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The Herd Changes Course and Runs Away From S.U.V.s

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swag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:13 AM
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The Herd Changes Course and Runs Away From S.U.V.s
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/03/business/03scene.html...

By ROBERT H. FRANK, economist at the Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and co-author, with Ben S. Bernanke, of Principles of Economics.

. . .

An important feature of the herd instinct is that people are more likely to emulate others with higher incomes. Seeing a wealthy studio executive behind the wheel of a Range Rover instantly certified it as a players ride. As more and more high-income buyers purchased these vehicles, their allure grew. And when other automakers began offering similar vehicles at lower prices, S.U.V. sales took off.

But what the herd instinct giveth, it also taketh away. Even when gasoline was still relatively inexpensive, many urban motorists had begun to question the merits of owning poor-handling off-road vehicles that got only 10 miles a gallon. And with gas now selling for more than $3 a gallon, the cachet of S.U.V.s has vanished completely. If driving one was once like having a T-shirt saying, Im a player, it is now more like having one saying, Im a chump.

And that is a perception that no product can long survive. With unsold inventory languishing on dealer lots, prices of S.U.V.s have been plummeting. In some markets, G.M. is offering subsidized gas at $1.99 a gallon, and Ford is offering $1,000 worth of free gas, to anyone willing to buy one.

The last of Fords mammoth Excursions rolled off its Louisville, Ky., assembly line last Sept. 30. And G.M.s largest S.U.V., the Hummer H1, was discontinued in June of this year.

With the herd now in full stampede, the era of big, gas-guzzling S.U.V.s may soon be history.

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TheCowsCameHome Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:15 AM
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1. What a shame. All those land barges will become collectors items.
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tanyev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:19 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. They can market them as affordable living to all the people
who are losing their houses.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:57 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Let's start up a magazine: Car & Garden
just like in the movie Americathon
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niallmac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 08:21 AM
Response to Original message
3. We should use them to build coral reefs.
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no_hypocrisy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:07 AM
Response to Original message
5. Don't be surprise if leftover inventories of SUVs aren't promoted
as "living modules" for the homeless.
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Sal Minella Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Post-mobilehomes that are homes that are mobile....as it were...
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:26 AM
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6. Interesting -- someone forgot to tell Las Vegas.
Tobin "Hummer" just opened a brand-spankin' new lot across the street from their old lot - bigger, shinier, fancier, with Hummers everywhere.

And people seem to be buying the damn things -- although the Cadillac Esplanade (spelling?) is apparently the four-wheeled ego extender of choice in town.
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fasttense Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 09:29 AM
Response to Original message
7. Imagine being stuck with one of those things and being middle class.
You owe more on it than it is worth and you can't afford to buy something else. Even if you sell it for half of what you owe on it, you still have to buy something else to drive. You are just stuck paying huge gas bills to go to the grocery store. I'm so glad I never bought into cars as status symbols.
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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 11:38 AM
Response to Original message
9. Republicans
Edited on Thu Aug-03-06 11:38 AM by greenman3610
Fat clueless, selfish fucks propping their egos in ridiculous
greed/death machines.

tell me I'm wrong
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FiveGoodMen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-03-06 06:40 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Sorry, but you're correct.
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