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Power Pulse / NEW VEHICLE SALES TRENDS

Ford's Big Excursion SUV Steals the Thunder From General Motors' Suburban

May 17, 2000|JOHN O'DELL

Sales of sport-utility vehicles continue to climb, with buyers gravitating toward the smallest and largest of the breed. For Ford Motor Co., that means the gamble to build the industry's largest SUV, the Excursion, is paying off.

And it is hurting General Motors Corp., which once disparaged the Excursion but is moving now to copy its leviathan dimensions in a six-door, extended-length Chevrolet Suburban.

GM products account for more than 40% of the trade-ins that Ford dealers are accepting for Excursions, according to retail sales data collected from dealers in 11 major metropolitan markets by the J.D. Power & Associates Power Information Network.

The big Fords are selling at a faster pace than Suburbans, even through the most expensive four-wheel-drive version of the Excursion is going for about $3,700 more than a comparable Suburban.

"This is the first time the Suburban has had serious competition," said Tom Libby, the Power Information Network's director of consulting.

Arrival of the giant Ford SUV has forced GM to begin offering rebates on the Suburban for the first time. And the giant-SUV segment "will get even bloodier" if Ford follows through on plans to increase Excursion production, Libby said.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Excursion vs. Suburban

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Sales Attributes Excursion 2WD Excursion 4WD Suburban 2WD Suburban 4WD Average Price $36,059 $39,891 $32,451 $36,153 Average Buyer Age 42 42 41 41 Days to Sell 30 17 38 48 Sold With Rebate NA NA 55% 50% Female Buyers 20% 16% 20% 20% Trade-In From 48% 37% 48% 43% Same Manufacturer

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2WD = two-wheel drive, 4WD = four-wheel drive

Source: J.D. Power & Associates

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