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The SUV Is Dethroned

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the four-dollar-stake-through-the-engine dept.

Transportation 1234

Wired's Autopia blog documents what we all knew was coming: rising gas prices have killed off the SUV. Auto industry watchers had predicted that the gas guzzlers in the "light truck" category would lose the ascendancy by 2010; no one expected their reign to end in a month, in the spring of 2008. Toyota, GM, Ford, and now Nissan have announced they will scale back truck and SUV production and ramp up that of smaller passenger cars. Of course there will always be a market for this class of vehicle, but its days on the top of the sales charts are done. "'All of our previous assumptions on the full-size pickup truck segment are off the table,' Bob Carter, Toyota division sales chief said last week during a conference call with reporters. Translation — we have no idea how low they'll go."

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Good riddance! (5, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720543)

Still, I have to see it to believe it. The current generation of SUVs will inevitable end up in the hands of young drivers. Those will be even less aware of the extra dangers a SUV presents while being in traffic. The SUV craze will have a significant impact for the years to come.

I urge anyone who owns an SUV and/or considers buying one to read "Big And Bad" by Malcolm Gladwel [gladwell.com] .

Re:Good riddance! (5, Insightful)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720569)

The current generation of SUVs will inevitable end up in the hands of young drivers. Those will be even less aware of the extra dangers a SUV presents while being in traffic.

Fortunately, these young people will not be able to afford to drive these out of their driveway.

Any SUV owners reading this? Look forward to watching the second hand sale value of your vehicle plummet even while fuel costs rise to the point where you can no longer afford to drive your (now) useless vehicle.

Don't like it? Bad luck. You can't say you weren't warned.

Re:Good riddance! (-1, Troll)

Soporific (595477) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720821)

Wow, your moniker really fits your personality.

Even at $10 a gallon, I'll still enjoy driving my 6K lb vehicle into your latte sipping, bike riding, Mac toting, whining, holier than thou self. And hey, when you are flat on the road, with your (now) useless body don't say I didn't warn you with my horn.

Kisses.

~S

Re:Good riddance! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720955)

Speaking of usernames, it'd be good for everyone involved if your doctors upped your meds so you'd change from borderline sociopath to soporific.

He states facts in a most mildly inflammatory way while still making his viewpoint known - SUV resale values are going down hard as gas prices go up - and you answer by looking forward to killing people with your unnecessarily oversized vehicle. You do realize that you exemplify most (and perhaps all, though we're lacking some information) of the negative stereotypes of people who drive SUVs, don't you?

Re:Good riddance! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23721017)

So I can't be inflammatory back? Do you really think I or any other SUV/Truck owner drives over people on a daily basis or something? For someone to sit there and gloat about me or others losing 10-15K on something I think is screwed up.

Re:Good riddance! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23721075)

Bicycle riders are self-righteous.

Re:Good riddance! (3, Interesting)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721087)

Even at $10 a gallon, I'll still enjoy driving my 6K

At $10/gallon, you're SUV is going to be worth more as scap than a car. Do you enjoy burning $1000 bills? 'cause with your SUV purchase, you've burned about 10 of them.

Oh - and what do you think's going to happen to real estate prices on your (public transport isolated) street once gas prices hit just $5/gallon? Your house will never be worth what you paid for it - and you won't be able to afford to drive between their & your work place.

Makes the $10k you lost on your SUV look like chump change, but again - you can't say no one warned you.

Big Wet Sloppy Kisses.

Re:Good riddance! (5, Insightful)

mark72005 (1233572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720841)

I own a Jeep. Gas mileage is pretty bad but it's paid off so I don't mind too much.

I'd like to drive a hybrid, but the premium is too high for it to make sense. I would consider trading off for a 4cyl car, but again, mine is paid off. Suppose I'll drive it until it dies.

And heck, gas would need to get a lot higher than it is for it to be worth financing another car when you factor in a monthly payment.

Re:Good riddance! (2, Insightful)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720975)

Make an even trade with someone?

Re:Good riddance! (1)

beav007 (746004) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721035)

They would need a buyer who is happy to trade functionality for form, and pay extra for it on top.

Is the Jeep white, perchance?

Re:Good riddance! (5, Insightful)

darkgreen (599556) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720873)

I'd like for you to be right, but the reality of it is that people will always pay for what they think is important. In this case, the idea of an SUV is very important to a lot of people.

The importance is, for most owners, a necessary expense. The SUV is essentially a face-saving minivan. Guys and girls who wake up one day realizing that they have 2.5 children and a hockey game or ballerina class to chauffeur around on saturday mornings need to feel like they haven't yet abandoned their youthful carefree lifestyle.

The SUV is a way to convince themselves that they are something they're not.

For the record, I don't think there's anything wrong with ending up with the kids and white picket fence. I think it's a problem when you try and ignore or cover it with your choice of vehicle.

Re:Good riddance! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23721067)

Oh doom and gloom! We were sooooo wrong to buy a SUV in the first place, and you saw it coming!

Some of us actually use our SUVs to, you know, go have some fun and haul things.

I for one look forward to cheap sources of truck parts and etc for hacking on.

