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[greenyes] SUVs - Bigger and Badder


After the collapse of central planning as a social construct, why is there
voice to ring down the curtain on the parallel incoherence of today's free
markets. Not only are we continuing to social engineer the tax code to
subsidize the cost of SUVs so as to make them appear cheaper than sedans,
now we, and push fleet gas mileage down over the past 23 years, as we
confront climate disruption and energy shortages of petroleum, the American
auto industry is adding testosterone to the current line of SUVs to decrease
their gas mileage further, if that were possible.


peter


WALL STREET JOURNAL

What's Big, Guzzles Gas
And Is Getting Faster?
Answer: The Latest Crop
Of SUVs, as Makers Add
Horsepower to Many Models
By MICHELLE HIGGINS
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
March 25, 2005; Page D1
(See Corrections & Amplifications item below0.)
The makers of SUVs, already under fire for poor gas mileage and safety
issues, have a new strategy to reverse sagging sales: Putting bigger engines
in them.
In the past year or so, car makers have been adding horsepower to everything
from luxury cars to family sedans. Now SUVs are being outfitted with engines
that are so big and powerful that they can accelerate as fast as sports
cars.
Yesterday at the New York International Auto Show, General Motors Corp.
introduced the 2006 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS, a souped-up version of its
midsize SUV with an eight-cylinder engine like the one it uses in the
Corvette. DaimlerChrysler AG unveiled its new 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8,
which has a 415-horsepower engine and can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in
less than five seconds, putting it in the same league as some Porsches and
Ferraris. Early next year, Audi will start selling the Q7, a sporty SUV
based on the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne.



Ford Motor Co. yesterday unveiled a concept vehicle, the Sport Trac
Adrenalin, a sport-utility truck with a 390-horsepower engine that may
become a model for production in 2007. This summer, the new 2006 Range Rover
and Range Rover Sport vehicles will get a boost to 400 and 390 horsepower,
respectively.
Auto makers see the horsepower arms race as a way to dress up their SUV
lines, since dropping in a new engine is an easy way to spice up a model
while avoiding the expense of a full redesign.
The introduction of the pumped-up new SUVs comes at a surprising time,
considering that gasoline prices have recently hit highs. The manufacturers
are betting, however, that consumers' appetites for bigger engines will
continue to outweigh their concerns about fuel efficiency. About 84% of
large-SUV owners rank horsepower as an important vehicle attribute today
compared with about 55% in 1995, according to CNW Marketing Research. In
that same year, 45% of large SUV owners ranked fuel efficiency as important
compared with just 17% today. Gas-mileage information on the new SUV models
isn't yet available, but in general they are expected to be less fuel
efficient than the models with less-powerful engines.
The extra horsepower adds a new dimension to the discussion of SUV handling
and safety issues. Truck-like vehicles such as these, with their high center
of gravity, "were never designed to be driven as sports cars," says David
Champion, director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports. While all
types of vehicles can roll over in an accident, taller, narrower ones such
as SUVs, pickups, and vans have higher centers of gravity, and thus are more
susceptible to rollover if involved in a single-vehicle crash, according to
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
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_________________________
Peter Anderson, President
RECYCLEWORLDS CONSULTING
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell: (608) 698-1314
eMail: anderson@no.address
web: www.recycleworlds.net

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