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,...
Thursday, October 4, 2012 by
We hear all the time about the troubled U.S. economy. If it isn’t
high unemployment, it's the sluggish GDP or a decline in
manufacturing or something else. But, there is also frequent
mention in the media about the positive trends in the car business.
Car and light truck sales are up, the manufacturers are turning in
hefty – sometimes record – profits and even adding jobs to keep up
with strong demand. There seems to be a disconnect here. How could
the car business be doing so well while the...Re...
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 by
It's difficult to overstate the importance of the Accord to the
Honda franchise. The Accord is to Honda as the F-Series is to Ford,
the Caravan is to Dodge, and the 3-Series is to BMW. The Accord is
the heart and soul of Honda. Launched in 1976, the Accord has been
at or near the top of the midsize sedan segment ever since. There
are 11 million on the road. Car & Driver magazine has named the
Accord one of the Ten Best Cars some 26 times, more than any other
vehicle. Mr. Takuji Yamada,...
Friday, September 14, 2012 by
The contract between the three "domestic" automakers and the
Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) expires at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight
Time on September 17. The contract covers approximately 18,000
workers. As of this writing, the two sides have not reached an
agreement on terms for a new contract and the CAW is threatening to
simultaneously strike Canadian operations at all three companies. A
list of models assembled in Canada by these companies is shown
below. There is little doubt a strike would... R...
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 by
There is a theory in professional baseball that if a team is strong
"up the middle" (i.e., in the positions in the middle of the field
from catcher through pitcher, second base and shortstop to center
field), it will have a competitive advantage. If this theory also
holds true for the U.S. automobile business, then Toyota should be
in good shape. A look at the product portfolios in the midsize
segments from the mainstream non-luxury makes shows Toyota is in a
strong position. Toyota offers...
Thursday, September 6, 2012 by
If you live in the Detroit metropolitan area, you may have noticed
that almost every other car on the road seems to be a Ford Fusion
or Chevrolet Malibu (if you're on one of the coasts, the same could
be said of the Camry or Accord). In fact, there is a boom in sales
of midsize cars. In the first six months of this year, 18% of all
new vehicle sales have been non-luxury midsize cars. This is more
than two points higher than the number two segment (non-luxury
compact cars) and the first time...
Monday, July 16, 2012 by
A list of GM's woes would undoubtedly include the European market,
but right now GM is also struggling in the U.S. Through the first
six months of 2012, the company's U.S. market share is down almost
two percentage points to just 18.1%. The GM brand suffering the
greatest decline, in both market share (-25%) and sales (-18%), is
Cadillac. Yet, even though this is not good news for GM's
flagship brand, it is not a surprise. During GM's restructuring in
2009, product programs were delayed or...
Thursday, June 21, 2012 by
The much-coveted new vehicle buyers age 18-34, sometimes referred
to as millenials, are a dwindling group. Five years ago they
accounted for 17% of all new vehicle buyers, but so far this year
they comprise just 11%. In contrast, the buyer group age 55-74 has
grown from 26% to 36%. Whether the younger buyer has lost interest
in cars or simply doesn’t have the money for a new vehicle (average
price = approximately $30,000), the fact remains that the new
vehicle market is skewing more and more...
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 by
Hidden behind the headlines about May's modest new vehicle sales
results is the fact that Toyota Motor Sales had an extraordinary
month. With replenished inventories of core models, both the Toyota
and Lexus makes had "break-out" months. Together the two brands
captured 15.2% of the U.S. market in May, up five percentage points
from May 2011. To put that in perspective, Toyota's gain in May was
equal to the entire U.S. volume of the Hyundai make in the same
month. Toyota dealers delivered...