Customer Retention

The Best-of-the-Best: Automotive Loyalty Award Winners Named

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...
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Farewell to Brazil's Oldest Vehicles

Brazil is waving goodbye to some of its oldest vehicles. Not because OEMs have decided to drop them or because customers were not going to the dealer network looking for them, but because all vehicles sold in Brazil beginning January 1, 2014 must have ABS and airbags. And some last-longing models simply cannot comply with the rules. That is the case of the Volkswagen Kombi, known as the Transporter T2 in the country. Made in Brazil for the past 56 years, it was the first vehicle assembled...
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Which Vehicles do Canadians Love to Buy?

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...
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Is there any Logic to Argentina's Auto Market?

If you follow my posts, you have read that there is not much logic in Brazil's automotive market (if not, you can follow the link at the bottom of the blog). Today, I will show that neighboring Argentina faces the same problem. Argentina is struggling with inflation. Last year, inflation was 10% according to the government, but opposition in Congress says it was 25% – the highest rate in South America and only behind Venezuela. The government is known for reporting lower inflation and higher...
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Automotive Brand Loyalty Winners/Losers – 2012 Year End

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 resurgence:
  • 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...
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Customer Loyalty - Dealers and Customers Win

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...
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German Luxury Makes Resonate with the Young Buyer

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...
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New York International Auto Show Hosts First Annual NAMAD Diversity Luncheon

This month, the Jacob Javits Center in New York is the focal point for the automotive industry as it hosts the 2012 New York International Auto Show from April 4 to April 15. Each year, automotive executives, dealers, suppliers, media, automotive consumers and simply the curious descend upon New York to check out the new cars, trucks, crossovers, hybrids, electrics and futuristic concepts. On April 4, part of the Jacob Javits Center served as a launching pad for the first Annual NAMAD (North... R...
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Buick Goes Against Trend and Attracts Younger Buyers

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...
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Responsibility and Accountability: Automotive Dealer Loyalty

Last month, I had the opportunity to speak at the Digital Market Strategies Conference, an event hosted by First Class Educators. If you are focused on the retail side of the automotive industry and haven’t attended an event hosted by First Class Educators, I highly recommend it. The staff, venue and speakers are top notch. I co-presented during the afternoon keynote address with Matt Murray from Dealer.com. Our session focused on the impact of social media on initial vehicle purchase and... Read...
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Are You Holding Your Vehicle Longer?

Americans continue to hold on to their cars and trucks longer than ever before. Nearly six years (71 months) among new vehicle owners is the latest trend. New Polk consumer research shows the opportunities for professionals managing OEM aftersales and the automotive aftermarket operations should have a lot to look forward to given this trend. It's about parts and service business, folks. Two years ago, I posted a blog on the same behavior and when we started to see a real incline in the...
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Hyundai: Drifting = Good

If you appreciate automotive marketing that blends mild humor while showcasing product performance, you'll enjoy this video from Hyundai. The main point of their message? A rear-wheel drive Genesis can "drift" like no other car! Another clip featuring the same driver, Rhys Millen, shows him conquering Pike's Peak with the Red Bull Hyundai Genesis RM580 in order to demonstrate this similar feat on a treacherous stretch of mountain road. // So is the Hyundai brand "drifting" in a slow and...
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Volt and LEAF - Conquest Successes?

Are the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF successful in the marketplace? This year (January-August, 2011), about 3,400 Volts have been registered while the LEAF has sold about 5,300 in the same period. Interestingly, about 94% of LEAF registrations are retail sales compared to 79% for the Volt. Each of these vehicles represent a small fraction of the total brand sales, but it was expected they would at least start out as low-volume vehicles. The true value of these launches is the buzz, the...Read...
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Do You Know Where Your Auto Owners are Located?

New premium vehicle registrations tend to be skewed to the Northeast, but after about three years of ownership, some of these vehicles start to migrate to other areas of the U.S., including the Midwest, South and West. As the value of these high-end vehicles decline over time, they become affordable to households with lower (relative) incomes. The Northeast’s share of new luxury registrations is in the 27-28% range, but by the time these same vehicles have been on the road for four years,...
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New Vehicle Models - Key to Year-over-Year Registration Increases

The five makes with the largest year-over-year increases in new vehicle registrations through the first six months of 2011 have all recently introduced new or redesigned vehicles.Mitsubishi leads the industry in year-over-year gains*, thanks in large part to the success of the all-new Outlander Sport, a more compact version of the Outlander. Both of these models play in the thriving small crossover space. Mitsubishi has also benefited from more routine registration figures for the Eclipse and...R...
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Large Luxury Sedan Category Gets More Crowded

Any discussion about flagship luxury sedans usually gets around to mentioning the BMW 7-Series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class and/or Lexus LS, long the dominant players in this space. Five years ago, these three models by themselves accounted for 82% of all large luxury sedan registrations, with the S-Class alone claiming almost 30%.Recently, though, the field has become more crowded, and these three leaders are now facing some serious competition. During the 12-month period from June 2010 through...
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Japan Disaster Still has Lasting Effects on Automotive Industry

For some OEMs, new vehicle inventory has been an industry concern since the Japan disaster in March. NADA posted on 6.14.11 that Honda is forecasting a 63% decline in full year profit because of the disruption in production. It's not surprising that they rolled out a very creative incentive policy to help stop the bleeding, so to speak. Dealers were notified of the "Honda Promise," where they will honor current incentives to customers that have to wait for their vehicle of choice to become...Read...
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Pontiac Owners... Where are you going next?

Nearly two years have passed since General Motors announced it was filing for bankruptcy. With the announcement, General Motors also determined it would discontinue production of the Pontiac, Saturn, and Hummer brands. So now what? What do owners of these brands do when they return to the marketplace for their next vehicle purchase or lease? How has General Motors fared in its customer retention?Looking at full-year 2010 data: the Pontiac brand saw 57,641 customers return to market and...
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Cultivating Automotive Loyalty Even with Low Volumes - Part II

Identifying with a brand and adopting it is critical for loyal behavior. Moreover, a customer that feels rewarded for their loyalty is more likely to continue patronizing that business.So what are car companies doing to reward their loyal customers? What are they doing beyond interactive websites listing brand news, upcoming events and products? How are they building relationships outside of the dealership? Reaching beyond the service experience and entering into their customers’ everyday...Read...
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How Can Dealers Best Reach Their Audiences?

Imagine your closing ratio if you could communicate individually via email, postal, phone, or SMS using a targeted approach or message to fit the lifecycle of the customer. This is the essence of relationship marketing – the ability to have a one-on-one conversation with current and future customers to develop a unique relationship and regularly engage them with timely, relevant messages. If a dealer is not engaging their key customers then they are losing out on potential opportunities for... Re...
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