Auto sales have sunk to their lowest level in more than 15 years, but sales of SUVs held steady at their August level of 4.4 percent of the U.S. market. While large pickup trucks made up about 14 percent of vehicles sales, the highest level of the year, MSNBC reports.
SUVs and pickup trucks’ August sales rose 27 percent and 43 percent, respectively, compared with July.
Jesse Toprak, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com, told MSNBC that the rebound is due to high sales incentives, which hit a record $5,953 per unit in August; and declining fuel prices. For the first time in six months, the national average fell below $3.50 a gallon last week.
Lester Lave, a professor of economics at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, told MSNBC that he is skeptical the automotive market will return to the late 1990s, when the popularity of large pickup trucks and SUVs were at its peak. Lave says the move away from large vehicles is likely to be permanent as long as fuel prices do not drop significantly.
In June, Mercedes introduced what it touts as the cleanest diesel SUV in the U.S.