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IRVINE, Calif. — During the fourth quarter, new-vehicle shoppers' interest in truck, CUV and SUV segments was the highest it had been in almost three years, according to Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence's latest Brand Watch Study, which also indicated that domestic brands are gaining more attention from shoppers.

The 4Q 2009 Brand Watch Study indicates that during the final quarter of last year, consideration for new trucks was ahead of non-luxury sedans/coupes/hatchbacks. The last time this happened was the first quarter of 2007, officials noted.

What's more, trucks generated the most interest of any segment among new-vehicle shoppers.

Breaking truck consideration down by brand, Ford was No. 1 (57 percent), followed by Chevrolet (48 percent), GMC (36 percent) and Dodge (31 percent).

Among non-luxury SUV/CUV vehicles, GMC and Chevrolet also showed strong results. Interest in GMC was up 8 percentage points from the previous quarter, while Chevrolet saw a 6-point gain versus the third quarter.

Officials said "heavy promotion and interest" for GMC's Acadia and Terrain and their sister models at Chevrolet, the Traverse and Equinox, are the probable causes for the gain.

Meanwhile, Cadillac shared the top spot in the luxury SUV/CUV category with Lexus, as both brands had consideration of 37 percent.

Interest in Cadillac for this segment was up 9 percentage points, something KBB attributed to the redesigned SRX being marketed a great deal and grabbing shoppers' interest.

Among all segments, Ford was tops among all brands, as it had 28 percent consideration. Toyota was No. 2 (25 percent) followed by Chevrolet (24 percent).

"The latest Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence findings show how fickle American car buyers can sometimes be with regard to gas prices and the size of vehicles in which they show interest," suggested James Bell, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book's Kbb.com. 

"Now that gas prices have stabilized and there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel in the recession, vehicle buyers are back to their old ways — wanting the most/biggest car for their money," he continued. "Despite recent small-car introductions at auto shows and the changing landscape of lineups due to impending CAFE regulations, U.S. automakers are still perceived as king in the large-vehicle segment in America."