Study: Big 3 SUVs dominate market

LOS ANGELES - Domestic models continue to dominate the mid-sized sport-utility market, according to a study released Thursday by J.D. Power and Associates.

Unlike other vehicle segments where imports have been eroding domestic market share, models such as the Ford Explorer, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango control 72.9 percent of the mid-sized sport-utility market.

As a whole, the sport-utility market share continues to grow. But mid-sized sport-utility market penetration, which peaked in 1999 at 11.1 percent, is down 1.8 percent and available models have increased from 15 in 1999 to 20 in 2001.

The loss is partly attributed to the movement from mid-sized to smaller sport-utilities and larger, full-sized sport utilities, up 42 percent and 37 percent, respectively.

U.S. automakers face little competition from foreign competitors in the mid-sized sport-utility segment. But Power says new entries such as the Toyota Highlander and Honda's new Passport could loosen the domestic grip on the segment.

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