Commercial Vehicle Market

Making Global Product Management Easier for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry

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...
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Dynamics of Commercial Van Segment Mirror General U.S. Market

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...
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Audi's Second Factory in the Americas

There is a lot of buzz about the Audi plant that will be built in San José Chiapa, Mexico. The press refers to it as "Audi's first car plant in the Americas," but this is not correct. Audi produced the A3 in São José dos Pinhais, Brazil between 1999 and 2006, in a factory now totally owned by Audi's parent company, Volkswagen. Golf (still in its fourth generation), Fox and SpaceFox are produced there. It was a joint venture between Audi and Volkswagen – Audi had 25% of the factory.The A3...
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Super Bowl Automotive Ad-ness

The Super Bowl always garners gaudy numbers for their ad campaigns. Now, we're getting prequel ad hype by some automotive brands, intending to move customers' attention from digital video to the large screen with teasers and themed commercials. They're utilizing their own properties and YouTube to increase "watches" and subsequent anticipation of their ad campaigns. It seems to be paying off for Acura, with this ad boasting guest spots from Jerry Seinfeld and and Jay Leno competing to be...Read...
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Correction - When the Car Market Dipped - Motorcycle Demand Fell and Stayed Down

First, I want to acknowledge the fact that my previous blog titled, "When the Car Market Dipped - Motorcycle Demand Soared and Remained High" was totally incorrect regarding the motorcycle trend. As a blogger with privileged access to the best automotive industry data available, I pride myself on staying objective and reporting the facts. To rectify this situation, I have re-written the blog correctly as follows: Between 2007 and 2009 when the car and light truck market plummeted, the...Read...
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India Market Mix

I've blogged before about my excitement for the Indian auto market and wanted to give you a little closer look at the vehicle mix. India's light vehicle forecast for 2011 is just under 3 million vehicles. This 3 million includes passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles. But passenger and commercial vehicles make up only 20% of the 2009-2010 vehicle market mix for 2009/2010 according to the Society of Indian Automotive Manufactures. Two wheelers are the top selling vehicle segment in...Rea...
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Automakers are Going to the Super Bowl

Stuart Elliott recently reported in the New York Times that the automotive industry could be buying the most commercial time of any advertiser category during this Sunday's Super Bowl, vying with beverages and movies for the top spot. There may be as many as nine car brands, from economy makes like Chevrolet, Hyundai and Kia to luxury market vehicles like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, peddling their wares during what is typically the most-watched television program of the year.For the Chevrolet...
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Low Cost Global Truck...A reality?

At the 2011 Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) Frost & Sullivan presented very compelling research about the "start" of a global low cost truck for the U.S. and the world.I'm sure some people in the audience were skeptical to say the least. Personally, I have heard rumblings of "global" trucks that will utilize efficiencies across the supply chain to help reduce the cost of heavy trucks around the world. Still nothing. So, with this in mind I can see where people would be skeptical....Read More...
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Is Retargeting Right for You?

I have to admit, I have recently become fascinated by the opportunities retargeting represents. If you're not familiar with it, retargeting is the process by which an advertiser can make your display ads (re)appear to a web surfer that has visited your online location but failed to make a purchase decision. For instance, if I visit the Reebok website and surf around - without leaving my info or making a purchase - then decide I want to read a blog, I might end up seeing a retargeted Reebok ad...
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Facebook Fans Your Best Salespeople

If you regularly check the tech blogosphere, then you'll notice that there has been an increased focus on the value of Facebook Fans to businesses. The catalyst to much of this discussion is a report from Syncapse, entitled "Value of a Facebook Fan." I'm intrigued by the dollar value study of a tool that should be used mainly for PR purposes, so I delved into the 18 page report and scrutinized it for you.The fundamental question is, whether any of this information can help change behavior to...R...
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Q1 2010 Class 8 Truck Market: Tepid Improvement

This post symbolizes the equivalent of the proverbial 'grasping at straws'. Much like the overall economy, it is still difficult to see any major improvements in the commercial vehicle market. Q1 2010 did realize a 2.4% increase in year-over-year sales in Class 8's, though.When broken down, I noticed that the higher volume tractor segment carried the bulk of the growth with nearly 2,500 more registrations than Q1 2009. The biggest decline was realized in the Class 8 straight truck market with...R...
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The "New Normal" for the Automotive Aftermarket