Your car is too fat. Uncle Sam needs to trim it. (3, Interesting)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720627)

Over the last ten years cars have gotten so big, normal people can't ride their bikes on the same roads. A $5/gallon diet seems to be curing the problem.

The SUV is the end result of American car maker plans from the late 1960s. In order to keep their growth they had to sell larger, ever more expensive cars. The gas crisis of the mid 70s and air polution studies only partly derailed those plans. Regulation helped a lot. 20 years of cheap gas followed by corrupt government and import restrictions gave us the SUV craze. Further corruption gave us really expensive gas, which is going to solve the problem.

Further regulation is needed to avoid the inevitable resurgence of these monsters. We all deserve better road safety and air quality.

Re:Your car is too fat. Uncle Sam needs to trim it (4, Insightful)

XanC (644172) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720671)

Okay, twitter, let me see if I can follow your logic:


The problem was caused by government, government, and then government. Demonstrating the common affliction of irrational faith in government, your solution is now more government!

Sure, government is responsible. (5, Insightful)

westbake (1275576) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720829)

Here's a list of government problems, mostly anti-trust issues and corporate welfare:

  • Allowing anti-comptitive practices that consolidated automobile making into three companies.
  • Allowing GM to kill streetcars and other electric vehicles.
  • Protecting their favorite companies from imports like the VW Bug, and later Japanese economy cars.
  • Allowing GM to kill modest safety improvements at Ford
  • Bailing out bankrupt companies in the late 70s and 80s.

Regulation that makes sense:

  • Safety standards as measured by crash tests
  • Emissions controls as measured by calibrated machinery at break tag stations
  • Fuel economy standards.

The contnued availability of cheap cars from Japan show that the technology to do all of the above has been around for more than 30 years and it's not terribly expansive. Instead of promoting such things, government has been busy supporting companies that rip us all off. That's a crime.

Westbake == Twitter sock-puppet. (5, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721055)

Irony: Using a sock-puppet account to complain about other people's dishonesty.

Uncle Sam is too fat. You need to trim it. (5, Insightful)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720807)

Larger government only makes more holes for corruption to hide in. Laws in this way are a lot like computer code, the more complex they become the more places bugs can hide.

If you want to cut down on corruption, simplify the laws and reduce the role of government.

Re:Uncle Sam is too fat. You need to trim it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23721021)

Larger government only makes more holes for corruption to hide in. Laws in this way are a lot like computer code, the more complex they become the more places bugs can hide.

If you want to cut down on corruption, simplify the laws and reduce the role of government.
Nonsense. Regulations are the most effective compensator for corruption that the social democrats have at their disposal. Getting rid of them is like removing all the bounds checking and input sanitizing in your code, on the premise that fewer lines of code means fewer places to check for bugs. While that's certainly true, it's stupid. Without that oversight, any bugs that slip through will be disastrous.

  I'm an anarchist. If you want to get rid of corruption in high places, I say we start by getting rid of high places, and then we can worry about getting rid of all the arcane laws governing them. (A bonfire or landfill will work at that point.)
  Read a book, you damn Libertarian Party geeks! Maybe you'll learn how to argue more effectively against government, so Joe Public will stop looking at you like you've sprouted antennae and started speaking pig latin.

Re:Your car is too fat. Uncle Sam needs to trim it (2, Insightful)

HillBilly (120575) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720839)

US petrol prices are not all that high compared to other western countries. Its just that US made cars are not effecient.

Re:Good riddance! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720743)

"The current generation of SUVs will inevitable end up in the hands of young drivers."

What can you do? Require a CDL for the driver and commercial tags for any "light truck"* over 4000 pounds. Businesses get to keep the vehicles it needs and makes it a pain to comply for others. BTW, it lowers the OUI BAC limit from .08 to .03 (that's like one drink).

The truth is no one will feel comfortable driving a 2k lb Lotus-sized car knowing Junior's behind them with a 15 year, 8500lb Excursion that could crush them in one shot. Taking SUVs off the road needs to be done.

* There is a clear boundary between SUVs and minivans like five mile-an-hour bumpers, safety bars in the doors, etc..

No problem really... (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720765)

I started an oil company. My Jeep gets 14 litres per hundred clicks and I laugh all the way to the bank with the oil cheques.

Re:Good riddance! (1)

Sitnalta (1051230) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721057)

That's really the parent's fault if they can't teach their kids to drive responsibly. An SUV isn't any more dangerous than a passenger car as long as you understand its limitations... sadly people rarely bother to pay heed to the instruction manual.

Guess those SUV drivers will be SECOND in line (1)

clayne (1006589) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720557)

At the pumps now, won't they?

This is how economics is supposed to work! (4, Insightful)

compumike (454538) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720573)

Not via regulation or per-category taxes that artificially manipulate, but by consumers adjusting their buying habits as costs change. If SUVs are too expensive to own, people will stop buying them and trade to more fuel-efficient vehicles. Is that really too crazy to ask?

Also interesting to see whether the trend of people sensing safety while in those large vehicles will continue... Not so easy to go back to sedans while there are so many dangerous SUVs (tanks) out there on the roads, eh?

--
Hey code monkey... learn electronics! [nerdkits.com]

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720649)

Also interesting to see whether the trend of people sensing safety while in those large vehicles will continue...

