Diesel

Ford and GM Showing Market Share Gains in Early 2013

Ford and GM are now solidly profitable and Ford's credit rating has moved out of the junk category, but the U.S. market shares for both companies declined significantly in 2012. Whether share is calculated by looking at the first two months of this year versus the same time period a year ago or versus all of last year, the results are the same. While these trends are discouraging in and of themselves, they are particularly concerning right now because the European operations of both companies...R...
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Automotive Worlds Apart: New York City vs. the Rest of the U.S.

On the eve of the 2013 New York Auto Show, the media has noted the irony that one of the largest auto shows in the country is taking place in a location where many residents do not even own a car. What is less frequently, if ever, mentioned in the press is the fact that the mix of new cars purchased by New Yorkers who DO own a vehicle is far different from the mix in the rest of the United States. One of the most vivid differences between new vehicle registrations in New York and the rest of...
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Will Large Cars Survive?

Mainstream large cars, such as the Avalon, Maxima, Taurus and Impala, continue to lose favor. Their combined share of the U.S. market has retreated from 5.8% in 2008 to just 3.5% in 2012 (the results were similar this past January, with the large car share declining from 4.1% a year ago to 3.9% this year). Large cars now account for a smaller slice of the U.S. market than minivans, itself an endangered species. And the number of large cars continues to decline, down from 14 in 2008 to 7 now....Re...
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GM is Relying on New Product Blitz to Halt Share Decline

The next 18 months are important for all OEMs, but perhaps more so for GM than for any of its rivals. From mid-2012 through mid-2014, GM will unveil the greatest array of all-new or re-designed vehicles in recent memory, if not in the company's history. In 2012, the company brought to market the Spark minicar, Malibu midsize sedan, Verano compact car, XTS large luxury car and the ATS compact luxury car. Coming in 2013 are new versions of the Silverado and Sierra large pickups, the full-size... Re...
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Main Markets in South America Face Protectionism Wave

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...
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Toyota Thrives in the "Middle"

There is a theory in professional baseball that if a team is strong "up the middle" (i.e., in the positions in the middle of the field from catcher through pitcher, second base and shortstop to center field), it will have a competitive advantage. If this theory also holds true for the U.S. automobile business, then Toyota should be in good shape. A look at the product portfolios in the midsize segments from the mainstream non-luxury makes shows Toyota is in a strong position. Toyota offers...
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Midsize Cars: An Increasingly Dominant Segment

If you live in the Detroit metropolitan area, you may have noticed that almost every other car on the road seems to be a Ford Fusion or Chevrolet Malibu (if you're on one of the coasts, the same could be said of the Camry or Accord). In fact, there is a boom in sales of midsize cars. In the first six months of this year, 18% of all new vehicle sales have been non-luxury midsize cars. This is more than two points higher than the number two segment (non-luxury compact cars) and the first time...
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Powertrain Preferences Shift but Internal Combustion Engine Still Dominates

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...
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Audi versus BMW, Mercedes-Benz

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...
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Consumer Choices For Fuel Efficiency

Dependence on foreign oil, increasing fuel costs and concerns for the environment have forced OEMs to develop solutions to improve the efficiency of new vehicles and their response could be seen at the North American International Auto Show which was held in Detroit from January 9 - January 22, 2012. For those consumers wishing to stick with gasoline engines, Mazda's Skyactiv technology is something worth considering. Skyactiv is the combination of an efficient high compression gasoline engine,...
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Hybrids are on a Growth Track – Again

When the automotive industry took a plunge in 2008/2009, the hybrid market followed suit and took a plunge with it. Looking at calendar year-to-date registrations (January to March) we see that both the overall market and the hybrid market fell by about 37% from 2008 to 2009 in the first quarter. Hybrids had been steadily increasing as new models of hybrids became available and gas prices were rising up until the crash of late 2008.As gas prices fell and people tightened their pocketbooks,...Read...
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Alternate Fuel Vehicles - Will They End America's Love Affair with Large Trucks?

The introduction of hybrid, alternate fuel and electric vehicles was supposed to signal the end for the large people haulers (Pickups and SUVs) and a move to smaller more fuel efficient minicar like vehicles, right? ...Not in America! Based on new U.S. light vehicle registrations, gasoline powered vehicles are down 6.1 percentage points year-to-date November 2010 (84.4%) compared to the same time period in 2008 (90.9%). These owners have moved to alternate fuel vehicles which represent the...
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Proposed Changes to New Vehicle Window Stickers: Perception vs. Reality

The August 31 Edition of "The Wall Street Journal" (page B1) includes an article describing a proposed new labeling for passenger vehicles sold in the United States. On the proposed new window stickers, every new vehicle would include a prominently-displayed letter grade reflecting its fuel economy, emissions and estimated annual fuel costs.There is a general consensus across the industry and among consumers that the current window sticker is not as reader-friendly as it could be; a...
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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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Polk EuroCar Seminar – Hybrid Questions & Answers

After the EuroCar Seminar on 20 January 2010, we posted the top ten questions asked by OEM and OES delegates in attendance. Today I will be answering questions pertaining to hybrids. If you missed Norm Marks answers to the Marketing questions, you can find them here. Tanja Linken will be answering questions aboout Network Planning in the next blog entry.With regard to CO2 emissions, hybrids and zero emission vehicles, do you have any insight into vehicle whole life costs?This question...
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Asymmetrical Vehicles – Just to Stand Out?

I was driving North on I-75 in Metro Detroit the other week when I saw my first Nissan Cube – I did the double take and then followed it for a few miles just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. OK – it really isn't symmetrical back there, is it? OEMs have been known to release vehicles with minor differences from side to side, but Nissan is the first one that stands out in my memory as delivering a vehicle with intentional, significant, 'in your face', structural differences. Why? I was...
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Diesel Dilemma in the U.S.

Why don't small diesel cars get bought or sold in the U.S.? The last time you were in Europe up to 40% of the cars driving next to you were diesels. They were getting up to 60 MPG and didn’t have complex recharging systems or heavy batteries. Could you tell? They weren’t smoking, they didn’t sound like an F350, they were probably going to last longer than the petrol version next to them and they are great mid and small sized cars. This industry trend seems almost absent in the U.S....Read More »
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Scrappage Incentives Hurt Diesel Car Sales in Europe

Everyone is talking about the market turbulences caused by the governmental scrappage schemes in different European countries. Much has been made of the fact that many consumers have "pre-bought" in 2009, which will have a negative effect on the sales trend in 2010. But, nobody is really talking about how the scrappage schemes have changed the market structure. I decided to look at the effect of the scrappage schemes on diesel-powered cars to see what the effect on that important vehicle...
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Is the U.S. Ready for Indian Vehicles?

The first vehicle from India will go on sale in the U.S. early next year, several months later than its original 2009 launch date. Mahindra & Mahindra will launch the yet-to-be named diesel powered pickup through distributor Global Vehicles U.S.A. Inc with a 50,000 annual sales target. This sales goal seemed aggressive for a compact pickup with no brand recognition, so I did some analysis to find out how realistic it would be for the Mahindra pickup to reach 50,000 units annually. The...
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