BETHESDA, Md.-Sales of light trucks and sport-utility vehicles continued to soar in the U.S. during the first eight months of 1996. At a 7.4-percent pace, light truck sales far outpaced passenger car sales, which were up less than 1 percent, according to statistics from the Automotive Parts & Accessories Association (APAA), which is based in Bethesda.
The record truck totals were powered by a 21-percent jump in sport-utility vehicle sales and a 5.9-percent gain in pickup truck sales. Minivan purchases fell 3.1 percent during the same period, the APAA reported in its recent Light Truck/Sport-Utility Market study.
Between 1985 and 1995, new motor vehicle demand has shifted significantly from passenger cars to light trucks, with sales of the latter growing by 39 percent while car sales dropped 23 percent.
Over that period, the light truck segment's share of the light vehicle market jumped from 29 percent to 42 percent, the APAA noted. That segment represented 43 percent of light vehicle sales between January and August 1996.
The association estimated that light trucks will outsell passenger cars for the first time by 2005.