The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

SUV Owners Group Responds to New NRDC Commercials and 'What Would Jesus Drive?' Campaign

SUV Owners of America Also Adds Board Member

WASHINGTON, May 7 -- Responding to rising attacks against sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and their owners, Sport Utility Vehicle Owners of America (SUVOA) today unveiled both a survey of Americans' attitudes on vehicle choice and its revamped website -- -- with new features the group hopes will help make its organization the "go to" source for SUV issues, ownership, services and "what's new" in the market and aftermarket.

"It is fitting that we are re-launching SUVOA's primary communications outlet and a Wirthlin Worldwide survey on a day that a small, but well-funded group of anti-SUV activists are once again stepping up their assault on SUVs and SUV owners," said Jason H. Vines, SUVOA President.

Responding to the National Resource Defense Council's (NRDC's) announcement of a new advertising campaign challenging Detroit and Washington to "deliver fuel efficient cars and SUVs that meet our transportation needs without sacrificing our safety, freedom or prosperity," Vines challenged the NRDC to "show me the money."

"SUV owners, like all automobile consumers, would love better fuel economy and we see that in every survey. But they don't want the tradeoffs that study after study conclude come in the areas of reduced safety, utility, cost and performance," said Vines. "All we see today from the NRDC and their support groups is a cleverly engineered commercial. As consumers, we want cleverly engineered vehicles that meet the needs of our families and our businesses. It is interesting that no auto company from Detroit, Germany or Japan -- in one of the most brutally competitive industries in the world -- has been able to deliver the supposed vehicle that the NRDC decided not to unveil in their latest commercial. Did the NRDC decide to keep the vehicle 'under wraps' because it only exists in a Hollywood studio?"

SUVOA today also released the results of a nationwide survey conducted as part of the weekly Wirthlin Worldwide Quorum of 1,000 Americans. The statistically valid survey, conducted April 25-28, 2003, poised the following question:

      Over the past few months, a small religious group has begun a
          campaign asking the question "What Would Jesus Drive?"
         In your opinion, what type of vehicle would Jesus drive?

Most respondents (24 percent) thought it was "a stupid question, didn't know or refused to answer," while 23 percent said "He wouldn't drive." Thirteen percent of those surveyed by Wirthlin Worldwide thought He would drive a light truck (pickup truck, SUV or van), while 10 percent put Him in a small car. Interestingly, six percent of those polled answered a "fuel efficient or environmentally friendly car" and only three percent said Jesus would drive a hybrid electric vehicle.

Eighty percent of the respondents said they practiced some form of Christianity, 12 percent no religion, five percent refused to answer, two percent were agnostic or atheist, one percent Jewish and less than one percent identified themselves as Islamic. (For a complete breakout of the survey see the end of this release.)

Religious leaders should be focused on steering our lives, not our choice of vehicles," said Father Robert A. Sirico, President of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty. "The SUV and its minivan cousin are mainly used by families. Is it right that religious leaders should urge all families to stuff themselves into tiny, more fuel efficient cars that limit the number of passengers and have a safety record much worse than SUVs, minivans and larger cars? This kind of politicking leads people to believe religious bodies have nothing better to do and then we wonder why the culture doesn't take religion as seriously as it once did."

SUVOA was formed to give voice to the 24 million SUV owners whose rights are being trampled by special interest and activist groups, as well as to provide consumers with practical information about their SUVs. Founded in 1999, the group actively defends the rights of SUV owners and rebuts false charges regarding the safety and environmental record of SUVs.

The revamped SUVOA website provides many new exclusive features for members of SUVOA, as well as information for members and non-members. Non- members will be allowed to view all features on the site, including the members only sections, during the first two weeks of the site's re-launch, May 7-21. Some of the website's new content includes:

  * Product Reviews -- Up-to-the-minute product reviews for the latest and
    greatest SUVs in all segments of the market -- small, medium, full-size
    -- both foreign and domestic.  The product reviews come from the editors
    of Automobile, Motor Trend and Truck Trend magazines, as well as from Al
    Vinikour, Senior Editor of

  * SUV Destinations -- A look at great escapes across the country for SUV
    owners, their friends and their families.

  * Give Me a Brake! -- A view of ridiculous charges and false statements
    made about SUVs and SUV owners.

  * SUVoices -- An on-line forum to discuss SUV ownership, tips and hints,
    and other discussion topics.

  * You and Your SUV -- Regulatory issues impacting SUV ownership; facts
    about SUVs regarding safety leadership, environmental performance and
    vehicle usage; safe driving tips; SUV Owners Bill of Rights; and SUV
    links (good sources for SUV information on products and accessories).

  * Membership -- A quick look at how easy and inexpensive it is to join

SUVOA also announced today an addition to its Board of Directors. Linda Profaizer, President, National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, has joined the SUVOA Board effective immediately. Profaizer is joined on the Board by Derrick Crandall, President, American Recreation Coalition; David Humphreys, President, Recreational Vehicle Industry Association; Larry Innis, Washington Representative, Marine Retailers Association of America; and Vines. Also active with SUVOA is founder Bill Brouse.

"Americans' love affair of the great outdoors, often times getting their families and friends there safely and conveniently in an SUV, makes it a natural that Linda Profaizer and her fine organization be a vital part of SUVOA's leadership," said Vines.

Fact sheets addressing key safety and environmental issues are available at Interviews with Vines are available by calling toll-free 1.877.44.SUVOA (877.447.8862).

Wirthlin Worldwide Quorum, April 25-28, 2003

Q G1: Over the past few months, a small religious group has begun a campaign asking the question "What Would Jesus Drive?" In your opinion, what type of vehicle would Jesus drive?

  BASE=TOTAL                   1000
  RESPONDENTS                  100%

   Large car                 49      5%

   Medium car                82      8%

   Small car                 98     10%

   Hybrid/Electric           25      3%

   Fuel efficient/           57      6%
   Enviro-friendly car

   SUV, Pickup or           128     13%
   Van  (Lt. Truck)

   He wouldn't drive        225     23%

   Other                     92      9%

   Stupid Question/         244     24%
   Won't answer/
   Don't Know/Refused