Dec 26, 2008

Surprising to you, maybe No, Viriginia, the Prius isn't the most popular car in America

Now that most Americans can't be bothered to read a daily newspaper, the little headlines that Yahoo puts up when you're signing in to get your email have become, I suspect, a major news source. One that caught my eye the other day was to the effect of The Surprising Bestselling Vehicle in the USA—And It's Not a Hybrid or Even a Small Car. Yeah? No kidding. It's the big Ford F-series pickup, with the Chevrolet Silverado pickup right behind it. Just as it's been for years.

The F-series did fall out of its top spot for a few months early this summer, when financial speculation—oh, I'm sorry, Supply & Demand—suddenly sent gas prices to $4 a gallon and beyond. Once fuel prices started drifting back to earth, the F-series once again assumed its position at the top of the best-sellers list, where it has been camped out for more than a decade. The fact that this is "surprising" news to the mainstream media is yet another depressing indicator of how clueless they are with regard to the U.S. auto market. It's part of the whole notion that the American carmakers' precarious financial position is obviously due to their stubborn insistence on building big trucks that no one wants, when they should have been making economical small cars and hybrids (like the Prius!). Except the fact is that when gas is $3 a gallon or less, Americans want big trucks. Lots of them. Should U.S. carmakers build more economical models, better small cars, and more hybrids? Sure. But is it surprising that the Ford F-series is America's bestselling vehicle? Only to those who are completely ignorant of the U.S. car market.