Friday, March 7, 2014 by
February U.S. car sales were driven in part by the appeal of
mainstream compact crossovers. These vehicles offer the ideal
combination of value for the money, good fuel economy, car-like
driving characteristics, and SUV-like functionality. Midsize as
well as sub-compact crossovers offer some of these advantages but
not all of them. Compact crossover sales in February drove
industry results at the segment, model and make levels. At the
segment level, the February results were extraordinary.... Rea...
Thursday, February 20, 2014 by
In “Twilight of the Brands” in the February 17/24 issue of “The New
Yorker,” James Surowiecki discusses the challenges facing
brands in today’s information-rich U.S. economy. Surowiecki focuses
on Lululemon Athletica, a yoga apparel company that quickly became
the darling of the industry and then tumbled almost overnight
because of negative customer feedback. Such instantaneous
customer reaction can propel a company to new heights or spell its
doom in the blink of an eye, according to...Read...
Thursday, February 6, 2014 by
Given all the attention recently focused on Tesla, I thought it
would be interesting to see who is buying the Model S.
Specifically, what are customers trading in for the Model S, or
what other vehicles do Model S buyers have in their garage if they
are adding to their fleet? The Model S conquest data, derived from
Polk new vehicle registration data, are fascinating. There are two
ways of looking at the data. First, the pure conquest data show
that the Model S is conquesting owners of... Read...
Monday, January 20, 2014 by
Do you think a Jeep Grand Cherokee is a direct competitor of a
Porsche Cayenne? Would you add the Volkswagen Touareg to the
competitive set? Well, many Brazilian consumers do. And the results
may be surprising. Let me start with the winner in the
SUV/crossover segment. Land Rover is the preferred brand. The Range
Rover Evoque sells over three times more than vehicle number two,
the Volvo XC60. And the Freelander (LR2 in the U.S.) comes right in
third place. Looking one length class above, the......
Friday, January 17, 2014 by
When Google released its Zeitgeist 2013
, a compilation of the most googled
terms of the year, the Hyundai HB20 reached the top spot for
the Brazilian automotive industry. It was followed by the
Chevrolet Onix and Chevrolet Prisma. The new Volkswagen Golf and
the Volkswagen Beetle (locally called Fusca) rounded out the Top 5.
The HB20 hatchback, the Onix and the Fusca were launched late in
2012. There is no doubt the HB20 has written its success story in
Brazil’s automotive history. With 3,312......
Thursday, January 16, 2014 by
U.S. car dealers delivered 15,600,199 new cars and light trucks in
2013, up 8% from 2012. This is the fourth consecutive
year-over-year increase and follows three years of double-digit
growth from 2010 through 2012 as the industry climbed out of the
2009-10 recession. Of the 38 makes now on the market, 29 enjoyed
year-over-year increases in 2013, eight saw declines and one
(Tesla) could not be compared to 2012 since it had no sales at all
last year. The five makes with the largest increases... Re...
Wednesday, January 15, 2014 by
It was my pleasure to be a co-presenter last night, along with
Edouard Tavernier, as 33 winners were recognized for automotive
loyalty and conquest during the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards
presented by IHS. For those of you unfamiliar with how owner
loyalty is measured, it’s determined when a household that owns a
new vehicle returns to market and purchases or leases another new
vehicle of the same model or make. This year's Polk Loyalty
Awards recognized the best-of-the-best and winners...
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 by
The competition in the luxury part of the U.S. new vehicle industry
has perhaps never been as intense as it is right now, and, in a
related trend, new product activity in this space is as frenetic as
ever. BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz continue to vie for luxury sales
leadership with Audi and Cadillac aggressively trying to move up.
Many of the luxury makes have been expanding into new segments,
with such products as the Evoque, F-Type and CLA. There are other
examples of this trend coming...
Friday, January 3, 2014 by
Given the complexities of the global and U.S. economies, inevitably
there are going to be economic and/or industrial trends that run
counter to one another, but it seems to me that we are now
experiencing two movements that are particularly inconsistent. Last
month, The New York Times ran a story about the surge in U.S.
oil production, saying local oil output will increase by 800,000
barrels a day annually for at least the next three years (Dec. 17
page B1). Imported oil's share of total... Read...
Monday, December 16, 2013 by
I always think about the title of this post – how quickly should an
OEM phase a vehicle out? – when I analyze Chevrolet’s numbers in
Brazil, the second market for the brand just behind the U.S. Before
I get to the figures, let me give you a quick background.
