SUVs drop, imports grow
For car shoppers, the news signals that GM and Ford may be shifting focus to fuel economy, including hybrids and new engine technology, such as variable cylinder activation. Ford, which now sells the Escape Hybrid and is in the process of building a hybrid version of its new mid-sized sedan, the 2006 Fusion, recently announced plans to offer more than half of its vehicles with hybrid powertrains by 2010. And late last week, Bob Lutz, General Motors vice chairman, said that GM would energize its drive to build hybrid vehicles, but that its first true hybrid full-size SUV would still debut in 2007. General Motors is also banking on improved fuel economy from its redesigned lineup of full-size SUVs, thanks in part to Displacement-on-Demand, an engine technology that deactivates cylinders as power requirements are reduced.