Tuesday, September 10, 2013 by
August U.S. new car and light truck sales were not merely good —
they were extraordinary. Consider the following:
- U.S. customers purchased 1,503,151 new cars and light trucks in
August, the highest monthly volume since May 2007
- This August total converts to an annual rate (SAAR) of 16.1
million, the highest monthly SAAR since November 2007
- The August year-over-year increase of 17% was the highest
monthly change since June 2012
- Every manufacturer enjoyed a sales increase in August
- August Ford...
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 by
Drive on any U.S. highway for more than 10 minutes and you
can't help but notice the wide variety of vehicles on the road.
There appear to be dozens of colors, wheels, designs and body types
from which to choose, not to mention the variety of less visible
features such as engines, transmissions and connectivity
technologies. A visitor to the U.S. could rightfully be overwhelmed
by the plethora of different cars and light trucks on the road.
Yet, a review of body type registration data reveals......
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 by
When car owners either trade their vehicle for a new one or add a
vehicle to their household fleet, 55-60% of them choose a vehicle
from the same corporation as their existing vehicle. But what about
car owners whose brand has been discontinued (frequently referred
to as "orphan" owners)? This is now a topical question since GM and
Ford together have recently discontinued five brands. As of April,
there were over 14.4 million orphan owners in the U.S. (including
owners of vehicles from all...Read...
Thursday, August 1, 2013 by
There is mounting evidence that the three "domestic" automakers,
long known for their strength in light trucks, are turning out more
competitive cars and that consumers are noticing. New retail
registration data for the first five months of 2013 show the
domestics have gained almost two points of car market share (versus
the same time period in 2012) with almost all of this increase
coming at the expense of the Asian makes. The domestics have made
these gains while at the same time increasing...R...
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 by
The "sweet spot" in the U.S. premium new vehicle market right now,
at least from a volume standpoint, is the compact crossover
category. Small luxury CUV registrations have jumped almost
four-fold over the past five years, with almost 75,000 being
delivered in the first five months of 2013. The segment's share of
industry has reached 1.15% and small luxury crossovers now account
for more than one of every 10 luxury registrations (with all
luxury crossovers together making up a third of the...Read...
Friday, July 12, 2013 by
At the brand level, the structures of the U.S. marketing and sales
operations of all the major automakers are similar with the
exception of one. The OEMs operating in the U.S. have one dominant
make accounting for at least 60% (and much higher in most cases) of
all its U.S. registrations while Chrysler's registrations are
spread more evenly across five makes (see chart below). Chrysler's
U.S. structure is the result of both acquisitions and a different
marketing strategy. Chrysler purchased...
Thursday, June 20, 2013 by
One reason for the improved U.S. market shares for both GM and Ford
in 2013 is their rising shares of the non-luxury subcompact car
category. GM's share of this segment climbed from 8.6% in 2011 to
14.3% last year, and it should reach 15% this year. Both the
Chevrolet Sonic and Spark have sold well and represent improvements
versus the Daewoo-based Chevrolet Aveo. In 2012, the Sonic ranked
number two in the subcompact segment based on registrations,
trailing only the Versa. Ford did not... Read...
Monday, May 20, 2013 by
Just as the U.S. new vehicle market continues to fragment into
dozens of segments and hundreds upon hundreds of models, the
commercial van segment is splitting into two distinct categories,
each with a wide range of models. Back in 2008, the commercial van
customer had five models from which to choose, but by next year
there will be 11 models on the market. Prior to 2009, there
was one commercial van segment and it was perennially dominated by
Ford's E-Series (Econoline and Club Wagon). In...
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 by
It is no secret that Toyota owes much of its climb in the U.S.
market to the success of the Camry. This sedan has been the most
popular car in the U.S. every year since 1997, with the exception
of 2001 when it was edged out by the Accord, and Toyota has not
hesitated to stress the Camry's leadership position in its
advertising. The Camry and Corolla represent the core of Toyota's
car lineup in the U.S., though obviously there are other successful
Toyota cars. The Camry's position at the...
Monday, April 29, 2013 by
Given that U.S. new vehicle registrations in 2012 were spread
across 52 makes and 331 models, it's difficult to summarize the
results concisely. This leads to a focus on the larger makes that
dominate the industry. Yet one smaller make has been outperforming
the industry for years and deserves some recognition. Subaru's
recent performance in the U.S. has been remarkable. Two facts stand
out. Subaru is the only make in the entire U.S. industry that has
had five consecutive year-over-year sales...R...