Traditionally, Chevrolet had sold rebadged Opel models in Brazil:
Monza, Corsa, Zafira, Meriva, Astra, Vectra. During GM's Chapter 11
time, no investments were made in Brazil, which got Detroit's
approval of using local revenue to develop......
Friday, December 6, 2013 by
December brings to mind snow and cold, but for luxury dealers in
the U.S., this month will be the "hottest" of the year. U.S.
consumers purchase more new luxury vehicles in December than in any
other month of the year, according to monthly Polk new vehicle
registration data. This contrasts with the monthly tallies for the
non-luxury space, where March and August are the peak months.
Luxury registrations also rise in the spring, but not to the same
degree as non-luxury deliveries; rather,...
Monday, November 25, 2013 by
The Porsche Macan, Porsche's all-new small crossover revealed last
week in Los Angeles and to be launched in the U.S. next spring,
should be a "slam dunk," given the landscape of today's new vehicle
market. The small luxury crossover segment is one of the
fastest-growing in the industry, with registrations more than
quadrupling since 2008 and share of industry up by almost the same
amount (see table below). The number of small luxury crossovers in
the market has doubled from four in 2008 to...
Thursday, November 21, 2013 by
On Wednesday, November 13, the Automotive Professional Society
(APS) of New Jersey, along with the Society of
, held their Fall Networking Event. It was a
moment for those automotive professionals in New Jersey to come
together and explore a common issue in a friendly, non-competitive
manner. The focus of this APS meeting was to explore the concept of
experiential marketing. What are best practices for engaging
customers or prospects using these tactics? Can the automotive...
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by
Monthly summaries of U.S. car and light truck sales focus on macro
results such as the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR),
corporate results and brand results. Micro outcomes get less
publicity even though they may be as noteworthy, if not more so.
For instance, there has been little mention given to the fact that
Mercedes-Benz dealers delivered 4,895 CLAs in October, its second
month on the market. This tally follows 2,310 sales in September.
The October figure is surprisingly strong and...R...
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 by
I attended the 43rd edition of the Miami International Auto Show at
the Miami Beach Convention Center. This is truly regarded as the
official kick off for auto show season. Miami's show is sponsored
by the South Florida Automotive Dealers Association, which boasts
over 175 dealers. My experience began with a media launch party on
November 7th at the well-appointed Raleigh hotel on Collins Avenue.
This event boasted many local dealers, product specialists, show
event planners, members of the...
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by
After two lackluster years, Jaguar is now thriving in the U.S. In
both 2011 and 2012, Jaguar suffered registration declines even
though the industry recorded double-digit growth. But this year,
Jaguar's registrations have jumped 25% through August when compared
to a year ago. This is the fourth highest year-over-year gain among
all makes (with 1,000 or more registrations) that were also on the
market for all of 2012, after Porsche, Cadillac and Subaru.
Jaguar's gain is almost three times the...Re...
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 by
For those of you like me who have been in the automotive
aftermarket industry for a number of years, you understand the
common challenge that all of us have been facing for over a decade
– how do you determine if parts being sold in the U.S. or Europe
have applications that can generate revenue in other parts of the
world? And how do you identify vehicles that are more likely to
have the same components as those on the road in different
countries? I've never found these questions to be easy...
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 by
Do you have the impression that the Brazilian president meets the
CEO of an automaker daily? Lately there have been a lot of
announcements that OEMs will start – or resume – production in
Brazil. This year, Honda and Mercedes-Benz announced new plants,
while Audi stated it is coming back to Brazil and making cars
in a VW plant where it built the A3 some years ago. VW confirmed it
is finally updating the locally made Golf (currently still in its
fourth generation). Last year, BMW announced its......
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 by
Leasing is not just back; it has climbed to new heights in the U.S.
car business. Through the first seven months of 2013, leases have
accounted for 20% of all new vehicle transactions, the highest
annual lease penetration in at least 10 years if it holds for
the rest of the year. The Fed's bond-buying program, which has
suppressed interest rates, coupled with the higher quality and
residuals of new vehicles, has helped to make leasing more
attractive to the consumer. This industry-wide rise...
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 by
U.S. new vehicle registration data indicate that millenials' (age
21-34) portion of total new vehicle registrations continues to
decline (see chart below). In the first seven months of this year,
11.2% of all new vehicle purchases were made by millenials, down
from 14.5% five years ago. There are two schools of thought on why
this trend is occurring:
- Millenials are not as interested in cars as their predecessors
because, among other things, today's millenials are immersed in the