Or whether it will be replaced by a sense of embarrassment.

I used to curse the Soccer-moms driving around in their BMW X5's to pick up a single toddler from kindergarten and drive 800 meters to their house. But now, I smile, knowing what a stupid waste of money it really was.

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720675)

Unfortunately this doesn't apply to all SUV drivers. What I sometimes see from SUV drivers is aggressive driving and overtaking, which is more difficult to do with a sedan.

These people cannot be controlled by market, but simply like power and are willing to spend the extra bucks to get it.

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (3, Insightful)

ryanov (193048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720973)

If you can't overtake a truck with a sedan, you're driving the wrong sedan. :)

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720677)

It took too long for the market to regulate itself. Higher taxes that type of vehicle might have kept a lot of them off the road - something that would have been in everybody's interest.
Well, at least it worked that way in Europe ^_^

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (4, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720789)

Luckily it did. Our roads are not made for cars as big as houses. SUV's are like the old iPhone: they seem to promise a lot, but when you look more closely you see that they don't perform well in any category. They only look good, if you're into ridiculously big outrageous cars.

I hate SUVs with a passion. Glad to see them go.

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720909)

Not so much higher standards as just closing the CAFE loophole.

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720715)

Your point would be valid if the externalities of SUV ownership were applied when purchasing an SUV. However, when the cost of your decision is subsidized, how exactly is the free market supposed to correct itself?

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720913)

Exactly. You can buy a big polluting car and I have to pay for the results of your decision.

For example, heavier SUVs tear up the roads quicker. Is it fair for me in my half ton compact to pay my taxes for the wear you put on the roads in your 2+ ton SUV. Maybe we should find some way to categorize vehicles by weight and tax them accordingly.( *gasp* - would that be a "per-catagory tax"?)

Also, I will be just as affected by global warming as you are even though you have contributed more to it.

See... thats why free markets suck. Anything that can not be monetized is ignored or taken advantage of.

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720733)

I've noticed a drastic use in the number of motorcyclists around my little corner of Texas. My little crotch rocket gets 55-60 MPG and let me tell you about the fly honeys... Always asking why I gots a penguin air-brushed on my fuel tank.

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (2, Funny)

vigmeister (1112659) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721053)

Always asking why I gots a penguin air-brushed on my fuel tank.
And then you explain it to them and they swoon and give you their AIM s/n and you go home and cyber!

Cheers!

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (0)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720831)

The problem is that with pure cost based economics, there's no way to undo harmful market effects, whereas with taxes, a government can always adjust the tax rate or even reverse them if the effects on society turn out to be undesirable.

No it's not (1, Insightful)

scenestar (828656) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720901)

This is going to cost me karma, but goddammit it has to be said.

"If SUVs are too expensive to own, people will stop buying them and trade to more fuel-efficient vehicles."

What your short sighted mind doesn't seem to comprehend is the regulatory function of the government. It can define the rules and
levels out the playing field when the free market fails to regulate itself.
SUV's are the epitome of consumer irresponsibility with these behemoths causing problems related to pollution [sierraclub.org] as well as road safety [nytimes.com] and Political Instability [iags.org]

With the "free market" continuously failing to address these "externalities" it is a surprise to me that no action has been taken before in the past. These asshole vehicles should have been taxed the fuck out of ages ago to make them as expensive and unattractive as possible

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (5, Insightful)

tronbradia (961235) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720903)

Not via regulation or per-category taxes that artificially manipulate, but by consumers adjusting their buying habits as costs change.
The problem with your idealization of market capitalsm is the problem that gas-guzzling and dangerous SUV's create externalities in terms of environmental destruction, dependence on foreign oil, and injury to others on the road, which the buyers don't pay for. Except for the latter which might be paid for in insurance costs, none of these elements factor into the price or operation of the vehicle. They weren't then and they're not now.

I get suspicious too when I hear about targeted taxes and subsidies. It's dangerous ground on which to tread. I always hope for economically sensible policies, and of course am usually disappointed. But reasonable policies that take advantage of natural market forces by making users pay for their externalities do have a place.

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (2, Insightful)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720925)

Yes - as long as the cost you pay for gasoline is the true cost, including externalities like its effect on the environment. Which will be a bit higher than just the cost of getting it out of the ground.

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (1)

$lanza (415765) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721005)

So, some government intervention in the form of higher CAFE standards wouldn't have helped this situation at all? The auto makers (at least American) would be in much better shape if the government could have provided the leadership that Detroit sorely lacks. This isn't a market victory - the market is barely limping over the finish line, years after the race concluded.

If industry can't provide sound leadership, government is the only other alternative. The masses certainly aren't fit to lead.

Re:This is how economics is supposed to work! (2, Insightful)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721061)

This is how economics is supposed to work! Not via regulation or per-category taxes that artificially manipulate, but by consumers adjusting their buying habits as costs change.

But the OPEC countries do a lot of artificial manipulation of oil prices in the first place, so this isn't pure market either.

I think scenestar and tronbradia above debunked the rest of your arguments pretty well.

