The auto companies thought they were really helping themselves by resisting an increase in CAFE standards. Be careful what you wish for:
The latest automobile sales figures show that Americans are increasingly wary of gas-thirsty sport utility vehicles. That was particularly bad news for General Motors and the Ford Motor Company, which both saw their sales slip last month as consumers continued their steady march into Asian car companies’ dealerships.
Both Toyota and Nissan posted record sales gains in April, which helped push overall auto sales in North America up 1.8 percent.
Of course, reality always hits hardest for those who have worked so hard to fool themselves:
General Motors has long maintained that gas prices do not affect how consumers approach buying a car or truck. But on Tuesday, G.M.’s chief industry sales analyst, Paul Ballew, appeared to retreat somewhat from that position, saying that record gas prices were likely playing some role in falling S.U.V. sales.
“It’s probably impacting a bit on the margin,” Mr. Ballew said. Pointing to G.M.’s improved large truck sales, he added a caveat: “People want to quickly say large utility sales are down because of gas prices, and that is just not the cause-and-effect relationship that we can find.”
In other news, tobacco executives maintain their product is not addictive.
The glory days of unfettered gas consumption are over, and their addiction to the profits from behemoths is coming home to roost. It would be funny if a failing and waning auto industry were not going to be so devastating to our economy.