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...
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by
Non-luxury fullsize cars, once the mainstay of the U.S. car
business, are losing their luster in the eyes of the U.S. consumer.
This category’s share of the U.S. market has dropped by more than
half over the last five years, and through the first three months
of this year, it accounts for just 2.3% of all new vehicles sold.
The number of fullsize models in dealer showrooms has declined
dramatically as well, falling from 15 just five years ago to only
seven now. The only large non-luxury cars...
Wednesday, May 2, 2012 by
GM's consolidation to four brands and Ford's discontinuation of
Mercury have helped to create the current environment in which
there is an exceptionally high number of "orphan owners" on the
road. "Orphan owners" are driving cars or light trucks from a make
that no longer markets new vehicles in the U.S. As of last October,
the latest date for which Polk has Vehicles In Operation (VIO)
data, there were 18,529,769 million "orphan" cars and light trucks
on the road from 16 makes. Five metro...
Friday, April 20, 2012 by
If the new 2013 Lincoln MKZ does as well after its launch as it has
beforehand, it will be a huge success. At both the North American
International Auto Show in Detroit in January (concept vehicle) and
the New York International Auto Show just a couple of weeks ago
(final production version), the media raved about the car. Two
compliments were mentioned repeatedly: the car's styling is modern,
clean and elegant, and there is virtually no similarity visually
between the MKZ and its sister...Read...
Friday, March 30, 2012 by
Sales of hybrid and electric vehicles remain modest. And, the
creation of the infrastructure to support the use of these vehicles
is proceeding in fits and starts. In January, hybrid registrations
accounted for just 2.29% of all new vehicle registrations in the
U.S., down from 2.51% a year ago. Looking at electric vehicle
registrations, the good news is that the January total climbed
eight-fold versus January 2011. The bad news is that the 2012 total
was just .8% of the industry. Nissan Leaf... R...
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 by
An analysis of new vehicle buyers shows that their average age was
51 years old in 2011, three years older than buyers in 2007. In
2011, 40% of all buyers were aged 55 years or older, up from about
30% just four years earlier. And, in keeping with much commentary
about today’s youth, in 2011, only 11% of all new vehicle buyers
were aged 34 years or younger, down from almost 16% four years
earlier. Perhaps today’s young people indeed do have less interest
in cars or perhaps they don’t have the...R...
Thursday, March 22, 2012 by
The non-luxury sub-compact car segment, home to such well-known
cars as the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris,
is one of the hottest in the industry. Consider the following
- The segment’s new registrations in January increased 26% versus
January 2011, the fifth highest increase among all 29 segments
- The segment’s share of the industry reached 4.73% in January,
up from 4.12% last January and 4.0% in 2010
- This segment is now the third largest car segment in...
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 by
Recently some friends and I were talking about the fact that
Mercedes-Benz and BMW are fierce competitors, and I mentioned that
Audi was making progress and should also be included in any
discussion about leading luxury makes. One of my friends
responded, “I’ve been hearing that for twenty years.” His
skepticism and sarcasm took me by surprise. I decided to look at
the registration data and see if Audi was in fact getting closer to
MB and BMW in this country, or not. Over the past five...
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 by
From 2006 through 2009, large vehicles as a percentage of total new
vehicle registrations declined 10 percentage points to 20%, though
this proportion has stayed constant in the last two years. Going
forward, most automotive forecasts predict that large vehicles will
retreat even further as gas prices rise and OEMs launch smaller,
more fuel efficient vehicles (including hybrids and electric
vehicles) to meet the upcoming CAFÉ standards.Looking at the nine
non-luxury mainstream makes, all of...
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 by
The FIAT 500 has come in for some criticism because dealers
delivered only 17,945* units in 2011, far short of the annual goal
of 50,000 announced earlier in the year by Chrysler and FIAT
Chairman Sergio Marchionne. The 500’s shortfall was exceptionally
visible because it occurred amidst successful performances in 2011
by all other Chrysler Corporation makes. And, if one looks at the
500 in the context of the non-luxury subcompact car segment in
which it competes, its results – 4% of the...
Monday, February 20, 2012 by
Polk forecasts that 2012 U.S. light vehicle sales will reach 13.7
million, a 7% increase versus 2011. Other forecasting firms have
weighed in with similar predictions, ranging from 13.4 million to
14 million units. What is not included in any new vehicle forecast,
from any company, is a forecast of a traumatic event that would
profoundly impact the industry. The reason why such an event is not
included is because, by definition, such an event cannot be
anticipated. But, that is not to say...