Environmental impact. (2, Interesting)

remmelt (837671) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721089)

Where does the environment fit in? All that burned gas produces a lot of CO2. CO2 is bad, but not immediately so. Your free market won't save you or your kids from cancer.

In a perfect world, the free market is a pretty good idea. In a world where most of the inhabitants are irresponsible, arrogant and self-centered assholes, it just doesn't work that well.

i'll still drive my hummer (3, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720575)

you can keep your prius and save enough gas so i can continue to run over baby seals with my H2.

Re:i'll still drive my hummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720655)

Yes, and you'll continue to be looked upon as a complete cunt. *shrug* It's your life.

Re:i'll still drive my hummer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720971)

Hey look the pretentiousness turnpike is coming up, time to get on!

Re:i'll still drive my hummer (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720703)

Good, some of those vehicles must stay on the road - how else are oil companies supposed to continue funding their quest for world domination?

Re:i'll still drive my hummer (4, Funny)

The Evil Couch (621105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720917)

You should have gotten the H2 option to use flexible fuels, like baby seals; then you'd be killing two birds with one stone.

Re:i'll still drive my hummer (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721033)

I'm sure you meant to say "Two seals with one truck"!

Re:i'll still drive my hummer (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721065)

a hummer that burns baby seals for fuel - just blew my load.

This is the silver lining (4, Insightful)

jfern (115937) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720579)

In having 2 Texas oil men (Bush & Cheney) running this country.

And may I be the first to say... (2, Insightful)

IorDMUX (870522) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720585)

...good riddance.

Re:And may I be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720797)

you apparently didn't read the first post, who said that first. 1st.

Re:And may I be the first to say... (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720961)

you apparently didn't read the first post, who said that first. 1st.
I like that. A post about redundancy that contains its own in-built redundancy.

Stupid Ford (3, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720589)

For the past several years, they've been busy killing off their Ranger line of small trucks in favor of of the F-150 line of "giant trucks that don't fit in my garage."

I use my Ranger mostly as a commuter vehicle, but we need a truck for weekend projects like landscaping and hauling stuff. I'd never even consider commuting with a gas guzzler like an F-150.

I hope they figure this out before they close their last Ranger lines down.

Re:Stupid Ford (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720693)

Unloaded, my standard-cab Ranger weighs "nothing", and is the most fuel-efficient vehicle I've ever driven.

Re:Stupid Ford (5, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720725)

Ford's not the only one, Dodge was doing it too. It's a cost cutting measure: Why make two models of trucks when the market really only supports one. If you have to make a choice, you keep the bigger one that meets the requirements of the commercial market. I suppose you could argue that they should keep the smaller one and kill the F-150. Then commercial users could be steered to the F250 and F350. However, sales numbers on the F-150 were MUCH stronger than those of the Ranger. Same argument applies to the Dodge Ram 1500 and the Dodge Dakota. GM's volume is higher on the Chevy S-10; and, it's made in a joint GM / Isuzu plant anyway; so, it impacts GM less.

Re:Stupid Ford (2, Informative)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721069)

GM's volume is higher on the Chevy S-10

I kinda doubt that since the S-10 isn't made anymore. It's been replaced by the Colorado, no idea where they're made. I suppose your point still stands that they must do enough volume that they replaced the S-10 with something, but I just thought I'd throw that out there.

Re:Stupid Ford (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720825)

Ranger is not dead. They are selling them in the more fuel price-conscious areas like Europe. So all Ford needs to do is turn around and shift back production. It also has a reasonable lineup of fuel efficient cars made for EU. While I may think that Focus, Fusion and the Fiasco are crap they are what Joe Average Consumer likes. Ditto for GM.

So as a matter of fact this will not hurt most the American car industry that much (and if Crysler dies this is for the good of the humanity, about bloody time).

However, it looks like GM, Ford, etc are quite obviously using this is as a convenient scapegoat to trim the fat and close a few surplus factories instead of retooling them for small car production.

I have not followed the USA political scene for a while, but this is happening very close to elections and is baring some striking similarities with the things that happened in Pittsburgh and other steel industry centers when Bush got elected for the first time.

Re:Stupid Ford (2, Insightful)

ryanov (193048) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721001)

Every weekend? I'm not arguing with you, I just heard an interesting point on NPR's CarTalk I believe it was. Someone called in asking about a pickup and the guys asked him what he was going to use it for. He said, well, commuting mostly, but I want to haul things sometimes. The guys asked, why not buy a commuter vehicle and occasionally rent a truck? It wouldn't come out cheaper for everyone (and if the Ranger does get as good mileage as a similar small car, then it doesn't really matter), but for most I'd suspect it would, especially when you can rent a pickup at Home Depot for very cheap for a little while.

SUVs were always a missed opportunity. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720591)

Trucks and SUVs should have been the first vehicles to realize the slow gains of hybrid technologies. Who wouldn't want the extra torque in a vehicle sold on it's ability to tow? Would wouldn't want the ability to produce electricty on demand with optional factory inverter in a machine sold on it's ability work anywhere, play anywhere? And who wouldn't want to pay less at the pump thanks to a smart engine which turns off cylinders it doesn't need given the task at hand. The car companies, particularly American ones, didn't understand what wealth is, and didn't try to return it to their customers. At least the Japanese companies have the excuse of not understanding the peculiarities of the American lifestyle, and had to chase down a once booming economic segment of their market.

