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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Day in SUVs

posted by on June 3 at 19:01 PM

Demand for gasoline falls 5.5 percent—in a single week.

Hummer sales down by 60 percent.

Light-truck sales, meanwhile, drop 24 percent.

And GM closes four North American truck and SUV factories.

Used SUV sales fall, too.

Hybrid SUVs aren’t doing so great, either.

And Jaguar and Land Rover are bought by Tata Motors—the same company that’s marketing $2,000 cars at droves of upwardly mobile Indian consumers.

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As someone who works in tea, I've learned that Tata owns just about everything, ever.

Posted by Abby | June 3, 2008 7:06 PM

Between this round of developments and the breaking news that Obama has sealed the Democratic presidential nomination, I can't help but be reminded... Uh, this November might be a good time for Sound Transit to go to the ballot.

As my mother would say, "Strike while the iron is hot." (Yeah, my mom's a Medieval sadist. So?)

Posted by cressona | June 3, 2008 7:12 PM


The link you provided for item 1 says demand was down 5.5% from the same week a year ago, but actually *up* 2.7% from the week before.

Posted by pox | June 3, 2008 7:16 PM

Now I read it again, and it says both things. So, the first paragraph agrees with you and the second does not.

Posted by pox | June 3, 2008 7:18 PM

If it don't get 60 to 100 mpg, it ain't worth it.


Posted by Will in Seattle | June 3, 2008 10:52 PM

Even if everyone in America buys a Prius, it will do nothing to the price of oil, or undo the catastrophic harm we are doing to the environment, when there will be thousands of pollutant-belching, gas-guzzling, unreliable Jaguars and Rovers hitting the roads of India. Not to mention the Buicks of China.

Posted by laterite | June 3, 2008 11:12 PM

So does this mean we're going to see more Tatas on the streets? One can only hope.

Posted by Greg | June 4, 2008 9:08 AM

The $2500 Tata will get 60 mpg and create one-HALF the pollution of an American-made car.

Why can't we all get one?

Posted by Will in Seattle | June 4, 2008 9:40 AM

Will, if you don't get the joke, don't bother replying.

Posted by Greg | June 4, 2008 2:17 PM

Tatas only come out in the sun.

Posted by beelzebufo | June 4, 2008 8:05 PM

Why can't we have Tatas here? For the same reason that Honda didn't bring the Honda City here in the 80's. For the same reason legions of Japanese 600 cc class cars don't come here. Americans will scream, DEATH TRAP!

And they'd be partially right. But they're safer than scooters. (Saw a young man on a new scooter run a red light downtown this evening, but that's another story.)

Americans wail about the un-safeness of small cars. Even the very same do-good libs (Joan Claybrook, Consumer Reports types) who wailed about the need for higher mpg cars in the 70's, wailed at the end of the 80's about the death toll those smaller, CAFE-inspired cars caused. Thousands dead! Seriously. Front page news when they wailed about that. Hey, transportation of any form is inherently dangerous. Go live in a cave if...

Meanwhile, other dumb f'ers say things like, "when are they They going to invent cars that get good fuel economy?"

Uh, they already sold that. It was called the Honda CRX 1300 HF. It got 57 mpg, and you ran off and bought truckish things to show the world how tough you were. That was 20 years ago. And it wasn't even that slow, the thing had 4 cylinders, even! It was the 3 cylinder Suzukis that suuuuuucked in the fun-to-drive dept.

I'm not just a grouch, although I do play one at work. My real beef here is that so many folks just don't understand the very basic science involved: mass and frontal area and aerodynamics and engine internal friction affect mpg. Duh her.

Mass affects airplane mpg.

Center of gravity affects safety, you dumb SUV MF'ers.

Heavy cars get worse mpg. Lighter cars get better mpg.

And engineering is full of trade offs.

Oh, and the Tata is just too underpowered for U.S. use. I am a fan of 4 cylinder cars and small cars, but... we're a country where folks do drive for an hour or ten to get someplace, and some cars just aren't cut out to do that at interstate speed.

I'm just hoping for a BMW Isetta retro car, heh heh. If MBz can sell the Smart car, and BMW can sell the Mini, why not an Isetta homage?

I'm glad that gas prices finally hit a wall. I was fearing a future where SUV"s would get even bigger (thanks to 4 wheel steering, which was a brief trend a few years ago) and big box stores would get even bigger, and we'd had Isetta-like cars off of davits and park the SUV in the giant parking lot next to the even more giant big box store with even bigger aisle, and drive to the store and around it in our Isetta-sized cars. While we weigh 300-500 lbs. Heck, might as well just start shipping us our Cheetos via UPS.

Posted by CP | June 5, 2008 3:57 PM

P.S. And I'll be concise and say that our crash safety regs/testing in this country keeps a lot of the truly wee cars out. Legislation we live with, one might say.

Posted by CP | June 5, 2008 4:51 PM

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