Beginning with model year (MY) 2011, the classification of cars or light trucks has changed for the purposes of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards. Two-wheel-drive (2wd) sport utility vehicles of 6,000 pounds or less gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) will no longer be classified as light trucks, though the 4wd models of these vehicles will continue to be light trucks. A cargo van sold without rear seating will be classified as a light truck because it provides greater cargo-carrying than passenger-carrying volume, while the same vehicle sold with rear seating will be classified as a car. The classification rules are complicated, but in general, in order to be classified as a light truck, a vehicle must:

  • have 4wd and meet 4 out of 5 ground clearance characteristics,
  • have a GVWR over 6,000 lbs and meet 4 out of 5 ground clearance characteristics,
  • have greater cargo-carrying than passenger-carrying volume, or
  • have three rows of seats and the capability to expand cargo-carrying volume through folding or removing seats.

The list below shows which vehicles will likely be changing from light trucks to cars, based on MY2008 vehicle specifications. Those vehicles accounted for about 6% of total light vehicle sales in MY2008.

Vehicles Likely Changing from Light Truck to Car Classification for MY2011 CAFE Standards
Make and ModelVehicle Sales MY2008 (Thousands)Share of Total Sales
Chrysler Pacifica Awd* 2007 Ward's %2.00.02%
Chrysler Pacifica Fwd* 2007 Ward's %5.30.04%
Chrysler Town & Country118.60.90%
Dodge Caravan 2wd123.70.94%
Mercedes-Benz R320 CDI 4Matic Diesel
Mercedes-Benz R350
Mercedes-Benz R350 4Matic
Cadillac SRX 2wd6.30.05%
Chevrolet G1500/2500 Express 2wd13.20.10%
Chevrolet Uplander Fwd40.50.31%
GMC Acadia Awd26.20.20%
GMC Acadia Fwd40.20.30%
GMC G1500/2500 2wd Savana1.30.01%
Saturn Outlook Awd7.80.06%
Saturn Outlook Fwd17.50.13%
Honda Odyssey 2wd135.51.03%
Hyundai Veracruz 2wd4.50.03%
Hyundai Entourage8.50.06%
Kia Sedona26.90.20%
Mazda Mazda522.00.17%
Nissan Pathfinder 2wd16.40.12%
Nissan Quest18.30.14%
Toyota 4Runner 2wd17.70.13%
Toyota Highlander 2wd35.60.27%
Toyota Sienna 2wd104.40.79%
Toyota Sienna 4wd11.60.09%
Total of Vehicles Listed811.76.15%
Total Model Year Light Vehicle Sales13,194.7100.00%

Note: Based on MY2008 vehicle data.
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Sales data from Ward's Communications.

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