Forum - The Truth About Cars

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-   -   Would we benefit from a new definition of "Light Utility Vehicle"? (

993cc 01-21-2014 12:57 PM

Something that has been on my mind for a while: *The perverse incentives created by having separate categories for passenger cars and light trucks under safety and CAFE regs, and how they have promoted the popularity of the dreaded (by me, at least) SUVs and toy trucks that clog our roads.*

When safety, emissions, and CAFE regulations first came into being, there was legitimate concern about not overburdening small businesses and industry with the cost of the expensive upgrades meeting them would require, so the vehicles they used were exempted, for the most part. *Those exemptions have narrowed, but the distinction still survives in its application to CAFE standards. *

The definition of light truck, however, remains so broad as to include everything from a PT Cruiser to an Escalade. *Has any one of us ever seen either used as heavy hauler? Manufactures can thus give themselves an edge in meeting their CAFE numbers by shifting their customers who want a "useful" vehicle (say a station wagon) to a "Utility Vehicle" which can often end up being less useful. *

Would a different definition of the category allow the original intent (reduce the cost of working trucks) to survive, while reducing its abuse in the production of fashion accessories and status symbols?

My first thought is to return to the concept of "utility". *Maybe there should be some standard based on minimum ratio of payload to seats, such as 1000 lbs. per person.*

Any ideas?

JMII 01-21-2014 01:24 PM

Maybe tow rating? Or cargo space (cu ft)?

Your right the industry took advantage of a loop hole, but then customers jumped on the bandSUV (not wagon, see what I did there?). I often wondered how much of this is a chicken vs egg situation. Did people really want SUVs that badly, or did the lack of wagons force people into them? I owned an SUV for all of 8 months before I realized a pickup was more useful.

Hummer 01-21-2014 01:32 PM

I'll be a broken record for a second, but for goodness sake, a Body on frame should be the requirement to classify as light truck.

Also escalades tow well, I have a good friend that uses a 2500 dmax and an escalade for his landscape/state paid jobs requiring him to move track hoes and other heavy/small machines.

Sorry autocorrect is killing me right now.

th009 01-21-2014 10:13 PM

Why on earth should body on frame be a requirement?* The Transit is unibody as is the Sprinter and most of the European cargo-hauling vans, and it doesn't reduce their utility.* For that matter, vehicles like Transit Connect are legitimate trucks, albeit small ones.

Stay with objective criteria like load capacity, cargo capacity etc.

Hummer 01-22-2014 02:25 AM

That's their own fault, BOF cargo vans outsell the transit and sprinter.

additionally something as small as the transit shouldn't have trouble being put under the category of car.

How much can the transit tow Max set up?

BoF vans can get the 3/4 diesels.

There's no reason to call a transit a legitimate truck unless your also going to call the Mazda 5 a legitimate truck, it simple isn't capable of truck like duties, hauling tons of stuff can be done with any vehicle.

th009 01-22-2014 04:37 PM

In the US, BOF vans outsell the Sprinter, sure.* In Europe they do not, and in the US they probably will not once the Transit and ProMaster sales are both under way.

I think you are confusing the Transit with the Transit Connect.* Anyway, there is a need for multiple sizes of trucks, an 18-wheeler can't replace an F350, either.

Hummer 01-22-2014 05:05 PM

Good thing we don't live in Europe...

th009 01-22-2014 06:33 PM

Is there no other justfication for BOF other than "it's the American way?"

Hummer 01-23-2014 02:50 AM

Stronger, easier to repair in an accident, more able to accept changes. Can actually tow something other than itself.

There's nothing wrong with the transit connect but for how small and light it is, why should it be considered a light truck?

Not to forget the fact ford skirts the chicken tax by purposely making it a passenger vehicle.

But the topic is light truck definition, there's no way one can consider the transit connect a light truck, unless you also consider the encore a light truck. Double standard.

niky 01-23-2014 09:32 PM

The question is whether vehicles should be taxed on their intent, rather than their use... which is what either fuelled or fostered an environment wherein full-sized trucks became legitimate alternatives for single parents to pick up their kids from school with.

A simple straight footprint/weight/cargo capacity formula for guzzler taxing with no sub-classification should suffice, then add guzzler tax breaks after the fact if the vehicles are used for construction/farming/whateveruserequirestaxbreaks.*

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