That the car manufactures executives don't owe shareholders money, much less recieve compensation at all, is an afront to anyone who's ever put in 15 minutes of honest work in their life.

Re:SUVs were always a missed opportunity. (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720735)

Yeah, I said the same thing down below. What is really sad about this, is that American companies COULD take the lead, but they will not. This idea will be realized by either tesla or one of the japanese companies. My guess is that Nissan will do it. The reason is that they will realize that these trucks NEED to continue. Sadly, this is a great opportunity for a start-up business. Build the frame, use some of the standard motors on each drive shafts, a standard engine/generator, a small amount of li-ion batts and then a cabin. The back end could be a delivery truck, a standard flat bed, a regular truck bed, a camper, a bus, etc. This is actually a golden time for small start-ups. Heck, if smart, they would hook up with musk as he has the bulk of it; just focus on frame and cabin.

Trikes (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720597)

I can't seem to remember where I found them, but I remember seeing a "trike" with two wheels in front and one behind. It was basically a motorcycle with a personal cabin that was AC cooled. Not bad looking.

I wouldn't mind driving one of those for my daily commute.

Re:Trikes (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720667)

Not sure if these have AC, but I'd buy one of these. http://www.aptera.com/ [aptera.com]

Re:Trikes (1)

matt_martin (159394) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720853)

Would buy an Aptera today if were available, oh and in my state.
Doubt my old clunker is going to hold on long enough for any other realistic plug-in hybrid to hit the road.
Just gonna have to buy one of those huge SUV's for sale real cheap.
Blah.

rtfa (2, Interesting)

imneverwrong (1303895) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720601)

The end of the SUV...being used as a soccer-mom's vehicle of choice, yes. And about time too. Of course, they won't go away anytime soon - lots of people actually do need a rigid-frame, 4WD vehicle (e.g. several hundred thousand Australian and NZ farmers). The right tool for the right job, as always!

perhaps we'll see more these (2, Interesting)

unspokenchaos (1295553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720621)

http://www.teslamotors.com/ [teslamotors.com]

Re:perhaps we'll see more these (1)

superdave80 (1226592) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720761)

You want to see more $100k vehicles? Must be nice to be so rich.

For that amount, I could buy a 30k 'gas-guzzler', and buy enough $5/gallon gas to drive it 200k miles, and still have change left over.

Personally, I'm waiting for Chevy to come out with their Volt electric hybrid. Plug it in at night, 40 mile range on all electric, and then the on-board generator kicks in to recharge your battery (50 miles/gallon) for any trips longer than that.

Very easy to bring them back (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720659)

All these companies have to do is change them over to a serial hybrid esp for trucks. The reason is that the serial hybrid is perfect for working as a generator. A construction worker can drive to the job site and then use their batteries/hybrid as power for the job sites.

My guess is that one of these companies will get smart and soon deliver just this. It should have enough batteries to last at least 10-20 miles and 2 small generator-motors. The reason for 2 is that the likelihood of 2 motors dying are slim. And only one would be needed to cruise a truck with load. From a business POV, it would make sense to buy these if they could reduce their delivery costs or have dual use on them. From the automakers POV, the 2 small generators-motors may be the exact type that is going in their cars. IOW, fewer number of unique parts. Heck, the truck could use 2 motors identical from 1 taken from a car hybrid.

Re:Very easy to bring them back (1, Insightful)

nfras (313241) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720795)

All these companies have to do is change them over to a serial hybrid esp for trucks. The reason is that the serial hybrid is perfect for working as a generator. A construction worker can drive to the job site and then use their batteries/hybrid as power for the job sites.
My guess is that one of these companies will get smart and soon deliver just this.
Ah, you forget that you are dealing with American car companies. Guessing that they will get smart is not a good bet considering they have been getting dumber by the day for the past 40 years. Find me an innovative, exciting car company which is producing cars that lead the market and you won't find GM or Ford in the top ten.
I think your idea is very good and makes sense. I would bet $100 that the first to market will be a Japanese car company, probably Toyota.

Re:Very easy to bring them back (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720837)

Well, I posted earlier on another one, [slashdot.org] in which I say just about the same thing. THough to be honest, I suspect that it will be Tesla or Nissan. Nissan is currently ran by a middle eastern guy who brought it back from the dead. Pretty good thinker in that one. In addition, he is the one who is pushing to have SEVERAL full EVs in production by 2010. Nissan is looking ahead. But I do think that Musk may choose to do it as well. It is cheap and easy to get out the door if they use common parts from white star. All that is needed is a frame and a cabin. Makes it quick and easy to do.
Kind of weird to see more auto manufacturing in the USA be in deep south as well as new mexico.

Serial hybrids (2, Informative)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720863)

All these companies have to do is change them over to a serial hybrid ...
Ah, you forget that you are dealing with American car companies. Guessing that they will get smart is not a good bet considering they have been getting dumber by the day for the past 40 years. Find me an innovative, exciting car company which is producing cars that lead the market and you won't find GM or Ford in the top ten.
GM is commited to producing the Chevy Volt, and Volvo ( owned by Ford ) is devloping the Recharge AKA the hybrid C30 in Camarillo, Ca.

