Car buyers shunning V-6 and V-8 engines as gas hogs
Mar 19, 2010
Hyundai Motor America today introduced the all-new 2011 Sonata at the Los Angeles Auto Show. This marks the world auto show debut for the latest version of the popular midsize sedan, introducing Hyundai's "Fluidic Sculpture" design language. The 2011 Sonata launches with class-leading fuel economy of 23 mpg city / 35 mpg highway
Even though gas prices stayed just over $2 per gallon for most of 2009, motorists seem to have lost their affection for bigger engines -- V-6s and V-8s.
Five years ago, 63.9% of all light-duty vehicles has V-6s or V-8s. In 2009, the figure has fallen to 57.1%, including trucks, cars, crossovers and SUVs, according to a Ward's Auto survey. The trend is sure to continue. Some vehicles, like the new Hyundai Sonata above, have dropped their V-6 option.
This decline was still tightly linked to a tough economy in which 7.94 million vehicles were actually built for the U.S. market — the lowest level in 20 years and 39.4% lower than in '08.
Meanwhile, the four-cylinder engine's share of the car market rose from 51.7% to 61.9% in just one year and even captured 14.8% of the light-truck share. Trucks saw a 42.2% drop in overall production, which is one of the biggest factors in the decline of V-6 and V-8 installation in all light-duty vehicles, since those are the engines that still typically power pickups.
The V-8, in particular, has fallen quite a way from its 88.9% share of car engines in 1969. It now accounts for only 4.9% of engines in passenger cars.
Hybrid powertrains in all light vehicles also reached an all-time high, rising from 2.1% to 2.9%, and diesels were also up to 3.7% share of engines from 2.1% in '08.