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Automakers planning crossovers, SUVs regardless of gas prices

Automakers planning crossovers, SUVs regardless of gas prices

Americans bought a record 17.47 million vehicles in 2015, surging past the old record of 17.35 million set in 2000. Several factors drove the record growth: pent-up demand, an improving economy, easy credit, low interest rates, and low gas prices.

The last factor is affecting not only what vehicles we buy but also how automakers design future products.

Low gas prices have helped fuel the trend away from cars and into more trucks, SUVs and crossovers. Virtually every brand saw increases in light truck sales, which includes pickups, vans, crossovers and SUVs, while cars were down. Crossover vehicle sales in particular are on fire. On the other end, fuel savers such as hybrids...

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