Dude! (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720661)

Destruction derbies are going to be so awesome in a couple months time, once value of the bigger SUVs drops to scrap value. They still have those things, don't they? I always saw them advertised on TV when I lived in Alabama in the 80's.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Dude! (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720755)

But of course! [dixiespeedway.com]

tm

SUVs aren't dead (0)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720679)

They just call them "crossovers" now. Seriously, it's all marketing.

Proof [streetfire.net]

Re:SUVs aren't dead (4, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720787)

They just call them "crossovers" now. Seriously, it's all marketing.
Really? That's queer, where I live we still call them cars with big trannies (for short).

Re:SUVs aren't dead (2, Insightful)

ryszard99 (1193131) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720881)

That's queer, where I live we still call them cars with big trannies
this means something totally different in my part of the world. ;-)

Re:SUVs aren't dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720995)

I think that was the joke. Crossover, tranny, queer.

A big "duh" to the auto industry (5, Insightful)

freeweed (309734) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720685)

I never realized that I was psychic, but how could Detroit not have seen this coming?

Up here in the Great White North it's been a constant barrage of news stories: truck plants closing unexpectedly in Ontario, tens of thousands out of work. Apparently neither GM nor Ford actually anticipated a) fuel prices rising this high and b) consumers actually (gasp!) shopping for fuel economy as a result. Almost as if the 1970s never happened.

The other interesting thing is that hybrids are just about sold out entirely in western Canada. Months long waiting lists. Not so surprising, as I'm sure the auto industry never produced *that* many compared to regular cars. What is surprising is that Honda Civics are also sold out all over the place.

All of this followed by nightly news stories of these poor SUV drivers who are scrambling to replace their vehicles - only to discover the resale is next to nothing (I heard a report claiming used SUV prices are down 30% in the past month or two alone), and smaller vehicles are getting hard to find. Again, DUH. Economists, the oil industry - damn near everyone has been predicting this for YEARS. Everyone except the auto industry. I hope Ford and GM go bankrupt for their shortsightedness.

Re:A big "duh" to the auto industry (4, Insightful)

QuasiEvil (74356) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720877)

No kidding. *I* saw this coming years ago (read: 2003), and dumped my two Suburbans while they were still worth something on the used market. I kept my pickup until early last year, when I "gave" it to my ex as part of the settlement. She can't afford to sell it, and can't afford to fill it. Yeah, I'm still grinning ear-to-ear on that one. Book values were still high in early 2007...

Now I drive my 15 year old Civic most days, and I have my CR-V for those times that I need AWD / greater clearance / etc.

The real answer is that the American auto companies got complacent and lazy while the trucks were selling well. They made a ton of profits, built generally good products (my GM truck was about the most reliable thing I've ever owned, considering the rough service life it saw) and ignored R&D for the inevitable price spike in fuel. They're getting exactly what they deserve - years of profit-taking with little investment in innovation, and the market is now crushing them. Market forces at work, folks.

Re:A big "duh" to the auto industry (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720981)

Up here in the Great White North it's been a constant barrage of news stories: truck plants closing unexpectedly in Ontario, tens of thousands out of work. Apparently neither GM nor Ford actually anticipated a) fuel prices rising this high and b) consumers actually (gasp!) shopping for fuel economy as a result. Almost as if the 1970s never happened.

The problem is, I don't see anybody actually changing their habits. Instead of buying fuel-efficient vehicles and trying to drive fewer miles (or, God forbid, ride a bicycle for shorter trips), people are just whining. As if cheap gas was a right bestowed on all American citizens. I saw a bumper sticker the other day: "Don't buy gas from Chevron until it's back to $2.00." Of course, I paraphrase (the amount is correct). Wow dude, you're making a real statement there.

People are going to have to understand the new reality. Energy isn't free. You do NOT have the right to drive a tank, and you do NOT have the right to go anywhere, at any time, for any distance, on the cheap. What's sad is that public transportation is not keeping up. The infrastructure isn't there. My family went downtown on Sunday for a festival, and we decided to drive two miles to the light rail station and take the train into town. I looked at the ticket price, and realized that it would have actually been cheaper to just drive into town, and that's including the parking fees.

This country just isn't set up to deal with expensive gasoline. There's no way we're going to catch up, at least in the near term (next few years). And in the meantime, people are just going to whine and petition the government to come up with some bullshit strategy to bail them out. It's sickening.

Re:A big "duh" to the auto industry (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721041)

Everyone wanted to make SUVS because customers were willing to pay high prices for them. The profit margins were quoted as an order of magnitude over cars. People were willing to pay this money because just like a junk food buffet, the product is crap buy you get a lot of crap for your money.

However, what seems to have people hard is the lack of funds to drive these cars. A small toyota still only costs maybe $2000 a year in gas, where an SUV will costs twice that. What is insane is that families who do not even make a median wage were convinced they could afford such a vehicle. These same families were probably also convinced that they could own a home with an interest only loan. In any case, many families seem to have a vehicle they cannot afford, and others realize that that no matter how cheap the SUV may seem, the real cost of ownership is out of their means.

