SUVs are much in the news these days, and the news isn't good. Some of the stories I've read hint that any manufacturer who counts on those vehicles is betting on a three-legged nag to win the Kentucky Derby.
It's really not that bad. Truck-based SUVs are taking their lumps, but they still are the third-best-selling vehicles on the U.S. market. Only pickups and mid-sized cars outpace them.
Truck-based SUVs are just what the name implies. They differ from the car-based SUVs, which are known as crossovers (heaven alone knows why) or, in Automotive News parlance, sport wagons. Sport wagon sales are up 17.4 percent this year.
Not so the truck-based models. They are down 14.8 percent. Most nameplates have suffered, from the smaller Jeep Liberty (down 3.8 percent) to the Ford Explorer (off 22.5 percent) to the hulking Chevrolet Suburban/Ford Expedition types, most of which are down 20.0 percent or more for the first four months of this year.
In all, sales of 36 of the 46 truck-based SUV nameplates are down.