In a recent interview about how scrappage and other vehicle trends are affecting the independent aftermarket and dealer service marketing, I was asked "What is the new normal?" Well, of course working for Polk, I instantly talked about the new "normal" as being new vehicle sales in the neighborhood of 11 to 13-million per year. And how the normal is not the 15 to 16 million units that the industry thought it was as recently as two years ago.  However, recently at the Global Automotive... Read...
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In the Ram Zone

Usually you hear of athletes being in the zone and they say phrases like, "the goal looked like an ocean," and "the game seemed to slow down." Well, ever since breaking away from Dodge and becoming their own brand, Ram Trucks has been in the zone - literally and figuratively. Their aptly named blog, "The Ram Zone" represents the engagement centerpiece of the Ram Trucks Integrated Marketing Communications strategy. This along with an excellent product will surely make for brand resonance...
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Hybrid Technology: The Rodney Dangerfield of Trucking

At the American Truck Dealers Conference (ATD) there is revelry, exhibiting and palm pushing in an exhaustive 4-day event that covers all things a truck dealer could possibly be concerned with. This offshoot of the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) event boasts 'make' meetings, industry workshops and transportation industry banter. This year, we found ourselves in sunny Orlando where the weather was hot, and so was the competition for truck of the year. All entrants were worthy...Rea...
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Mid America Truck Show "Talk" 2010

Is it just me, or was there one large, yet unofficial theme at the show this year? Whether you were visiting the show's famous pork sandwich stand or at one of the booths, a certain subject seemed to work itself into every conversation. Of course, there were the events we expect from the commercial vehicle market's leading trade show. The product unveilings were just as dramatic as ever with Kenworth's aerodynamic T700 taking center stage. The overwhelming breadth and depth of the exhibitors...Re...
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The Changing Face of the U.S. Automotive Fleet

I think there's some good news based on our annual analysis of the U.S. vehicle population. "For whom and why?", you ask? Read on.
  1. The U.S. light vehicle forecast is expected to be 11.5 million units for 2010. That's up from 2009's 10.4 million... we'll take any gains possible. Good news for dealers and automakers.
  2. The average age of light vehicles on the road has been creeping up as well. It's just north of 10 years as of September 2009. A decade ago it was 8.8 years. This means vehicle...
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Heavy Duty Manufacturers and Polk Honor Hall-of-Famer at HDAW 2010

Last week, I was proud to introduce William C. Diggory as the recipient of this year’s Heavy Duty Industry Aftermarket Hall of Fame Award. Bill is the retired Vice President and General Manager of SKF Vehicle Service Market in North America. In addition to his wealth of industry experience, Bill also served as chairman of the Heavy Duty Manufacturers Association (HDMA) from 2005 to 2006. His leadership in planning and promoting Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) led to the tremendous success...
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Ford Continues to Connect

If you're like me, you're probably wondering why Ford has come out with a new product in the Medium Duty Commercial Vehicle Market segment this fiscal year, when industry sales are expected to be weaker than original forecasts. If you did wonder, then you haven't seen the Ford Transit Connect. An unabashed, small (don't dare call it mini) van that promises to be the vehicle version of a multi-tasking child that is watching television, playing a computer game, and text messaging their friends...
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B2B Email Marketing is Here to Stay

Everywhere you look, you'll find blogs and articles buzzing about the topic of Social Media. Meanwhile the topic of "email" is getting pushed into the digital marketing archives. Yet, many of my customers keep asking me about emails. "What do you see as some of the best practices for email marketing?" "Is email better than social media for direct marketing?" "Why are so many of my emails not going through to the intended recipient?" It sounds to me that email isn't anywhere near dead. I think...R...
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Join Polk at AAPEX 2009 to Discuss "The New Global Automotive Aftermarket"

Join me and my colleagues from Polk on November 3rd-5th at AAPEX 2009, located in the Sands Expo Center at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. On November 3rd, Uwe Biastoch and I will present: "The New Global Automotive Outlook—What Will the Recovery in Global Volumes Mean to You?" The global automotive aftermarket industry is at a crossroads. Challenges of the global economy, reductions in global vehicle demand, the contrast between saturated and emerging vehicle markets, changes to the... Read...
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