As far as knowing for a long time that oil extraction was going to peak, and then we would need to start planning, I think that is true. Certainly in the late 80's there was much literature say that we would begin to peak in 20 to 25 years. Of course these calculation did not predict a rise in prices to the point where is was profitable to drill and reclaim oil for low grade deposits, nor did it account for technology that allowed for more sophisticated extraction.

But the real things that seemed to be missed was the introduction of millions of new drivers, who are not so sensitive to prices because they do not drive very far, or have efficient cars. So, even though these drivers are making a quarter of what an American would, many use a tenth of the gas Americans do. And they compete with us in the commodity market. Many of them can afford $5 a gallon, because they will use a few gallons a week. So where do you think the gas will go. Would you rather sell 50 gallans at $5 dolalrs a gallon, or 100 at $4, at probably the same profit.

A forlorn hope (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720691)

There are, one supposes, a few cases where the advantages of an SUV overcome their lousy handling, high center of gravity, awful fuel consumption, and the fact that vehicle size seems to be inversely correlated with driver intelligence -- at least when it comes to personal transportation.

Fine. Really.

The world should have maybe a fifty year supply of these vehicles if we count the ones currently on the road, in the showrooms, and in the manufacturing pipeline. Would it not make more sense to treat them as a resource to be conserved rather than a liability to be lived with? What I'm suggesting is that manufacturers quit making them and shut down the production lines in an orderly fashion. The ones actually on the road that aren't being used in an application where they make sense be bought at a fair price. The vehicles themselves be mothballed, stored someplace in the Mojave or Sahara and gradually be released to market over many decades.

That won't happen of course because the human race is far to silly, stupid, arrogant and poorly led to pull it off. But it seems worth thinking about why it won't happen or even considered as a desirable option.

Jeeps are selling well in Canada (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720739)

I see new Jeeps everywhere and few new trucks. I guess the smaller (baby) trucks - which are what sells in the rest of the world - will dethrone the full size trucks in the USA.

Not surprised (5, Informative)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720741)

I'm not surprised. For the month of May '08, the Honda Civic dethroned the Ford F-150 [autoblog.com] as the best selling U.S. vehicle. The F-150 was the best selling vehicle in the U.S. for the past 17 years.

Ford saw it's SUV and truck sales drop a whopping 44% last month. That's huge.

High petrol prices a tax on stupidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720749)

> lots of people actually do need a rigid-frame, 4WD vehicle (e.g. several hundred thousand Australian and NZ farmers).

In Australia there is a tax break on SUVs (aka 4WD) supposed to help primary producers, but the same tax break is given to hordes of suburban 4WD's driven by Mum picking up the groceries and running the kids around. Besides the massive amounts of petrol they gulp down, they're basically a small truck which in the hand of bad drivers (there are many) are killers. Five-year-old Bethany Holder was run over in her school grounds by one Mrs Joan Waterhouse. Waterhouse was driving too fast in an area where the kids heads wouldn't even show up above the bonnet. Unless you regularly go off-road (once a year doesn't count), you don't need a vehicle like this. http://www.smh.com.au/news/Opinion/The-right-to-drive-is-not-a-right-to-kill/2005/05/18/1116361614901.html [smh.com.au]

The government never removed the SUV/4WD tax break for fear of alienating SUV/4WD owners.

Good Riddance to the SUV/4WD. We've known petrol was going to keep climbing in price, but our short-sighted governments never moved alternate transportation (public or electric). Finally high fuel prices are doing what our government wouldn't. At least those who keep driving a gas guzzler can pay a tax on their stupidity.

Looking forward to the low SUV pricing (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720751)

I can't wait for the SUV prices to drop. Currently I have a Nissan Xterra and as much as I love the truck I need something larger to take the gf and her two kids on long trips. I figure once the Escalades/Armadas drop to 10-20K for a 2002-2006/- models (in a year or so) its time to buy one. I just has to sit in my drive way and on a long weekend/holiday I'll transfer over my insurance to it and drive in comfort.

Re:Looking forward to the low SUV pricing (2, Informative)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720919)

I'm not sure if you are trolling or not...

But, you didnt say "why" you need an SUV, "gf and her two kids", so i assume that makes 4 people... whats wrong with a car or a mini-van? you can fit more crap in a mini-van than an XTerra or Escalade, and you arent wasting your gas driving two useless wheels and the extra drivetrain, plus you can usually fit longer things in them, like plywood, and ladders and still have 4 seats usable.

Re:Looking forward to the low SUV pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720947)

I very much look forward to seeing you at the gas station a fill up will only cost you $180 a tank.

Good times! (1)

danwat1234 (942579) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720781)

All those Excursions, Suburbans, Escalades(SCSI controller cards), Tahoes, etc are irritating to be around from inside a '99 Honda Civic. Especially when I have a bumper/trunk sticker that reads:"Draft SUV driver first"! Surprisingly only one SUV driver has tailed me for a bit, and one other that honked at me while passing, its not too bad. Really, its surprising that I'm not being side swiped on a regular basis!

