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One More Kelley Mistake: SUV Owners of America Takes Issue with Blue Book Attitude Survey on SUVs

WASHINGTON, March 31 -- Statement by Jason H. Vines, President of the SUV Owners of America (SUVOA), in response to the March 31, 2003 release of Wave II of the New Vehicle-Buyer Attitude Study on SUVs, conducted by Kelley Blue Book, Irvine, California:

"The folks at Kelley Blue Book made a mountain out of a mole hill today and in the process provided a classic 'glass-is-half-empty' editorial in order to manufacture news.

Here's what they reported: according to their survey, consumer interest in buying SUVs has declined over the past six weeks by five percent. What's more, four out of 10 SUV considerers indicated that recent gas prices would keep them from buying the vehicle.

What Kelley didn't report was that during that same period -- a period where silly attacks on SUVs by special interest groups have continued, America has gone to war and gas prices have increased to some of their highest levels -- overall vehicle sales decreased by five percent as well. The question is: Is there really news in these survey numbers?

The fact is that while overall vehicle sales are down this year by five percent, sales of all SUVs are out-performing the market, down just two percent. And, the heart of the SUV market -- the midsize SUVs -- also are out-performing the overall vehicle market, down just four percent despite the uncertain times. Sure, some SUVs are up while others are down, but overall it's still a robust market that represents one out of every four new vehicle sales.

Furthermore, while Kelley chose to characterize the 'four out of 10' figure as negative to reach their editorial conclusion that 'the heyday of large SUVs is about over,' they failed to note that the majority of the consumer respondents said that gas prices WOULD NOT keep them from buying an SUV.

Kelley further tries to throw a negative tone out of the fact that 'family-oriented' remains as the top attribute given to SUV drivers, although it dropped from 68 percent to 60 percent. Their survey suggests that SUV and a 'family orientation' represent the majority by a whopping margin. That's why SUVs have replaced minivans in recent years as the number one 'pooling' vehicle when transporting our kids.

Finally, Kelley, in a real shocker, reports that they are 'seeing greater interest in crossover vehicles and small SUVs.' Hold the presses. Crossover vehicles are just coming into the mix in large numbers so increased interest is of course expected. And, the small SUVs are really crossover vehicles as, for the most part, they are car-based vehicles with the much-appreciated sport utility vehicle attributes. That's why crossovers now represent 25-30 percent of the SUV market. And, they are providing more choices for consumers. That's a good thing but not necessarily the fat lady singing the SUV blues.

Tomorrow the auto industry will report how consumers responded with their pocket books and our guess is that SUV sales are doing just fine -- despite all the hype -- because of the value they provide for their owners and their families."

"Driven to Inform, Educate and Protect - - SUVOA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to defending the rights of SUV owners. For more information, please visit the website, CLICK HERE