By on June 21, 2008

repoman.jpgSources tell TTAC that the glut of SUVs and trucks is so bad that the banks are not calling in the repo men. I repeat: banks are cutting maximum slack to people who are behind in their loan payments– to the point where some are driving around in their vehicles without making any payments. In a bizarre way, this makes perfect sense. Repo services cost money. Re-conditioning costs money. Storing the vehicles costs money. Equally important, the banks/credit agencies don't take the full hit to their bottom line until they sell the vehicle. Needless to say, the market is so stuffed with both brand spanking new and slightly used (i.e. excellent condition) product that we're talking about a MASSIVE hit. What's more, our man in the auction biz tells us that many dealers are holding their light trucks until the end of the month– and then selling them without reserve. You can imagine what that's doing to residuals. If not, check this from Tom Folliard, president and chief executive officer of CarMax: "During the quarter, wholesale industry prices for SUV's and trucks declined nearly 25%, which is approximately four times the normal depreciation expected over this period and well in excess of the depreciation expected over a full year. This is the most rapid depreciation of any vehicle segment that we have experienced in our 15 years."

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

52 Comments on “Wild Ass Rumor of the Day: Repo Men Not Repoing SUVs, Trucks...”


  • avatar
    improvement_needed

    wow – pretty interesting…
    25% decrease in wholesale prices in 3 months!!!

    if you need a new [used] truck for work, it’s time to get to know somebody who goes to auctions

  • avatar

    It couldn’t come soon enough. I can’t wait for the complete extinction of the SUV. The last thing we need are more 5000lb Grocery Getters on the road.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    When the banks dont even want your car back, thats a real bad sign.
    Ya it costs a few bucks to store, repo etc.
    Is using good money to chase after bad money.
    Banks arent stoopid. They maybe first to pull in the umbrella whenever see rain.
    They deserve to be F*cked anyways.

  • avatar
    NickR

    I can’t wait for the complete extinction of the SUV.

    Agreed. This is like a months-long Christmas for me.

    How much longer before these things are ‘stolen’ and found burnt out on country roads?

  • avatar
    miked

    Maybe I don’t need to wait for the fire sales now. Just go pick up a new Silverado and not pay for it.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Allah Akbar!

  • avatar
    50merc

    Gee, it must be nice to be able to buy at auctions. Maybe the dealers would find SUVs sell better if there wasn’t such a huge markup between wholesale and retail.

    In Oklahoma City, CarMax has a 2006 Explorer with 26K miles. No-haggle price: $16,599, about half the original sticker. But Kelly Blue Book says the trade-in value for such a vehicle is less than ten grand. The owner is likely upside-down on his 60-month loan. (And isn’t it widely thought that KBB tends to be generous on trade-in values?) Sure, everybody needs to cover expenses and make a profit, but a six-grand markup seems a lot in a supposedly slow market. Or maybe the Okies are still passionate about SUVs and pickups.

  • avatar
    tiger260

    I can’t help but agree with “chuckgoolsbee” I’m afraid. Much as I hate being traumatized every time I have to fill up either of our family vehicles – at least the silver lining in the situation is that we might just see the end of the mass lunacy of folks driving full-size trucks and SUVs when they plainly had no actual need for such a vehicle.

    The dramatic drop-off in sales of this kind of vehicle is hardly a tradgedy, simply a market correction with buying behavior tending back towards something like common sense, and I can only welcome it.

    while I’m not a die-hard capitalist or rabid free-markteteer – it is somewhat reassuring to see Adam Smith’s invisible hand at work accomplishing what other (apparently rather scarce) factors such as common sense or concern for one’s fellow man could not achieve. With the cost of running these beasts going through the roof many of the “wanted a truck but never actually NEEDED one” crowd are simply being flushed out of the segment. Of course they’d being fleeing the segment at an even higher rate of so many of them weren’t trapped in upside down finance arrangements with increasingly devalued assets that noone else in their right mind wants either.

