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More American Car Buyers Opting for 4-Cylinder Over V6 and V8 Engines

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Once upon a time, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, most consumers liked their cars with six- or eight-cylinder engines. Blame the rising costs of fuels or advances in technology, but now, American buyers are turning to smaller 4-cylinder units in increasing numbers.

According to a report from IHS Automotive, in the first half of the year, more than 43% of the light vehicles sold in the US were equipped with four-cylinder engines, compared to just 30% five years ago.
It was the opposite in 2006, when V6s had a 43% market share. In the meantime, four cylinders’ sales rose and those of six-cylinders declined, with the former overtaking the latter in 2009. The V8 is losing ground even faster: its sales account for one in every six vehicles, whereas in 2005 that number was one in three.
The four-cylinder domination is even bigger if you do not take into account fleet sales, where many vehicles are trucks or vans with V6 or V8 engines.
The choice of fewer cylinders in new cars is explained by the downsizing trend, due to the increasing oil prices and the manufacturers’ efforts to build more fuel-efficient cars in order to meet the 35.5 mpg average consumption target set by the government for 2016.
For example, Ford’s new Ecoboost turbocharged four-cylinder coupled with six-speed transmission as standard has been introduced in many new models in its US line-up.
In addition, sales of smaller vehicles in the US are increasing, with small and mid-size sedans accounting for 44% of sales in 2001, compared to 36% six years ago.

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