The vaunted V-8 engine powered just 20.8% of total North American light-vehicle output for model-year ’10, eclipsing prior-year’s record low of 22.8%, according to Ward’s data. The penetration plunge flies in the face of a production jump in light trucks, once the mainstay for V-8s. But that segment increasingly is being populated by car-like cross/utility vehicles that afford improved fuel economy. The trend is gaining momentum as consumers cling to their desire for functionality ...

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