    Hopefully the market for full-size truck and SUVs will just settle back to what it always should have been – i.e. serving people who actually NEED them with all the wannabes, poseurs and marketing-victims who never needed a vehicle like that in the first place simpy buying more suitable vehicle?

    we can only hope….

    I do have a lot of genuine sympathy for families on low income really struggling just to put gas in their minimum need family car…. to a great extent we are all trapped in an infrastructure planned around the assumption of cheap gas forever, and it is going to be a hard adjustment for us all – but it is hard to have any sympathy whatsoever for people that chose a full-sze SUV when a normal family sedan would have esily met their needs (especially if they actually bought one new within the last 12- 24 months when the writing was clearly on the wall with regards to the direction gas prices would take).

  • avatar
    MikeInCanada

    To be fair to CarMax there’s an infrastructure cost (divided by each vehicle) sold that has to be covered (buildings, utilities, insurance, various salary’s, taxes, etc.), however 6 Grand would seem a bit high.

    You know, every day a PU or SUV, sits on the lot the cost to the dealer increases. Ironically, you’ll get the best deal on the most recent trade-ins, not the ones that have been sitting around for 90+ days.

  • avatar
    bjcpdx

    This was not a question of if, but when it would happen. There may be a certain number of people who actually need a pickup for business or whatever, but now it’s payback time for those who thought it was okay to subsitute a truck or truck-based station wagon for a passenger car.

    This was always a bad idea because in addition to their horrible fuel efficiency, these things were never subject to the same emission or safety standards as a car.

    Remember, folks, just because you have the freedom to do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

    RIP, truck-based station wagon.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    # chuckgoolsbee :
    June 21st, 2008 at 11:50 am

    It couldn’t come soon enough. I can’t wait for the complete extinction of the SUV. The last thing we need are more 5000lb Grocery Getters on the road.

    Who cares what somebody else drives? If somebody wishes to drive a 3/4T Suburban or an H2, what business is it of mine?

  • avatar
    jaje

    Wonder how SUV Owners of America are spinning these facts.

    With that said I wish my lease on my truck would have ended this month so that I could dump it and pick up a slightly used Tacoma or Dakota v8 crew cab for really, really cheap – maybe contact a bank and see who is in arrears and arrange to buy it so it gets repossessed.

  • avatar
    jberger

    I wonder how you anti-truck and SUV folks feel about those vehicles when you need to move to a new place, pick up some furniture or tow a boat.

    I’d bet you aren’t telling your buddy with the pickup how much you hate it when you need to borrow it.

    Why hate something or someone because they have a different lifestyle?

  • avatar
    taxman100

    I’m thinking of picking up an SUV used on the cheap, just to drive around and upset the self-righteous types that post on this website, as well as the nutso environmentalists.

    Actually, it is interesting to watch human nature, and how mass hysteria and self-righteousness play off of each other.

  • avatar

    Actually, it is interesting to watch human nature, and how mass hysteria and self-righteousness play off of each other.

    Not to mention sheer obduracy!

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    jberger,

    I feel fine. I just go over to U-Haul or suchlike and sign the papers. Last time I needed to move, I got a 26′ International (stick shift, diesel, 1980s dynamics–that was fun, in a way) for fifty bucks a day, plus fuel.

    Look, if you need a truck for work, fine. If you bought one to tow a boat a few times a year, or as a substitute for a minivan, or to feel safe DESPITE points to the contrary, well, maybe now is a good time to admit that it wasn’t a wise choice.

    I took a small amount of ribbing for buying a Honda Fit. A lot of “clown car”, “I’d hate to be driving that if I was hit by a semi” or “My lawn mower’s got a bigger engine”. You know what, though? I just brushed it off because I’m adult enough to take criticism without crying about how someone “has no right to judge me”.

