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Old 12-12-2009, 02:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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huge SUVs, trucks, and crossovers

Anyone besides me think it's stupid that at this late date, with peak oil upon us, that the american car companies are still producing these stupidly huge suv's, pickup trucks, and crossover vehicles that get such horrible fuel economy? Discuss.
BTW, I drive a 1990 Acura Integra that has gotten an average 32 mpg over the last 10 years of driving.

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Old 12-12-2009, 02:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Peter B View Post
BTW, I drive a 1990 Acura Integra that has gotten an average 32 mpg over the last 10 years of driving.
32 MPG

It's ironic that the add displayed in my browser just below your post is for a Chebby Eqinox SUV with the words "The most fuel efficient crossover on the highway - EPA est 32 MPG Hwy ( FWD ) "

I wonder how many people take that bait.
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The simple facts are that Americans want to be: Better, "safer", and "cool."
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:21 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think they the manufacturers are slowly weening the general consumer off the the SUV (pigs on stilts) vehicles. The general consumer has been so heavily brained washed its going to take awhile.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:01 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think there is anything nefarious going on. The customer isn't "brainwashed" and the manufacturers aren't forcing anyone to buy anything.

Like any company, they're trying to build what the customer will buy with a profit.

If they build a car that has only the necessities, as little weight as possible and a low powered engine so it gets 50+ mpg, now they have to sell the consumer a small, featureless, low-powered car. For a profit. They still spent the same millions of dollars designing, testing, etc that they would have on a loaded, powerful, masculine vehicle that's just dripping with profit-driving features - but on a little econo car they just can't ask you for much money because then you'll complain about how ford's econo car is more expensive than hyundai's econo car.

Similar to the movie industry.. Hollywood could produce great movies for $30,000 - hell download "Star Wreck - in the Pirkinning" and see what <$25k buys, it might surprise you. But the average consumer is so used to seeing superstar faces, bleedingest-edge visual effects, and multimillion dollar sets that even if they tried to scale back their ludicrous budgets and sell you a movie for $3.50, the average consumer would complain about how hokey it LOOKS without bothering to notice the story and substance of a cheap film can be every bit as good as those on an expensive one.

As long as people keep forking over money for excess, it's here to stay.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:31 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonMPG View Post
The simple facts are that Americans want to be: Better, "safer", and "cool."
Of course those "facts" aren't really facts. As I keep having to point out (I guess some people just don't learn :-)) there are a LOT of Americans who don't want to drive huge SUVs &c - that's why the Detroit 3 have steadily been losing market share to the imports.

As for the ones who do buy them, better, safer, and cool just don't cut it as explanations. Any analysis of quality shows that the SUVs aren't better; there's a mountain of evidence showing they're not safer; and (though coolness is in the eye of the beholder) it's usually the exotic sports & muscle cars that are perceived as having that quality. SUVs are for soccer moms :-)
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:47 PM   #7 (permalink)
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SUVs are for soccer moms :-)
I have to figure that at some point, the early SUVs of America were utility vehicles like Jeep CJ's, Ford Broncos, and Toyota Landcruisers.. used chiefly by people who actually needed their braun and were happy to accept the compromise that they were fairly crude compared to the family sedan of the day. They became more comfortable and refined to attract a wider audience into showrooms, and more people began to buy them just to cart the kids back and forth - why? Because it really does feel good to feel capable - and SUV's feel capable. They knock a whole layer of "what if?" off your drive, so what if a rock rolled into the road from last night's rain? I can clear it!

The negative here is that as the SUV buyer shifted to soccer moms, the vehicles themselves have been getting more and more carlike, developing into the crossover thing we see today. This is good, because it's realistic to achieve 30+ mpg out of a crossover - they're effectively a station wagon with a couple extra inches of ground clearance. It's bad, because the men and women who actually wanted a utility vehicle all along are stuck using 20 year old iron because anything stout enough being sold today is saddled with $20,000 of extra "luxury" that the utility buyer doesn't need or want and often has compromises that make them unsuitable to use as a utility (less ground clearance, breakover angles, etc than their 1975 equivalent, etc)

As a twist of irony, we spend so much on our cars that we don't have the time or money to use them - like if you fancy yourself an outdoors kind of person and just signed up for a year's salary of debt to buy an Xterra, you might not have enough cash left over after your payments to drive 200 miles to the ski slopes or canyons at 15mpg (factoring some uphill driving and a bike/canoe/etc strapped to the roof) - so now your ruthless 4x4 machine with 80lb all terrain tires is shuttling you exclusively back and forth to the job that's paying for it.

