Affected by the turmoil in the economy, job losses, and increasing oil prices, consumers have drastically adapted their car buying habits from the days of behemoth SUV to smaller, lighter cars. Since 2006, carmakers have added more subcompact and micro cars to their fleets, giving car buyers the lower purchase price and fuel economy they have been in search of. At least this is what most of us observed and surmised as fact. But what does this transformation mean and how momentous was the shift?
Data points readily available from RL Polk tell us what vehicles by weight consumers are purchasing and bringing into the on-road fleet. We took this detailed volume and weight data and created a weight-by-vehicle index to pattern the relative purchases over time (normalized for volume differences).