    That’s what bugs me most about some SUV people I’ve debated in forum: the idea that they (or anyone) is somehow not allowed to be criticized because there’s of a weird concept of “not having the right someone else’s needs/wants”. This refusal to accept criticism reminds of the more nauseating aspects of blind nationalism, and it speaks to an appalling lack of a accountability.

    Do some people need SUVs? Sure. Are people who bought more than they needed in a bind? Yep. Can we tell them they made a dumb move? Of course, this is ostensibly democratic society, you can say just about anything you like: if you can’t tell someone they made a dumb move, you may as well just surrender your rights to free speech now.

  • avatar
    gibbleth

    So. I have a Suburban, as I have said before. I can answer the question as to how us SUV owners will spin this. I bought mine because they had gotten cheaper. I will probably buy another, newer one in a bit if this trend continues.

    I know the self-righteous out there who have been trying to foist noisy, tiny and slow econoboxes on the rest of us are frustrated by my recalcitrance to surrender my 5500 pound overgrown station wagon, but I just picked up a twin mattress with all my kids in the vehicle. Sure, this thing gets groceries, but it also gets all sorts of other things.

    Could I get by with a minivan? Possibly, but the dirty little secret is that minvans really don’t get great mileage either. Could I get by with an econobox? I did. That’s why I bought a Suburban when I could afford one.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    psarhjinian, you oughta bottle that and sell it. I’ll take a 12-pack.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I have a 4 cylinder car for all my normal driving – basically 90%. I’ve always owned a pickup or utility vehicle for the past 8 years – used for towing (6k lb car trailer with racecar on the back) / hauling (600lbs of bricks or 3/4 ton of dirt in the back) / moving (dressers), etc. I just don’t drive the gas hog b/c I don’t want to spend 3x as much to fill up the tank on it just to shuffle the family around.

    If that’s the self righteous type – then that is someone wise. Before I got a truck I had an Integra and moved across town. Hatchback was able to in repeated trips move from one house to another (I even got our 4 person kitchen table to fit in it) except for the very large items. I called my buddy who had a Suburban as his daily driver (even when gas was cheap he was moaning about $75 fill ups in that). I suggested he get a cheap old car to drive normally – he picked up an ’86 Integra for $200 at an auction and we put in new belts and head gasket and he got another 50k out of it but doing 33mpg rather than 12mpg. Car paid for itself in 5 months including all the parts we bought to fix it. Now that’s smart.

  • avatar

    Bill Wade: Who cares what somebody else drives? If somebody wishes to drive a 3/4T Suburban or an H2, what business is it of mine?

    It’s my business if the damn thing is blocking my view of the road ahead. It’s my business when someone who is ignorant of the shortcmings of SUV/pick-up dynamics at high speed and who is either ignorant or doesn’t care that SUVs are far more likely to kill the occupants of the other vehicle in a crash is cruising down the highway at speeds above about 50, where the SUV/PU driver has extremely little control. It’s my business, because SUVs, and pick-ups for those who don’t use them for commercial hauling are a waste of resources, and therefore unpatriotic.

    Its my business because there has been an arms race on the road. In ’99, a salesman at a northern VA dealer, one Steve Cochran, was quoted in the Wash Post as saying something like “please do another story on how SUVs are killing people in cars. Every time one of those stories runs we get a slew of sales.”

    and, see what psarhjinian has to say, about four posts above.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Pro-SUV: It doesn’t always make economic sense to run out and buy a small car to replace an SUV. My brother has a Cherokee and was asking me about suitable small cars for replacement. He said he wanted to spend about $15K. I told him to figure out how much gas he could buy for $15K. He’s keeping the Cherokee.

    Pro-small car: Get a trailer. No you can’t tow a boat or a ton of bricks with a Fit or a Yaris, etc., but you can move a mattress or a dining set, or a bedroom set.

  • avatar
    bjcpdx

    I wouldn’t dream of dictating what someone else should or shouldn’t drive.

    If everyone was brutally honest with themselves about what they need (not want) in a vehicle there would still be trucks and truck-based station wagons on the road, just nowhere near as many.

