SUVs — once a symbol of American excess — are becoming the world's favorite ride
DETROIT (AP) — Once a hulking symbol of American excess, sport utility vehicles are quickly becoming the world's favorite way to get around.
It's a surprising rebirth for a vehicle that was the subject of obituaries when gas prices spiked in 2008. Automakers won back customers by making smaller, more fuel-efficient SUVs that also appealed to newly wealthy buyers in Asia and South America and former skeptics in Europe.
Indian drivers want SUVs to navigate rough roads. In China they're a status symbol. European and American Baby Boomers buy SUVs because they're easier to climb in and out of. Upwardly mobile Brazilian families like their spaciousness. Cheaper subcompacts like the Renault Duster are bringing in customers who couldn't afford SUVs before.
Earlier this year, SUVs overtook four-door sedans for the first time as the most popular vehicle for individual buyers in the U.S. By 2018, analysts expect China to be the biggest market for SUVs in the world.
"The SUV genie is out of the bottle. They've been discovered by enough people that you'll never put them back," says Karl Brauer, a senior analyst with the car buying site Kelley Blue Book.
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Posted on Tue, October 28, 2014
by Associated Press