For the first time ever, sales of crossovers and conventional sport-utility vehicles are outselling sedans, capping a nearly three decade-long transformation of the U.S. auto market.
When the first generation of sport-utility vehicles emerged in the post-War era they were largely aimed at professionals and outdoorsmen. By the 1980s, manufacturers began targeting more mainstream buyers. But it’s only in recent years that utility vehicles have become the products of choice for millions of American families.
Industry analysts say several factors have hastened that transformation. For one thing, newer crossover-utility vehicles offer more car-like, on-road manners than traditional SUVs. A new study also points to another critical factor: the increasingly small gap in fuel economy between utes and sedans. (more…)