    After all, how many times in your life do you have to move a mattress?

  • avatar
    240d

    Sounds like I’m the sucker!

    In eastside LA we’ve got squatters on our street; a beat ass foreclosed home has a bunch of fast ‘n furious lookin’ rejects from a Pat Benatar street dance video living there with plenty of visitors at all hours (low level drug sales?).

    Anyway, some googling turned up the scam – squatters squat and demand money from real estate agents to vacate.

    Now it turns out that they can get a free pad AND not pay for their ride!

    Gotta get in on this action.

  • avatar
    RedStapler

    Last time I moved myself and my girlfriend I got a Penske GMC/Isuzu LCF N Series with a lift gate.

    Having the gate made the washer dryer, couch easier to move.

    I’d be leery of anything from U-Haul, their equipment age is much higher than their competition (Ryder, Penske.

    You can move most anything you can schlep into the back of a pickup with a trailer hitch on a car. With furniture and whatnot you fill up the cargo area long before you run into weight limitations.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Wow, there’s an awful lot of good responses on this thread. Let me tell you guys about what I’ve seen at the auto auctions.

    These days you can pretty much by a perfectly good SUV with at least seven to eight years left on it for no more than $3000. The ones that are in the deepest recesses of maximum depreciation are

    1) 2000 to 2001 models that…

    2) Were less than popular and

    3) either have a V8 and/or made by a company that failed to get a stronghold in the SUV market.

    There are plenty of these models which were driven by soccer moms and given a lot more maintenance than perhaps they rightfully deserved (oil change stickers and dealer maintained samples can still be found amongst the glut). You also have trucks that have been fleet maintained as well. Trucks have a far more fertile market for export than SUV’s or minivans for that matter, but the number of these vehicles coming back to the auctions and corporate online sites is simply astounding.

    This past week I got the following on the side…

    1996 Jetta with 48k original miles for $1950.
    1994 Century with 31k for $1550.
    1995 Volvo 960 with 114k for $1150
    1997 Geo Tracker with 67k for $2750
    1995 Merury Villager with 130k for $1650.

    These days I tend to get older cars that have low miles, strong maintenance records, and generally avoid SUV’s and trucks. Cars sell quicker and the older ones are generally let go for a song at the sales. Most of my preference is 2000 and newer Volvo’s, Saab, Subaru’s and pretty much any vehicle that can represent a better deal in the used car market than a typical Toyota or Honda.

    My customers have almost always paid in cash, and I’ve never regretted it.

  • avatar
    cjdumm

    A nameless acquaintance of mine was badly behind on his Tahoe payments and expected that Otto the Repo Man would shortly relieve him of the problem.

    But no! As the article suggests, and this anecdote supports, finance companies don’t want to repo SUVs. They offered him a write-down and cut his monthly payments in half. He took it.

    So he still has the Tahoe, and he’s still paying (a little) for it.

    But he can’t afford to drive it.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    A smallish hatchback gets the job done 90% of the time.

    I gave up keeping a full-sized 3/4 ton pickup as a second vehicle back in 2002. With that said, I currently have to rent a full size truck or moving van about twice a year. It is way less expensive, than maintaining, insuring and eating the depreciation of having my own full-sized truck in the driveway.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    David Holzman :
    June 21st, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    It’s my business if the damn thing is blocking my view of the road ahead. It’s my business when someone who is ignorant of the shortcmings of SUV/pick-up dynamics at high speed and who is either ignorant or doesn’t care that SUVs are far more likely to kill the occupants of the other vehicle in a crash is cruising down the highway at speeds above about 50

    I would sure hate to hear what you think about semi trucks.

    I have a 1999 454 Suburban. Next month I’m taking 8 kids, a dozen dirt bikes, all of our camping gear, food, 100 gallons of water, 150 extra gallons of gasoline, tools and clothes for two weeks to the mountains of Colorado. I put roughly 3500 miles per year on the Suburban. Last year I got all of 6 mpg on the same trip driving a little over 1700 miles.

