Surprising rise in SUV sales

While there are a variety of reasons for someone to purchase a new vehicle, most car buyers will tell you their decision boils down to two main points, lifestyle and practicality. Many car companies have previously focused on emotional motivations to drive customers to purchase their cars but now more than ever, car makers are using the practicality of their vehicles to appeal to customers.

By focusing on the practicality of a vehicle, car makers hope to achieve a level of transparency with their customers, even before they begin their search.

In May of 2011 the year-to-date number of cars sold reached 546,687 with light-duty trucks not far behind at 515,032 and SUV/Cross-overs coming in at 318,359. ( Although SUV/Cross-overs have come in last place for overall sales, this category has seen the biggest increase over the previous year. With a 47.6% increase in mid-size SUV sales so far this year, some marketers are second guessing their approach towards consumers for the remainder of 2011.

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So why the increase in SUV sales?

Compact cars can seem like a smart choice but most Americans love their larger vehicles and see them as a more practical purchase. Due to the harsh economy and recent inflation in gas prices, many gas guzzling SUV drivers have had to give up their beloved rides for smaller vehicles. While many experts were betting on the high sales of cars like the Toyota Prius, what we have found is actually the opposite. More often than not, customers are simply down-sizing to a mid-size or cross-over rather than giving up the much loved style of today’s popular SUV’s.

Recognizing the passion Americans have for their SUV’s, major car brands are still pushing their popular SUV models through but have added a twist by giving some of them a Hybrid version. Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid offers an increase of 8 MPG for City and 3 MPG for Highway over their standard model. While that may not seem like much, it can mean a lot to city drivers who don’t want to give up their roomy practical rides.

As practicality becomes more of a focus to consumers than emotional buying, car makers are catching onto the idea by creating campaigns around the many reasons why their vehicles will do everything we need them to do and of course, how they are better than all the rest.

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