There's a train of thought running through the US auto industry. I can't decide whether it's stupidity or delusion, so I'll split the difference - it's delusional stupidity. Automakers are looking to the future and seeing SUVs - despite gas prices.
The Wisconsin State Journal had this headline in the business section, "GM hangs rebirth on Janesville SUVs". They report, "The company, which reported an $11 billion loss for 2005, hopes such high-margin large sport utility vehicles will be a key part of its turnaround. But other automakers, prompted in part by high gas prices, are emphasizing smaller SUVs and cars."
Agence France Presse has this, "Americans will buy SUVs even if gas hits four dollars a gallon: Ford":
""There is a certain portion of the marketplace and customers who want that flexibility that is provided with a traditional SUV," Mark Fields, president of the automaker's Americas division, said during a conference with analysts.
"So I don't think our strategy would change too much.""
I reported this Gallup poll earlier, but it makes sense to repeat it here - "Roughly half of Americans report economizing in order to compensate for the increase in gas prices over the past year. About half say they have cut back significantly on the amount they drive. Separately, a slim majority (54%) say they have reduced their household spending on other items. Most Americans say they would consider buying a hybrid car when making their next car purchase."
In terms of global warming, dependence on foreign oil, and global competition, SUVs are dinosaurs. You don't see any atomic cars these days, so I'm guessing the predictions for the SUV's future are as accurate.
(Keywords: energy, transportation, business, financial, selling buggy whips )