    Looking at the prices of newer Suburbans, especially with the 8.1L engine, I’ll probably dump the 1999 and pick up an 05 or 06.

    My daily driver is a Honda Civic. I must assume I’m on the list of despised people for having the temerity of owning a Suburban and using it for what it is designed for.

    Like I said earlier, it is not my business what others drive nor is it anybody else’s business what I drive. We live in a free and democratic society. The automotive business exists to cater to consumers wants and needs. High fuel prices are changing consumer’s perception on vehicle selection and desirability. It will not take long for the nation’s truck/SUV fleet to age and drastically shrink. I may no longer desire to purchase a large fuel inefficient vehicle. I can guarantee though that it will not be influenced in any way by what others think I should be driving.

    Just saying………… :)

  • avatar
    jaje

    Mr Wade – You need a Suburban for certain activities – that is entirely understandable.

    The real gripe here is those people who own a Suburban to single occupant commute to work and pick up kid(s) from school. The SUV is a huge waste of gas and space and dangerous b/c of its size and potential to seriously injure or kill someone b/c the driver was inattentive (and how many times we seen Mr Sales Exec driving 90mph weaving in and out of traffic like Juan Montoya or Suzie Soccer Mom yelling at the kids while applying makeup and driving with her knees still talking on the cell phone). These are the idiots that bought the vehicle for the image – they don’t tow or haul or need 12mpg of body on frame SUV/truck capability – the most off roading they’ve ever done is park on the grass at a kids baseball game.

    Hell I own a 2500HD work truck – 6.0 v8 can tow 12,000lbs – but I use it only for towing and hauling stuff – I can afford to have it as my daily driver and pay for gas but I don’t. It’s inefficient and dangerous for me to drive something so large and dangerous on the road.

  • avatar
    rtx

    Check this link. Its an ebay auction for an ’07 Hummer. The dealer would sell for $35,000. All the thing brought at ebay was $6100. Dealer will be sitting on this on for a LONG time!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=140240370403&ssPageName=ADME:B:BCA:MOTORS:1123

  • avatar
    folkdancer

    “and then selling them without reserve. You can imagine what that’s doing to residuals.”

    Please tell me what “selling them without reserve” and “imagine what that’s doing to residuals” mean.

    Thank you. I am not sure I understand exactly what those expressions mean.

  • avatar
    50merc

    rtx, your link to ebay is a hoot. It says that Hummer listed for $58K when it sold in February ’07, so the owner must have taken something like twenty grand depreciation in little more than year. Incredible. If, as Lang says, it’s gotten to where a nice old Montero or Trooper can be bought for three grand, they can be bought as “second cars” mainly for vacations and bad weather.

    Interestingly, not far from that dealership, CarMax has a similar ’06 Hummer H2 with 65K miles, and their price is $27,998. I suspect it’s not drawing a lot of tire-kickers even if it’s like new. Of course, I’m so cheap and practical I’d rather have Lang’s Century or Villager.

  • avatar
    mimizhusband

    I look at this as yet another major problem for GMAC, the battered banks, and in fact my local credit union – which means me!

    I already saw 60 month zero % financing (I think on something Japanese).

    The local Chevy truck dealer has at least 10 un-sold 2007′s still sitting on the lot, and in a few weeks here come the 2009′s. Prices will continue to suffer. Remember though, it’s only a good deal if you actually need the item you are buying.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Please tell me what “selling them without reserve” and “imagine what that’s doing to residuals” mean.

    When a vehicle is selling ‘without reserve’, it means the highest bidder will be the new owner of the vehicle no matter what.

    If a seller has to dump their vehicle and ‘sell it without reserve’, they will often times get a price that is substantially lower than if they found a better time and/or place to sell it.

