Jeremy Acevedo, Edmunds' manager of industry analysis, said GM's plans to cut six more car models compounds the lopsided ratio of car sales to truck sales: "It's more one-sided than we've ever seen it."
Through October, cars held 31.4 percent of the U.S. light-vehicle market, while trucks had 68.6 percent, according to the Automotive News Data Center. That compares with 36.2 percent vs. 63.8 percent a year ago.
Still, Acevedo agreed with some dealers' sentiment that segment-loyal shoppers could be hesitant to trade in low-riding vehicles for trucks. "It's easy for shoppers to move from a Cavalier to a Cobalt to a Cruze," he said. "But it's a whole different ballgame moving from a car to an SUV."
And whether consumers will fork over more for those truck models or find alternatives, such as defecting to foreign brands or turning to used vehicles, remains to be seen. But one thing appears certain: They will pay more, on average, for whatever new vehicle they buy.
Five years ago, about 60 percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. were priced below $30,000, said Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist at Cox Automotive. Now, it's closer to 40 percent.
Said Chesbrough: "So the market has priced itself out of affordability for a whole slew of Americans."