Electric Vehicles

Who is Buying the Tesla Model S?

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...
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Inconsistent Trends: Local Oil Production and EV Sales

Given the complexities of the global and U.S. economies, inevitably there are going to be economic and/or industrial trends that run counter to one another, but it seems to me that we are now experiencing two movements that are particularly inconsistent. Last month, The New York Times  ran a story about the surge in U.S. oil production, saying local oil output will increase by 800,000 barrels a day annually for at least the next three years (Dec. 17 page B1). Imported oil's share of total... Read...
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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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2013 Looks Bright for U.S. New Vehicle Sales

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 OEMs and...
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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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Large Variation in Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Mixes Across Different Metropolitan Areas

The mix of new vehicle powertrains varies as much among the different regions of the United States as does the mix of makes and models, if not more so. The 15 Designated Market Areas (DMAs) with the highest percentage of hybrid powertrains together account for almost 30% of all hybrid registrations nationally, yet these same 15 markets include just 12.5% of all new vehicle registrations. Nine of these 15 hybrid-rich areas have a hybrid penetration greater than 6%, while the national...Read More...
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Fullsize Cars Lose their Luster

Non-luxury fullsize cars, once the mainstay of the U.S. car business, are losing their luster in the eyes of the U.S. consumer. This category’s share of the U.S. market has dropped by more than half over the last five years, and through the first three months of this year, it accounts for just 2.3% of all new vehicles sold. The number of fullsize models in dealer showrooms has declined dramatically as well, falling from 15 just five years ago to only seven now. The only large non-luxury cars...
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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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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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Are Gas Prices Having an Impact on Vehicle Choices?

With the recent upturn in gas prices, I thought I would look to see if there has been a noticeable impact on the kinds of vehicles that people are buying. Gas prices have been flirting with the highs seen in 2008, but it has been a more gradual increase this time around. Nonetheless, I was curious to see if the elevated gas prices were starting to impact vehicle choices. The truth is that with the registration data through January 2012, there is not a clear correlation between gas prices and... R...
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Sub-Compact Category Captures Almost 5% of Industry Sales

The non-luxury sub-compact car segment, home to such well-known cars as the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris, is one of the hottest in the industry. Consider the following facts:
  1. The segment’s new registrations in January increased 26% versus January 2011, the fifth highest increase among all 29 segments
  2. The segment’s share of the industry reached 4.73% in January, up from 4.12% last January and 4.0% in 2010
  3. This segment is now the third largest car segment in...
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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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Rising Gas Prices: Boon for Electric Cars?

Gas prices have risen $0.40 on average for all grades in the past six weeks, igniting consumer interest in more fuel efficient vehicles. Small car market including hybrids, electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs)—soared almost 30 percent to 3.2 percent, its fifth highest month ever. The stars would seem to be well-aligned for EV and PHEV sales to take off, but that has not yet happened. Hybrid sales—particularly Toyota Prius —accounted for the bulk of February's momentum. EV/PHEV...Re...
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Support of Community and Youth Today Ensures the Future of the Auto Industry

On Friday, March 9, I had the pleasure of joining executives from across Michigan and a few from as far as Ohio at the quarterly Cornerstone Schools partner morning event in Detroit. Cornerstone Schools is a model "higher learning incubator" in the city of Detroit where over 500 well-dressed young ladies and men in Pre-Kindergarten through 10th grade learn the skills they need to become successful, contributing adults and possibly the next automotive engineer, designer, purchasing executive,...Re...
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Product Mix for the Domestic and Asian Mainstream Automotive Makes

From 2006 through 2009, large vehicles as a percentage of total new vehicle registrations declined 10 percentage points to 20%, though this proportion has stayed constant in the last two years. Going forward, most automotive forecasts predict that large vehicles will retreat even further as gas prices rise and OEMs launch smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles (including hybrids and electric vehicles) to meet the upcoming CAFÉ standards.Looking at the nine non-luxury mainstream makes, all of...
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The Electric Vehicle Story Continues

According to my friends at Auto Week (@AutoweekUSA on Twitter), Honda is working with Google, the City of Torrance, CA and Stanford University to conduct tests on a fleet of Honda Fit EVs. In what is being dubbed the "Honda Electric Vehicle Demonstration Program," it sounds as if the goal is to conduct research to understand the challenges and opportunities associated with advancing the Electric Vehicle market. (Image source: Auto Week.) In a recent blog post The Road is a Vehicle Charger,...
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The Road is a Vehicle Charger

One could hardly argue that oil has provided America, and the world, an increased quality of life for roughly a century. In the same breath, that statement can be turned around in admittance that obtaining and controlling this finite resource has caused an issue or two between the covetous nations. Administrations and environmental activists alike have accusatorily pointed toward major consumers of the substance as profiteers, when attempting to make a point for political or social reasons....Rea...
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"Heels & Wheels" Puts Women in the Driver’s Seat

My business associate, Marc Bland, has provided insightful blogs on the female automotive market over the last several months. During the holiday break, I came across coverage of this topic that peaked my interest. I was intrigued by the first annual two day "2011 Heels & Wheels" event in beautiful Palm Springs, CA. It is a gathering of female automotive bloggers, engineers, journalists and other automotive professionals who get together to discuss subject matter and issues as they relate to...Re...
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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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