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Recent news from JD Power says that 53% of luxury SUV buyers who traded in their cars since November did not buy another luxury SUV. Most bought cars or smaller SUVs. This led the New York Times to opine that we may be seeing the sunset of the big, fancy SUV. If so, the big SUV did not have had much of a life span.

The big Toyota, Infiniti, and Lexus SUVs still seem to be doing fairly well. The question is why? They carry premium prices. It is interesting that the article in the New York Times mentioned the U.S. SUVs and Mercedes, but nothing about Japanese imports. Perhaps this is because they are the exception that makes the case. For whatever reason, it is a careless omission.

Edmunds lists no incentives for the Infiniti Q56. Ditto the Lexus GX470. The list of incentives for the Lincoln Navigator is fairly long. The list for the 2006 Escalade, both incentives and zero percent financing, is breathtaking. Edmunds even shows an incentive for the 2007 Escalade, although it is based on an invoice date that is likely to affect few if any of the 2007 models.

Cadillac and Lincoln will both bring new, large luxury SUVs to market. The fate of these may determine whether FM and Ford continue to make a huge marketing and manufacturing commitment to vehicles like this. If they can sell well side-by-side with the Japanese counterparts, the answer should be "yes".

Douglas A. McIntyre is the former Editor-in-Chief of Financial World Magazine and was president of Switchboard.com when it was the 10th most visited site on the internet, according to MediaMetrix.

Source: SUV R.I.P (F, GM, TM)