The NY Times is ready to throw the first shovel of dirt - and probably the last - on the large SUV, that most hated carbon emitter.
The fate of the Janesville, Moraine, and Newark plants was sealed this spring, when rising gas prices suddenly made S.U.V.’s unpopular, and long before President Bush approved $17.4 billion in emergency loans last week to keep G.M. and Chrysler out of bankruptcy.
While the overall new vehicle market has dropped 16 percent so far this year, sales of big S.U.V.’s have plummeted 40 percent.
As a father of three, who travels for ski trips, visits to friends in Pennsylvania, New York (both City and upstate), and vacations in Cape Cod on occasion, and whose daughters have friends along often for even those drives around town, I can safely say that the SUV is going nowhere. No vehicle I've seen combines the snow-worthiness, the room for tons of gear, the comfortable seating for children of all sizes, and the safety on hazardous roads of the large SUV. We have one, which we don't use everyday for routine driving. But it's great for getting to work in two feet of New Hampshire snow, along with those applications listed above.
Sales have dropped 40% - and will pick back up when a) the economy is better and b) gas prices fall. Oh, wait, we only need a) to happen now. GM, Chrysler and Ford better have contingency plans to ramp back up production in the future, or the Toyota Sequoia, Nissan Armada, Audi Q7, Infiniti QX56 and other similar vehicles will be the beneficiaries.