We're funny creatures, us humans.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Of course those "facts" aren't really facts. As I keep having to point out (I guess some people just don't learn :-)) there are a LOT of Americans who don't want to drive huge SUVs &c - that's why the Detroit 3 have steadily been losing market share to the imports.

As for the ones who do buy them, better, safer, and cool just don't cut it as explanations. Any analysis of quality shows that the SUVs aren't better; there's a mountain of evidence showing they're not safer; and (though coolness is in the eye of the beholder) it's usually the exotic sports & muscle cars that are perceived as having that quality. SUVs are for soccer moms :-)
My statement had a hint of sarcasm, that I think most people on this site would have gotten.
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Old 12-12-2009, 04:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
I don't think there is anything nefarious going on. The customer isn't "brainwashed" and the manufacturers aren't forcing anyone to buy anything.

Like any company, they're trying to build what the customer will buy with a profit.
I guess I should have said that the manufactures did a awesome job on marketing the SUV and now the Crossover. The majority of the people that purchase these vehicles don't even use the main features of their design, well other then the cup holders.

I totally agree that the manufacturers make major profit on the SUV and Crossovers. Plus they also make big profits after the purchase of sale in chassis parts, tires, drive-train parts, body parts etc.
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Old 12-12-2009, 05:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I dont think its stupid. Some of us need them. I have a 1993 Suburban. We get 80 to 100+ inches of snow here in my part of Michigan and when I bought it we drove 15 miles of mostly unplowed road. We also have 4 kids, 2 dogs and a mother-in-law we cart around along with a 25 foot pontoon boat in the summer. We actually use it for what it was designed for, large towing capacity and large crowd to carry around. Now the suburban is dead and is going to cost me about $1000 bucks to repair, I decided to go ahead and get a smaller car for my 100+ mile daily commute instead of repairing it at this time to save gas, but we are now back to driving 2 cars when everyone wants to go out. Sure I miss the suburban and it is sitting in the garage waiting for repairs and I will get it back on the road at the begining of next year. Will I drive it daily again? no. Cost of gas was roughly 120-150 a week. Will I drive it once a week and on long trips hauling the boat, people and gear? Sure will. As for safe, yeah it is a safer vehicle. Don't believe me? Ask my insurance company. They raised my premium because the 96 contour was in their words "Less safe, because the suburban has more iron around it" even though the suburban had no air bags, 2 years older and was a "roll over" risk...so thats where I get the safer argument from, the insurance agency.

As for peak oil, I doubt we are there, if we ever get there. Yeah I said that. My sister works for a drilling company and she said ANWAR has more oil there then Saudi and they are finding new sources every year. Are these sources easy to get to? No, which makes them more expensive to extract. That's where the expense is coming from, the extraction, not so much "Peak oil". Peak oil has been predicted a lot of times since oil was discovered. Sort of like the end of the world argument. We have only explored less then 5% of the ocean floor, how can anyone predict peak oil if more then 95% of the ocean is still yet unexplored? Sure a majority of it is at huge depths but who would have predicted that we could have ever reached the oil reserves under the ocean we are using now back in the 30's or 40's?

Anyone ever heard about Abiotic oil?

Abiogenic petroleum origin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Who knows, it could be true I suppose. The part about finding hydrocarbons on other planets and moons is intriguing to me if hydrocarbons only come from plant/dino material.

Now don't get me wrong, I am all for getting off foreign oil and finding alternative cleaner, cheaper and more efficent sources of energy, not because of the abundance (or lack of) hydrocarbons, but its just the right thing to do.

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