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No, that putt-putt sound you hear isn't the gardener's Briggs and Stratton — it's the mess of four bangers car customers are buying — which is eating into the sales of six- and eight-cylinder engines. Compared to the first five-point-five months in 2005, fours are comprising a greater portion of sales than sixes and eights during the same period this year, according to the Power Information Network. What's startling is that the engines' 2006 sales split had ben virtually identical to last year's until the week of April 17th, when fours started to overtake their counterparts with more pistons. Was it the IRS or the Toyota YarIS that did it? Watch this space. (Click through for the results.)

January 1 to May 14, 2006
Four-Cylinder: 32.10%
Six-Cylinder: 41.70%
Eight-Cylinder: : 23.80%


January 1 to May 15, 2005
Four-Cylinder: 29.50%
Six-Cylinder: 43.30%
Eight-Cylinder: 25.10%
[Source: Power Information Network]

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