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 by
Premium new vehicle registrations in the U.S. climbed almost 5% in
2011 to 1.45 million units, driven in part by fierce competition
between BMW and Mercedes-Benz for premium sales leadership (won by
BMW). But this increase lagged behind the 10% improvement for
the overall new vehicle industry, which was led by exceptional
gains at Chrysler, Volkswagen and Hyundai.In the premium market,
nine of 11 segments gained ground in 2011, with two small-vehicle
segments and one upper-end category...Read...
Monday, February 13, 2012 by
With more than eight months to go in the 2012 Presidential election
campaigns, we will probably hear a lot more about red, blue and
purple states. Wikipedia defines red states (22) as those that have
voted overwhelmingly republican in the last five presidential
elections. Blue states (22) generally voted democratic in the same
elections, and purple states (7) have also been named swing states
because, as the name implies, they could go either way (there are a
total of 51 because the District...
Monday, February 6, 2012 by
The U.S. new car business did well in January. Sales of
913,284 new cars and light trucks were 11% ahead of a year ago. The
Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) was 14.2 million units, its
highest level since May 2008 (excluding August 2009 when the Cash
for Clunkers program artificially inflated sales). The SAAR
has been above 13 million units for five months in a row.Trends of
the last quarter of 2011 carried over to January. Chrysler,
Volkswagen, Hyundai and Kia continued to outpace...
Tuesday, January 24, 2012 by
The Luxury Compact Car Segment – with 27% of all luxury
registrations during the first 11 months of 2011 - is the largest
luxury segment. Therefore, it is no surprise that many of the
luxury marques focused on small cars in their presentations to the
media at the recent North American International Auto Show (NAIAS)
in Detroit.BMW unveiled the redesigned 2012 3-Series which offers
understated, evolutionary styling changes; later in the year, a
hybrid 3-Series will be available. Cadillac...Read...
Monday, January 23, 2012 by
The U.S. auto industry is swimming in data. At the recent press
conferences held prior to the opening of the North American
International Auto Show, speakers from every OEM recited statistic
after statistic to bolster the reputation of their brand or
company. At the start of each month, the OEMs provide the press and
public with a blitz of sales results. These data can be fascinating
and they provide industry followers with a quantitative method by
which to understand how the industry and its...R...
Friday, January 6, 2012 by
The U.S. new vehicle industry continued to gain momentum as 2011
came to a close, with December deliveries up almost 9% from
December 2010. For the entire year, dealers delivered 12,777,939
new cars and light trucks, up about 10% from 2011. The Polk
Forecasting Practice expects the industry recovery to continue in
2012, with U.S. new vehicle deliveries climbing another 7% to 13.7
million units. Further growth in the industry
will unfortunately be inhibited by the continued weakness
Tuesday, January 3, 2012 by
It seems like there are a million different types of cars and
trucks on the road these days. I'm not a mathematician, but if you
were to calculate all of the different combinations of vehicles
available based on such vehicle characteristics as size, body type,
price and powertrain, there are probably a million
possibilities. Yet, even with such a wide choice of vehicles from
which the consumer can choose, four types of vehicles dominate the
marketplace. Midsize cars, compact cars, compact...Read...
Wednesday, December 21, 2011 by
Sport utility vehicles, one of the core drivers of the new vehicle
industry in the 1990s and seemingly ubiquitous on the American road
at that time, are on the verge of making the "Endangered Species"
list. There were 59 SUVs on the market as recently as 2006,
accounting for 13.9% of all new vehicle registrations, but today
there are just 35 sport utilities in dealer showrooms, and their
share has plummeted to just 7.7%. This sales trend has
occurred at the same time as the rise of crossovers...R...
Monday, November 28, 2011 by
In the November 9, 2011 edition of The AutoExtremist, a respected
blog written by veteran auto marketer Peter M. De Lorenzo, he
discusses how Toyota lost its way (in the years leading up to and
including 2010) and the lessons other OEMs can learn from Toyota's
woes. By the end of the blog, De Lorenzo has mentioned several
strategies which OEMs need to pursue to avoid Toyota's troubles.
His major recommendations include:
- Building vehicles that "bristle with leading-edge design and