    To give a personal example, I bought a 2002 Mercedes S500 for $12,600 in late April. This was about 70% of it’s wholesale value. Most vehicles have a reserve that is at least 90% of it’s wholesale value. However, since this particular sale did not have many folks with deep pockets, I was able to buy the Mercedes on the cheap.

  • avatar

    I drive an 2006 Xb. It doesn’t bother me if someone drives something that I don’t like even if I find the vehicle offensive. If someone can afford an SUV and they obtained it legally I could care less if there is a single occupant. If they can afford it and the gas more power to them, but on the other hand I have no sympathy for those that are going under because their monthly gas bill went up by a couple hundred a month. If a couple hundred dollars a month is going to put you under then you had no business buying whatever it is that you are driving. It also tells me that these people didn’t budget for unexpected items like repairs and tires or emergencies etc . Too many people want to drive a car or truck that screams look at me I made it when in reality they are just scraping by

  • avatar
    limmin

    Once we start drilling for our own oil, the gas supply will increase.

    Then the SUVs will gloriously return to the road, like the buffalo returning to the American Plains. Large, safe vehicles for American families.

    SUVs rock. Extinct? Not yet, not ever.

  • avatar
    morbo

    All this pro-SUV and anti-SUV talk is moot. In about ten years all vehicles will be aerodynamic wedges looking like a Ford C-Max wagonish thing.

    But I do thing having an economic car for 90% daily driving and a truck/SUV for the other 9% makes sense (Diamante and Ranger respectively for me). I’m still trying to justify the cost for a Mustang GT for the other 1%.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    We can drill all that we want, but it’ll be 5 to 10 years before those wells come on-line and it won’t be as inexpensive as you think.

    The easy oil deposits have already been tapped in this country. Overseas, much of the new oil discoveries are places that are politically unstable.

    The other problem is refineries or lack off. Ours are running at full capacity and there hasn’t been a new one built since 1976. All it will take to push fuel prices this summer well over the five dollar range is for a major Katrina-sized Hurricane to hit Houston.

    We are definitely past the peak of full-sized pick up and SUV sales. I look for the market to stabilize at 60% of the peak numbers once the current panic subsides.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Once we start drilling for our own oil, the gas supply will increase.…

    We have 3% of the world’s known reserves, yet consume 25% of the world’s oil. We are not going to drill our way to independence no matter how many holes we make in the earth or how much offshore drilling we do. Our future energy is going to be made up from a variety of sources, the first of which is going to have to be nuclear, whether we like it or not. Anybody who thinks that we are held back from our own oil because of “enviros” or anybody else is mistaken. We simply don’t have enough of it on American soil. And ANWR’s contribution is just a drop in the bucket that is not worth the damage that it would cause. There are loads of areas in Alaska that Big Oil has leases on an they aren’t touching them.

  • avatar
    quasimondo

    I took a small amount of ribbing for buying a Honda Fit. A lot of “clown car”, “I’d hate to be driving that if I was hit by a semi” or “My lawn mower’s got a bigger engine”. You know what, though? I just brushed it off because I’m adult enough to take criticism without crying about how someone “has no right to judge me”.

    Call me crazy, but ribbing =/= judging.

    That’s what bugs me most about some SUV people I’ve debated in forum: the idea that they (or anyone) is somehow not allowed to be criticized because there’s of a weird concept of “not having the right someone else’s needs/wants”. This refusal to accept criticism reminds of the more nauseating aspects of blind nationalism, and it speaks to an appalling lack of a accountability.

    SUV folks aren’t gleefully awaiting the death of the small car, nor are they telling folks who own a small car that they don’t really need a car, they should just pick one up from Hertz or ZipCar for those out-of-town trips.

    The ‘criticism’ you endure is a joke compared to the sneer, jeers, and in extreme cases, Friends of the Earth members trying to set fire to their SUV. The self-righteous indignation that many SUV critics have only makes things worse, and I find that to be more nauseating that whatever blind nationalism you think an SUV owner has.

