America's love affair with sport-utilities may be cooling a bit.
In a survey last fall by AutoPacific Inc., 44 percent of the respondents said they will consider buying a sport-utility next, compared with 51 percent a year earlier.
However, sport-utilities still lead all automotive segments in consideration for next vehicle purchase. Sport-utilities overtook mid-sized cars in the company's 1997 study.
AutoPacific President George Peterson said sport-utilities' decline could be due to exciting new cars entering the market and negative news stories about sport-utilities.
But the Santa Ana, Calif., research company's study indicates that sport-utility demand is likely to remain strong.
AutoPacific found that more than half the respondents aged 20 to 50 said they would consider a sport-utility for their next new-vehicle purchase.
But only 35 percent of people from 50 to 64 said they would consider a sport-utility as their next vehicle purchase. The number drops to 13 percent for people 65 and older.
The annual survey, in its fourth year, is based on responses from 29,910 new-vehicle buyers who made their purchases in September and November. The survey is called the 1998 Future Attribute and Demand and Segmentation Study.
AutoPacific also found that mid-sized cars are on the rebound.
Forty percent of respondents said they would consider a mid-sized car as their next vehicle purchase, compared to 29 percent in 1997.
Minivan consideration continues to tumble, from 29 percent in 1994 to 15 percent in 1998.
Only 6 percent of respondents said they would consider a compact car as their next purchase.