Light trucks -- pickups, sport utility vehicles and minivans -- likely outsold cars in 2001for the first time in history, according to a report by Earle Eldridge in USA Today
.Trucks have gone from 33.7 percent of the market in 1991 to a projected 50.5 percent in 2001, according to AutoData. Final sales results will be released Jan. 3.During the past decade and especially in the last five years, automakers have fed the seemingly unquenchable appetite for trucks with a slew of new models. Truck models jumped to 101 this year from 67 in 1991, according to J.D. Power and Associates. At the same time, the number of car models fell from 192 to 157.SUVs get much of the credit for the sales increase -- and account for several of the new models, according to USA Today
.But many of the newest, most popular SUVs are a long way from the off-roading, rock-climbing testosterone-mobiles that started the trend. They have a smoother, more carlike ride, are quieter and get better fuel mileage, according to Paul Taylor, chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). At the same time, they can carry more cargo and passengers than the typical car.