Four-Cylinders Dominate Market

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Energy concerns are on the front burner of the American psyche lately. While politicians and automakers bicker over the right direction for the nation’s energy policy, consumers have decided with their wallets. For the first time, vehicles equipped with four-cylinder powertrains have captured more than half (51%) of the overall market, according to Power Information Network, an affiliate of J.D. Power and Associates. This is in stark contrast to just last year, when six-cylinders were king of the hill, accounting for 39% of the market; four-cylinders comprised 38%.

The biggest loser in all of this is the V-8 engine, which was once the mark of luxury and status. Automakers are beginning to redistribute their funding to engine programs according to changing consumer tastes. Ford’s EcoBoost and GM’s “family zero” lineup, which use direct injection and turbocharging, are examples of new high-output/low-displacement engines that sacrifice little in terms of performance but gain greatly in fuel efficiency. In the meantime, GM has cut back on V-8 development with the cancellation of GM’s Northstar replacement.

All of this has reduced the V-8 from a quarter of the market in 2006 to 13% today, PIN said. According to USA Today, automakers are “confining [V-8s] to trailer-towing trucks and a few premium cars or high-performance sports models.” So in an era of high gas prices and environmental concerns, V-8s are looking like an endangered species. Given time, maybe even the V-6 will become an even smaller minority.

More car buyers say: I shouldn’t have a V-8
(USA Today)

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