Analysis: Consumers Not Swaying from Large Trucks, SUVs in Times of Expensive Fuel


MIAMI - 

While it may seem like consumers would be inclined to hop out of larger SUVs and trucks during gas-price hikes like the one currently permeating the U.S., Americans haven’t lost their “appetite” for these heftier models, according to data from LeaseTrader.com and Edmunds.com.

In fact, LeaseTrader surveyed 500 drivers who — spurred by high fuel costs — transferred out of their SUV leases via LeaseTrader.com in 2008, and found that more than half (about 58 percent) have returned to the segment and are currently driving one.

Furthermore, the LeaseTrader and Edmunds data sets reveal that consideration levels for these larger segments is just as robust as it was three years ago.

Several segments have actually shown gains in consideration and market share. Take the large truck segment, for instance. According to Edmunds, its June 2008 market share was 7.8 percent. In February, it came in at 11.2 percent.

Consideration for these vehicles climbed from 2.8 percent to 3.8 percent in the same time period, Edmunds illustrated.

Additionally, LeaseTrader’s vehicle leasing consideration data showed that large traditional SUVs, large trucks, midsize SUVs and premium luxury SUVs all had higher consideration rates than they did in June 2008.

“Despite growing concerns about rising gas prices, interest in SUVs and large trucks remains relatively high,” explained Edmunds.com senior analyst Jessica Caldwell.

“Having watched consumers react to gas price fluctuations in the past, I am seeing that consumers are now less inclined to let the price at the pump affect their vehicle choices,” she added.

The following are charts provided by LeaseTrader and Edmunds to better illustrate these trends:

LeaseTrader: Vehicle Leasing Consideration Comparison Data

Segment June 2008 Consideration February 2011 Consideration
Large Traditional SUV 4.1 percent 4.4 percent
Large Truck 3.9 percent 4.1 percent
Midsize SUV 3.5 percent 3.8 percent
Premium Luxury SUV 4.2 percent 4.8 percent

Edmunds: Industry-Wide Vehicle Comparison Data

 

Segment June 2008 Market Share February 2011 Market Share June 2008 Consideration February 2011 Consideration
Large Traditional SUV 2.1 percent 2.1 percent 2.1 percent 2 percent
Large Truck 7.8 percent 11.2 percent 2.8 percent 3.8 percent
Midsize SUV 1.2 percent 1.7 percent 2.9 percent 3.5 percent
Premium Luxury SUV 0.4 percent 0.5 percent 0.6 percent 0.9 percent

 

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