Automakers Say Oil Spike Won't Stab Them
DETROIT (CNN/Money) - The auto industry is bracing for a possible oil shock this summer, but industry officials and experts say they don't expect even a sharp rise in gas prices to significantly shake up consumer buying patterns.
The oil shock of the 1970s helped put Japanese automakers on the map in the U.S. market. But today the difference between the fuel efficiency of comparable U.S. and Japanese models is far more limited. And much of the shift in consumer vehicle patterns came in response to gas lines and rationing rather then simple price increases.
Consumers have become more accustomed to price hikes, and many believe they will weather any increase in prices without changing buying habits away from the less fuel efficient light trucks, such as sport/utility vehicles, pickups and minivans, that now make up a majority of the U.S. auto market.
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