front. Start thinking about all those Honda Civics, Ford Foci, and Toyota Corollas out there with light weight 4 cylinder engines. These cars get thrown around like a hockey puck with the junk factory all seasons they come with.

If you move up a platform or too, say GM's W-body line, now you're talking significantly more weight up front over the wheels, and a more front bias weight distribution than the previously mentioned smaller vehicles. More weight, greater friction force for the contact patch of the tire.

Meanwhile, go and romp on these cars all summer long and see how often you should be rotating those tires, if not replacing them. Remember, all of your acceleration, braking and turning is happening on those two wheels...yeah, the ones with all the weight on them.

As for RWD, yeah, it can be a bit of a hassle. I've owned two 9c1 LT-1 powered Caprices in the last four years, and I will say unequivocally, that tires make a HUGE difference. My first had BFG Comp TAs (same as Impala SS) and they were the worst POSs in the snow. I was constantly stuck - they never could chew through anything. On the other hand, my second car, I had Goodyear GT4s on (OEM choice) and never had a problem in the snow or on ice.

All in all though, my choice last fall to buy a 99 Tahoe was made for a couple of key reasons, in order: 1-interior space, 2-RWD, 3- body on frame construction, 4-4WD availability.

A Tahoe (and similar SUVs) made sense to me b/c of those reasons. I still hate the mileage, handling and solid rear axle (esp. over expansion joints) over other choices, but those don't outweigh the virtues of the truck platform, which is really the remnant of the quintessential mid 20th century American built vehicle. Anyone who grew up learning to drive on say, an Olds Delta 88, knows where I'm coming from.

As for demand sliding now, let's keep in mind how much rebates and interest rates play into the new vehicle demand elasticity. Greenspan twitches his nose and people stop spending money. The current gas price has an effect too on people's preferences. Combine that with the fact that there's a solid "cross-over" product market that's meeting most people's expectations of size, comfort and power that is inherent in large truck/SUVs, and then adding more quality features that "civilize" the large truck platforms and yes, eventually there has to be decline in the sales of these.

Every manufacturer does this to themselves in the way of releasing newer products that offer greater efficiency, more features and better design over the previous generations and eventually replace those incumbent designs, thereby shifting the paradigm that meets consumer goals.

The real problem is when the newer products designed and released are no better than the vehicles they replace. Really now, isn't that when we all get the most upset?

For what it is worth... :type:
 
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