  • avatar
    Nemphre

    To be completely honest, this all just feels like fair turnaround to me. Karma. They screwed the small vehicle owners over for years, blocking our vision, running us over. They cause more damage to the roads. The time has finally come and I couldn’t be happier. I hope fuel never goes down in price. Keep rising baby, get ‘em all off the roads.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “SUV folks aren’t gleefully awaiting the death of the small car”

    And yet, many SUV drivers are completely unconcerned about what might happen should they run into, or over, one of those small cars. When asked about the horrific damage a big SUV inflicts on a small car in an accident the usual response is: Dumb idiot should have driven a tank like me.

    The big SUV as a symbol of aggression is in fact one part of the draw they have … er had. How many truck and SUV owners bought them because they like the feeling a putting a big chromed snarling face up against the rear end of whatever they are driving behind. It is no accident that modern SUV and truck front ends are as big and menacing looking as possible.

  • avatar
    50merc

    When I see statements such as “We can drill all that we want, but it’ll be 5 to 10 years before those wells come on-line” or “We simply don’t have enough of it on American soil. And ANWR’s contribution is just a drop in the bucket,” I wonder if I’m the only one in this crowd who’s seen an oil well other than in the movies.

    It might take years to build pipelines and other infrastructure for ANWR oil, but that’s an extreme case. Here in the lower 48, it’s just a few months from the time a drilling rig punches a hole to the delivery of oil to a refinery. Once the rig leaves, about all that’s left above ground are some valves. The biggest constraint right now is getting a rig: the industry was practically demolished in the 80′s bust. I used to occasionally drive by a field that held a vast sea of rusting drilling equipment, bought for a few cents on the dollar at bankruptcy auctions. Brazil has contracted for most of the deep water rigs, and it takes time to build more, let alone train workers.

    ANWR (or any other prime source you’d like to name) won’t supply ALL our needs, but it will provide SOME, and prices are determined at the margin. Demand for oil isn’t very elastic so small changes in supply can lead to substantial changes in price. We shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Nemphre: They cause more damage to the roads.

    Roads are built to withstand 80,000 pound tractor trailers. (For that matter, they were also built to withstand 5,000 pound late 1950s and early 1960s Cadillacs and Lincolns.)

    The difference in weight between a passenger car and an SUV isn’t sufficient to cause additional damage to roads. The relationship between road damage and a vehicle’s weight isn’t a linear one.

    John Horner: And yet, many SUV drivers are completely unconcerned about what might happen should they run into, or over, one of those small cars. When asked about the horrific damage a big SUV inflicts on a small car in an accident the usual response is: Dumb idiot should have driven a tank like me.

    Even though we have more light trucks on the road than ever before, and light trucks are more than double the percentage of the vehicle fleet compared to the percentage that they claimed in 1978, the deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is less than 1/2 what it was in 1978. The roads are safer than ever before. If SUVs were really wiping out the drivers of smaller vehicles on a regular basis, they would have also wiped out the gains made by safer vehicles and improved roads.

    Also note that the majority of small car fatalities are the result of single-vehicle crashes or collisions with other small cars.

    I don’t worry about SUVs any more than I worry about an airplane crashing into the house (and we live near a major airport).

    And I don’t even drive an SUV, or want one.

    If people had a real understand what the true risks are when on the road, we’d have less squawking about SUVs (and less squawking about people driving 80+ mph on limited access highways, but that would involve abandoning the dopey “speed kills” mantra that the slow and the clueless hold dear). We’d focus on lane discipline, driving training and targeting the truly drunk drivers (which means forgetting the “intoxication begins after just one drink” nonsense).

    For that matter, if speed limits were set at realistic levels, maybe people would value handling and braking dynamics instead of bulk and the ability to float down the road.

    I’m not holding my breath for that one, given that some people on the national stage (not on this site) have been calling for a return of the 55 mph speed limit. At that slow speed, forget about the SUV – we might as well drive 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Broughams with mushy suspensions, disc/drum brakes (no anti-lock feature, either) and novocaine steering.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If SUVs were really wiping out the drivers of smaller vehicles on a regular basis, they would have also wiped out the gains made by safer vehicles and improved roads.

