U.S. motorists have recently been shying away from buying fuel-thirsty sport utility vehicles, an industry research firm said Thursday.
Power Information Network, an affiliate of J.D. Power & Associates, cited rising gasoline prices and a renewed emphasis by some manufacturers on their car models as factors contributing to what might become a worrisome trend for Detroit's Big Three automakers.
The Power report said unsold SUVs had sat on dealership lots for an average of 73 days as of last month, 7.4% longer than the "days to turn" rate for SUVs in June and 22% longer than the average in July 2003.
The days-to-turn rate for luxury SUVs jumped 47% from a year earlier to 50 days, the report said.
Also pointing to weakness in the SUV sector, the report said, was a 2% decline in the average SUV selling price in July from a year earlier. In the same period, the average price of all new vehicles rose 0.4%. Luxury SUV prices were nearly 5% lower.