FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. –– AutoUSA, a provider of Internet-generated consumer leads to auto dealers, experienced a 33.9 percent drop in truck leads and a 17.2 percent year-to-date increase in car leads through June 2008, as online auto buyers sought out more fuel-efficient vehicles. The change was driven by a major decrease in large pickup leads and a significant increase in small car leads.
"Economic concerns and gas prices during the first half of the year clearly influenced the vehicle preferences of auto buyers submitting online requests for quotes," said Phil DuPree, president of AutoUSA. "Car leads have always outnumbered truck leads regardless of market conditions, but we've never seen such a dramatic shift in leads from one category to another."
AutoUSA truck leads include large pickup, large SUV, small pickup and small SUV. The car lead category is made up of CUV, large car, luxury car, middle car and small car.
From January to June 2008, all leads for vehicles in the truck category declined. Large pickup leads experienced the biggest drop at -40.2 percent, followed by small SUVs at -36.2 percent, large SUVs fell -33.6 percent and small pickup leads dropped –21.3 percent, resulting in an overall 33.9 percent decrease in leads for the truck category.
During the same time period, small car leads had the largest increase at 62.7 percent, followed by middle cars up at 23.4 percent. Leads for the remaining vehicles in the car category all decreased. Large cars had the most notable drop at -17.8 percent, followed by CUVs at -11.6 percent and Luxury Cars at –2.0 percent.
The car leads category, which is historically larger than truck leads, had a 17.2 percent overall increase as more online consumers opted for smaller, gas saving vehicles.