SUVs were always mostly a waste (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720793)

What's the point of an SUV to drive through the city? That's like buying a sports car to drive a few blocks in a crowded city. The machine (SUV) was built for the purpose of being a sports utility vehicle. If you need large passenger seating, there are minivans. If you need to haul load, there are trucks. If your commuting, there are sedans and compacts.

Re:SUVs were always mostly a waste (4, Funny)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721019)

The machine (SUV) was built for the purpose of being a sports utility vehicle. If you need large passenger seating, there are minivans. If you need to haul load, there are trucks. If your commuting, there are sedans and compacts.
An SUV can do all those things - but none of them very well. It's more of a Spork Utility Vehicle.

Re:SUVs were always mostly a waste (2, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721093)

If you need large passenger seating, there are minivans.

There is a better solution for "large passenger seating" (that could be parsed in an alternate, amusing way): it's called a "bus" or a "train."

100 percent clean energy state vehicles 2010 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23720827)

What happened to the bill and the money we paid for making all state owned vehicles run on clean energy by 2010? Was this just a California bill because now I don't remember.

Toyota knew the high price of oil was coming... (5, Informative)

fpp (614761) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720835)

...which is why they spent so much money in the 1990's developing the hybrid, when all the other car manufacturers thought they were nuts. There's a lot to be said for long-term thinking, which is partially why they are mopping the floor with the detroit automakers in so many areas.

What if gas prices drop again? (3, Insightful)

tie_guy_matt (176397) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720907)

In the long run gas prices can do nothing but rise; that is unless and until we find a better replacement. Eventually we will reach peak oil and prices will increase and increase because demand will still be going up but all of a sudden supply starts going down. We will reach peak oil probably in my lifetime and there are people who predict that we have reached it already (no one really knows how much oil is in the ground.)

I guess I am worried that the current high price may in part be due to people speculating that we have reached peak oil (or that at least supply can no longer match demand.) If people buy oil futures in speculation of an oil shock that may not be as big as expected then prices will fall again.

If prices fall then people might go back to old habits and then when they rise again people might just expect prices to drop again like it did in 2008.

I guess I am hoping for a nice steady rise so we can switch to renewable sources as quickly as and painlessly as possible. Of course if we were to pass regulation to encourage a switch to a better energy source before we reach peak oil then we would make the transition a lot less painfully than we would if we just wait for peak oil and then let the market force the change. Yes the free market will make sure that eventually we will all be using renewable resources. The only question is what will the economy be like by then? Will we have a middle class at all at that point? The sooner we get to work ending the oil age and going on to something better then the better off we will all be in the long run.

AQFL's poll on SUV. (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720923)

Over a month ago, I asked if my visitors if they liked SUV or not with a simple poll [aqfl.net] . Currently, 6 like it and 8 don't like it. I am sure that will change after this post. :)

I wonder if... (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720931)

..the tuning and performance guys will develop cams and engine management kits that trade max horsepower for economy?

Wait, wait, wait... (5, Funny)

Pichu0102 (916292) | more than 6 years ago | (#23720983)

Has Netcraft confirmed this yet?

Hybrid SUVs (1)

gujo-odori (473191) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721025)

A couple years ago I was crossing a parking lot heading for a store, and a decent-sized Ford SUV passed near me, and there was something strange about it that took me a second to put my finger on, then it hit me (what was strange about it, not the SUV ): it was completely silent.

Looking closer, I saw that it was a hybrid. I wonder if they still make those? If not, they'd better get them back in production.

Overall, I think these pronouncements of the SUV's demise are a bit premature. It may be fair to say that the SUV as we know it is dead - or at least dying - but there will be others. Hybrid SUVs. Maybe even purely electric ones that you plug in it night. Fuel-cell SUVs. Possibly factory-made bio-diesel SUVs. Heck, the military has been into multi-fuel diesel vehicles for decades, they're not hard to make. Auto makers whine a lot about how they can't meet newer, stricter emissions and fuel economy regulations, but they always seem to manage to do it. This time it's market forces rather than the government dictating an improvement in fuel economy for SUVs, and I'm sure they will rise to the challenge.

Theyre NOT SUV's, get with the program! (1, Insightful)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721079)

They're not SUV's. Those are gas guzzling behemoths driven by people who have no respect for the environment or their fellow man.

They're "crossovers". Didn't you get the memo?

completely missing the point with SUV's. (1)

deft (253558) | more than 6 years ago | (#23721091)

The vast majority of responders are taking this matter of fact tact with their commnetary, talking about how impractical they are, how "inapporpriate" they are for most of their common uses, etc.

I guess it sounds real practical and smart to only stick to the stats and tangibles... but they are completely missing the HUGE point of SUV's to ALOT of people:

they are a status symbol.

People buy these to havw the best looking biggest vehicle out there. They are the same as sports cars, but justifyable to a family, dad, and even mom. Rich people will still buy them, they will continue to be low gas mileage, expensive to drive, and maybe not the best vehicle for the job.

But cmon, they are still the safest for the people inside, haul a ton of shit, are the best cars to drive from Los anegels to vegas in with a group of people, etc.

Would I buy one? No way... but It's naive to just do all this "im so practical" talk... it doesnt aknowledge the real market reasoning.
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