Engine downsizing trends in the U.S. market

4-cylinder engines installed on 67% of passenger cars and 6-cylinder engines on half of light trucks

2012/09/25

Summary

 The following is an outline of engine configurations in terms of the number of cylinders and displacements of engines on passenger cars and light trucks sold in the United States by major auto manufacturers.

 The first part of the report deals with "the vehicles produced in North America (US, Mexico, and Canada) for the US market" and the latter part covers "all vehicles sold in the US including the imports".

Engine configurations for vehicles manufactured and sold in the U.S. (MY1997-2012)

Vehicles
manufactured in North America
Total number of vehicles made in North America In MY (Model Year) 2012, 39.6% of the vehicles manufactured in North America were fitted with 4-cylinder engines, and 39.5%, 6-cylinder engines. The percentages ten years ago were 25% for 4-cylinder engines and 45% for 6-cylinder engines. However, the rate of each has not differed much since MY2009.
* The rate of vehicles with 4-cylinder engines is growing for both passenger cars and light trucks.
* The increased number of light trucks with 6-cylinder engines contributed to the slight recovery of vehicles with this type of engine from MY2009.
* The percentage of vehicles with 8-cylinder engines has gone down to 17.4% due to a decline in light trucks with this engine.
Passenger cars Passenger cars * Approximately 50% of passenger cars were installed with 4-cylinder engines and approximately 40% had 6-cylinder engines. This trend continued for ten years until MY2007.
* The number of passenger cars with 4-cylinder engine configurations grew and that with 6-cylinder engine configurations dropped after MY2008.
* In MY2012, the percentage of cars with a 4-cylinder engine was 66.8% and 22.9% with a 6 -cylinder engine.
* The change in this trend was caused by an increase of 4-cylinder models built by the Detroit Three.
Light trucks Light trucks * Until MY2009, both 6-cylinder and 8-cylinder engines were installed on more than 40% of light trucks, respectively, for covering most of the light trucks sold in the U.S.
* After MY2010, the percentage of vehicles with 4- and 6-cylinder engines grew and that of vehicles with 8-cylinder engines declined. By MY2012, the percentage of vehicles with 6-cylinder engines went up to 53.2%. By contrast, the ratio of 8-cylinder engines dropped down to 29%, rapidly nearing that of 4-cylinder engines (17.3%).
* This trend was caused by downsizing of engines installed on vehicles from three U.S OEMs.
Source: WARD'S Automotive Yearbooks
(Note) 1. Figures for MY2012 are provisional data of a mid-year survey in August 2012.
2. The data apply to the models produced by the 14 automakers in North America (US, Canada, Mexico) and sold in the United States.
3. The 14 automakers manufacturing in North America are the Detroit Three (GM, Ford, Chrysler), seven Japanese automakers (Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Mazda, Fuji Heavy (Subaru), Suzuki), and four European and Korean automakers (VW, BMW, Daimler (Mercedes-Benz), Hyundai-Kia Group).