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...
Monday, January 20, 2014 by
Do you think a Jeep Grand Cherokee is a direct competitor of a
Porsche Cayenne? Would you add the Volkswagen Touareg to the
competitive set? Well, many Brazilian consumers do. And the results
may be surprising. Let me start with the winner in the
SUV/crossover segment. Land Rover is the preferred brand. The Range
Rover Evoque sells over three times more than vehicle number two,
the Volvo XC60. And the Freelander (LR2 in the U.S.) comes right in
third place. Looking one length class above, the......
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 8, 2014 by
The competition in the luxury part of the U.S. new vehicle industry
has perhaps never been as intense as it is right now, and, in a
related trend, new product activity in this space is as frenetic as
ever. BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz continue to vie for luxury sales
leadership with Audi and Cadillac aggressively trying to move up.
Many of the luxury makes have been expanding into new segments,
with such products as the Evoque, F-Type and CLA. There are other
examples of this trend coming...
Friday, January 17, 2014 by
When Google released its Zeitgeist 2013
, a compilation of the most googled
terms of the year, the Hyundai HB20 reached the top spot for
the Brazilian automotive industry. It was followed by the
Chevrolet Onix and Chevrolet Prisma. The new Volkswagen Golf and
the Volkswagen Beetle (locally called Fusca) rounded out the Top 5.
The HB20 hatchback, the Onix and the Fusca were launched late in
2012. There is no doubt the HB20 has written its success story in
Brazil’s automotive history. With 3,312......
Monday, December 16, 2013 by
I always think about the title of this post – how quickly should an
OEM phase a vehicle out? – when I analyze Chevrolet’s numbers in
Brazil, the second market for the brand just behind the U.S. Before
I get to the figures, let me give you a quick background.
Traditionally, Chevrolet had sold rebadged Opel models in Brazil:
Monza, Corsa, Zafira, Meriva, Astra, Vectra. During GM's Chapter 11
time, no investments were made in Brazil, which got Detroit's
approval of using local revenue to develop......
Friday, December 6, 2013 by
December brings to mind snow and cold, but for luxury dealers in
the U.S., this month will be the "hottest" of the year. U.S.
consumers purchase more new luxury vehicles in December than in any
other month of the year, according to monthly Polk new vehicle
registration data. This contrasts with the monthly tallies for the
non-luxury space, where March and August are the peak months.
Luxury registrations also rise in the spring, but not to the same
degree as non-luxury deliveries; rather,...
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...
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 by
I attended the 43rd edition of the Miami International Auto Show at
the Miami Beach Convention Center. This is truly regarded as the
official kick off for auto show season. Miami's show is sponsored
by the South Florida Automotive Dealers Association, which boasts
over 175 dealers. My experience began with a media launch party on
November 7th at the well-appointed Raleigh hotel on Collins Avenue.
This event boasted many local dealers, product specialists, show
event planners, members of the...
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 by
Do you have the impression that the Brazilian president meets the
CEO of an automaker daily? Lately there have been a lot of
announcements that OEMs will start – or resume – production in
Brazil. This year, Honda and Mercedes-Benz announced new plants,
while Audi stated it is coming back to Brazil and making cars
in a VW plant where it built the A3 some years ago. VW confirmed it
is finally updating the locally made Golf (currently still in its
fourth generation). Last year, BMW announced its......
Monday, September 16, 2013 by
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...
Tuesday, August 6, 2013 by
When car owners either trade their vehicle for a new one or add a
vehicle to their household fleet, 55-60% of them choose a vehicle
from the same corporation as their existing vehicle. But what about
car owners whose brand has been discontinued (frequently referred
to as "orphan" owners)? This is now a topical question since GM and
Ford together have recently discontinued five brands. As of April,
there were over 14.4 million orphan owners in the U.S. (including
owners of vehicles from all...Read...
Monday, July 22, 2013 by
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...
Tuesday, July 9, 2013 by
Several protests took place in Brazil during the month of June.
Everything started with public transportation fares that were
increased, although the increases were less than $0.10. And even
after the increase was cancelled, protests kept going on, focusing
on corruption, the amount spent to build stadiums for the World
Cup, poor educational and health systems despite high taxes,
amongst other things. (For more about the protests, see the links
at the bottom of the blog.) Ironically, protests......
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, May 10, 2013 by
Since January, Mexico has been able to import American and
Canadian vehicles that are Model Year (MY) 2007 or older. Up until
December, the limit was MY04 or older and in 2009, it was MY99 or
older. In 2019, any used vehicle can be imported from the U.S. and
Canada, regardless of its age. This is not a new problem: in 2006
and 2007, Mexico imported more used vehicles then it sold new cars.
Although the imports cooled down last year, they gained strength
again earlier in 2013. There was an...
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, March 11, 2013 by
Venezuela was all over the news last week because of the death of
its president, Hugo Chávez. President Chávez passed away after a
battle against cancer, which included several surgeries in Cuba.
What the international media did not pay attention is to a law
approved in January that affects the automotive industry. 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, the dealer network, afford...
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...
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