Monday, April 22, 2013 by
Ford and GM are now solidly profitable and Ford's credit rating has
moved out of the junk category, but the U.S. market shares for both
companies declined significantly in 2012. Whether share is
calculated by looking at the first two months of this year versus
the same time period a year ago or versus all of last year, the
results are the same. While these trends are discouraging in and of
themselves, they are particularly concerning right now because the
European operations of both companies...R...
Monday, March 25, 2013 by
On the eve of the 2013 New York Auto Show, the media has noted the
irony that one of the largest auto shows in the country is taking
place in a location where many residents do not even own a car.
What is less frequently, if ever, mentioned in the press is the
fact that the mix of new cars purchased by New Yorkers who DO own a
vehicle is far different from the mix in the rest of the United
States. One of the most vivid differences between new vehicle
registrations in New York and the rest of...
Tuesday, March 19, 2013 by
Mainstream large cars, such as the Avalon, Maxima, Taurus and
Impala, continue to lose favor. Their combined share of the U.S.
market has retreated from 5.8% in 2008 to just 3.5% in 2012 (the
results were similar this past January, with the large car share
declining from 4.1% a year ago to 3.9% this year). Large cars now
account for a smaller slice of the U.S. market than minivans,
itself an endangered species. And the number of large cars
continues to decline, down from 14 in 2008 to 7 now....Re...
Wednesday, March 6, 2013 by
Three new cars are striving to gain ground in the huge non-luxury
small car segment. The 2013 Dodge Dart was launched last June, the
redesigned 2013 Nissan Sentra last November, and the 2014 Kia Forte
sedan arrives later this month. This segment accounted for 16% of
all new vehicle registrations in 2012, second only to the midsize
cars 17.6% among the 32 segments tracked by Polk. The non-luxury
small car segment has been dominated for years by such well-known
models as the Corolla, Civic and...Re...
Monday, February 11, 2013 by
January 2013 U.S. new light vehicle sales climbed 14% from a year
ago and sales for the rest of the year are expected to climb as
well, though at a more modest rate. There are several drivers of
this growth, both at the macroeconomic level and within the
industry itself. Consider the following:
- Interest rates remain exceptionally low, and with the Fed
promising to keep them there until unemployment declines to 6.5%,
we can expect to see low rates for quite awhile. This means that
Thursday, January 31, 2013 by
The next 18 months are important for all OEMs, but perhaps
more so for GM than for any of its rivals. From mid-2012 through
mid-2014, GM will unveil the greatest array of all-new or
re-designed vehicles in recent memory, if not in the company's
history. In 2012, the company brought to market the Spark minicar,
Malibu midsize sedan, Verano compact car, XTS large luxury car and
the ATS compact luxury car. Coming in 2013 are new versions of the
Silverado and Sierra large pickups, the full-size... Re...
Friday, December 21, 2012 by
The mix of new vehicle powertrains varies as much among the
different regions of the United States as does the mix of makes and
models, if not more so. The 15 Designated Market Areas (DMAs)
with the highest percentage of hybrid powertrains together account
for almost 30% of all hybrid registrations nationally, yet these
same 15 markets include just 12.5% of all new vehicle
registrations. Nine of these 15 hybrid-rich areas have a
hybrid penetration greater than 6%, while the national...Read More...
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 by
Automotive marketers continue to covet the young buyer and this
holds true in the luxury market as much as in the mass market. The
luxury marque that captures the young buyer then merely has to
retain him/her and move him/her up the ladder, while the luxury
brand that fails to appeal to the young demographic is faced with
the more expensive task of conquesting from a competitor. This is
not to imply that customer retention is "easy," but it is generally
acknowledged to be less expensive to...Read...
Thursday, December 13, 2012 by
If your current car or truck is getting long in the tooth and
you've been thinking about trading it in, you may want to drop by
your local dealership before year-end. While some people believe
the fall is the best time to buy a new car because the dealers want
to clear out their inventory to make room for the new models, in
fact the end of the calendar year is just as good a time, if not
better. Here's why:
- Dealership employees and vehicle manufacturer employees,
including retail salespeople,...
Friday, November 2, 2012 by
The sales and registration data speak for themselves regarding the
success of the Prius. Its sales more than doubled in September, and
are up 92% through nine months. However, because three new
derivatives of the Prius have come to market in 2012 (the tall 'V'
version, the plug-in version and the smaller 'C' version),
comparing this year with last is not comparing apples to apples.
But even when you pull out the 2012 deliveries of these three
derivatives and look just at the original Prius,...