Thursday, October 2, 2014 by
Alfred P. Sloan died almost 50 years ago, but several of his
strategies that built GM into the world’s largest automaker remain
intact. Sloan created a “ladder of brands” at GM to enable the
consumer to “move up” the ladder to more prestigious makes as his
household financial position improved; today six auto manufacturers
offer both mainstream and premium makes in the U.S. to similarly
allow the consumer to “move up” the ladder, so to speak. IHS
Automotive loyalty data (see below) show that...Re...
Thursday, July 3, 2014 by
The domestic OEMs have lagged behind their Asian competitors in the
U.S. new car market for many years. From 2009 through 2012 the
domestic OEMs’ combined share of the retail car market was below
28%. Last year it inched up to 28.2%, and through the first four
months of 2014 it stands at 28.7% (based on IHS Automotive analysis
of Polk new vehicle registration data). Although the current car
offerings from GM, Ford and Chrysler are clearly superior to their
predecessors in many perspectives,...
Thursday, May 8, 2014 by
There is a scene in the movie, “The Right Stuff” (about the Project
Mercury program in the early 1960s to send an American into space)
in which the astronaut candidates are undergoing endurance testing.
One of the tests involves blowing into a tube for as long as
possible with just one breath. The camera zeroes in on two of the
participants, the presumed front-runners, who are frantically
competing with one another, watching each other every second and
seemingly about to burst at the seams to...R...
Monday, May 5, 2014 by
Today's new vehicle buyer is just under 52 years old, up slightly
from two years ago and about a year from 2009. Among luxury
(non-exotic) makes, Land Rover has the youngest buyers, followed by
Infiniti. The typical buyer of every Land Rover model is under 50,
with the LR4 lowest at 46. Infiniti's average age has dropped by
more than a year since 2011, due in part to the popularity of the
Infiniti JX crossover (47.1 years). The Infiniti QX56 and QX80 are
the largest Infinitis available, but...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Monday, September 9, 2013 by
Seeing the Signs Every new vehicle sold is a signal to OEMs that
customers want more of that type of car or truck. In essence,
customers are voting with their wallets and with business
interests ever focused on customer loyalty and customer retention,
an OEM should be seeing the market signs. National Trend: Consumers
Continue to Buy New Through the second quarter of this year
(2013 Q2), new vehicle sales are once again on the
rise in Canada. New vehicle registrations indicate that...
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 by
Tax incentives were very effective in 2012 and helped
Brazil reach a new sales record of 3,573,076 light vehicles.
With this success, Brazil remained the fourth largest
automotive market in the world, just behind China, the United
States and Japan. Polk's automotive forecast does include any
changes in this ranking in 2013 when sales in Brazil are
anticipated to reach 3.63 million light vehicles. However, Brazil's
importance declines when we analyze production numbers. Last
Thursday, June 6, 2013 by
It's not always about who has the largest market share or the
broadest product line. Sometimes repeat sales for OEMs and dealers
are fruitful when you're a small player, too. Yesterday, Polk
issued a press release of customer loyalty on automakers who beat
the industry average by looking at first quarter results.
What did we find?
- Thirteen brands exceeded the average industry increase for make
loyalty when we compared buyer behavior from Q1 2012 and Q1 2013.
The first three months of the...
Friday, March 8, 2013 by
The automotive industry achieved nearly 14.5 million new vehicle
sales in 2012, which resulted in a sales improvement of 13.4%
versus 2011. There are many contributing factors to this sales
achievement. The following all played a part in the industry
- Stabilized inventory levels from the Japanese automakers
- Several new product introductions from all OEMs
- Strengthening consumer confidence in the U.S. economy and
- Lower unemployment rates
Also in 2012, we began to witness OEMs placing...
Thursday, March 7, 2013 by
How would you react if a law determined that all new vehicles, from
now on, should have a sticker price from the first half of 2009?
Moreover, could you as a dealer network afford to give back to all
you customers what they paid beyond those prices between then and
now? This can sound like an unrealistic scenario, but is a law
approved in Venezuela. The law was create after Congress inspected
and questioned OEMs, dealers and independent stores and got to the
conclusion that vehicles are...
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...
Tuesday, February 19, 2013 by
Every calendar year in the third quarter, the automotive industry
is filled with excitement as OEM brands launch new model year
products. These launches are comprised of new variants (engine,
drive types), product refreshes/facelifts, all new product
offerings and the next generation of existing models. In the third
quarter of 2012, two Japanese automakers (Honda and Nissan)
launched the next generation of their mid-size sedan models. The
all new Honda Accord and Nissan Altima boast... Read More...
Thursday, January 17, 2013 by
For the U.S. automotive industry, superior customer loyalty was
recognized this week. I had the pleasure of watching our customers
receive the annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards
in Detroit as
part of the overall activities surrounding the 2013 NAIAS (North
American International Auto Show). It's a great feeling knowing
OEMs and their dealer networks are working like crazy to make the
buying and vehicle ownership experience richer, truer and highly
relevant for their customers. As in past... Re...
Wednesday, January 9, 2013 by
South America is a very diverse continent. Brazil, its main
country, forbids diesel passenger cars and speaks Portuguese, but
is surrounded by Spanish speaking countries. French Guiana still
belongs to France, something not very common nowadays. Consumer
behavior is also different: Toyota, for example, is the market
leader in Peru and has a higher share in the countries closer to
the Pacific Ocean, while customer loyalty in Brazil and Argentina
goes toward brands from Europe and the United...Read...
Thursday, January 3, 2013 by
Many of you may be returning to work this week after an extended
vacation around the holiday season. Welcome back! I'll keep this
blog short and informative. It's 2013 and the world didn't end last
month as the Mayans
(supposedly) predicted. Given this, we
can officially remove Mayan prognosticators from the category of a
legitimate forecasting entity. However, Polk has a few predictions.
They go something like this:
- New auto sales for 2013 will jump 6.6 percent over last year. Our