    SUV’s have slowed the pace of the reduction in the fatality rate. This has been quantified and studied, nobody really denies that this is the case.

    In passenger car vs. LTV’s (pickup truck and SUV) accidents, the fatality rate for those in the passenger cars is four times higher than for those in the LTV’s. During 2005, 49% of all of the fatalities in passenger car accidents involving more than one car involved a pickup or SUV on the other end of it.

    The numbers make it pretty clear. The combination of bumper height, body-on-frame construction and mass is lethal to those driving who are driving cars. The SUV occupants are more likely to be hurt by rolling the vehicle over, but they inflict a lot of damage on us in the process.

    SUV’s create a lose-lose, as they not only have inferior active safety (they handle poorly, take longer to stop and are more prone to rolling over), but they also offer substantial inferior passive safety to those around them. Sucks to be a car guy, I guess.

  • avatar
    lmike51b

    Drive what you want and enjoy it. If you can’t afford it, get rid of it/don’t get it!

  • avatar
    healinginfluence

    If this rumor is accurate, then the economy is in for another blow. Banks are already in trouble for making bad mortgage loans. Now the same or other banks are deferring losses on SUV loans. We could all be in for a rough ride.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    And yet, many SUV drivers are completely unconcerned about what might happen should they run into, or over, one of those small cars. When asked about the horrific damage a big SUV inflicts on a small car in an accident the usual response is: Dumb idiot should have driven a tank like me.

    How far do we take this? How much responsibility is on the owner/driver of the small car – any?

  • avatar
    Durask

    And yet, many small car drivers are completely unconcerned about what might happen should they run into, or over, one of those motorcycles or scooters or bicycles. When asked about the horrific damage a car inflicts on a person on a bike in an accident the usual response is: Dumb idiot should have driven a car like me.

    :)

  • avatar
    Gottleib

    this is good news for our politicians. Ever notice how many of those that govern have SUV’s. Since we are a free democratic society as mentioned by someone else don’t you think what is good for the goose is also good for the gander?
    Last year while in Washington DC for the first time in a long time, I was very surprised to see the number of Suburbans and Tahoes that were roaming the streets with police escorts. I assume these must be elected officials or other government employees that required protection or escort. I will be concerned when those that lead and govern this country begin driving the small high mileage cars, before then I will not join the “sky is falling brigade.”

  • avatar
    Busbodger

    My only concern about this “era” of tightness is that lately these topics divide people more than they bring us together. We seem to get more and more polarized with every debate rather than conceding that yes the other guy has a few good points.

    It’s the concessions that help us grow wiser. It’s the polarization that drives folks to this side of the boxing ring or the other, makes people think they can’t be friends with the folks on the other side of the argument.

    These are reasons I hate electrion years and why I have really disliked this one with it’s long period of pandering and lies. More time to listen to the liars tell stories and make promises most of us will not remember or hold the politicians to.

  • avatar
    geeber

    pch101: SUV’s have slowed the pace of the reduction in the fatality rate. This has been quantified and studied, nobody really denies that this is the case.

    What has slowed the reduction in the fatality rate is that we picked the low-hanging fruit. The declines in the fatality rate are what is to be expected. As the rate has declined, further improvements are harder to come by, and smaller in scope – just as the last 10 pounds are harder to lose than the first 20.

    If SUVs were truly killing the occupants of other vehicles, then the number of car drivers killed in two-vehicle crashes, as a fraction of all car drivers killed, should have risen dramatically as SUV sales soared.

    But this hasn’t happened. If SUVs were substantially increasing risks to car occupants, then it must necessarily follow that this ratio would increase in tandem with the increasing numbers of SUVs on the road. The data from 1994 forward show no evidence of any such increase.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States