Europe

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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Making Global Product Management Easier for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry

For those of you like me who have been in the automotive aftermarket industry for a number of years, you understand the common challenge that all of us have been facing for over a decade – how do you determine if parts being sold in the U.S. or Europe have applications that can generate revenue in other parts of the world? And how do you identify vehicles that are more likely to have the same components as those on the road in different countries? I've never found these questions to be easy...
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Exports Hurting Production in Brazil

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 year, production...
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Dynamics of Commercial Van Segment Mirror General U.S. Market

Just as the U.S. new vehicle market continues to fragment into dozens of segments and hundreds upon hundreds of models, the commercial van segment is splitting into two distinct categories, each with a wide range of models. Back in 2008, the commercial van customer had five models from which to choose, but by next year there will be 11 models on the market. Prior to 2009, there was one commercial van segment and it was perennially dominated by Ford's E-Series (Econoline and Club Wagon). In...
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How Used Cars Are Hindering Mexico's Potential

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...
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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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Sao Paulo Auto Show: Becoming More Global

The presence of Dan Akerson, General Motors' CEO, Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, Takanobu Ito, Honda's CEO and President, and Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover's CEO, shows how international the 2012 Sao Paulo auto show has become. Brazil has always been a key market for many OEMs – for example, it is the second main market for Chevrolet and Renault – but it has been closed, with many products only offered in the country and in neighboring Argentina....
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Audi's Second Factory in the Americas

There is a lot of buzz about the Audi plant that will be built in San José Chiapa, Mexico. The press refers to it as "Audi's first car plant in the Americas," but this is not correct. Audi produced the A3 in São José dos Pinhais, Brazil between 1999 and 2006, in a factory now totally owned by Audi's parent company, Volkswagen. Golf (still in its fourth generation), Fox and SpaceFox are produced there. It was a joint venture between Audi and Volkswagen – Audi had 25% of the factory.The A3...
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One Ford, Not Everywhere

As the July sales numbers were released, Ford and GM made the headlines for their drop, while Chrysler still enjoys its momentum. But Ford’s challenges are not only in the U.S. – and I am not talking about Europe. In Brazil, where the market enjoyed a 22% growth in July, Ford sold 12% less light vehicles compared to June. Its monthly market share slumped to 8.44% from 9.90% in the previous month. Ford, the first OEM to be established in Brazil (1919), has always faced challenges in Latin... Read...
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Assembly Allocation to Mexico will Grow at Canada's Expense

The Polk forecasting team is in a position to report good news as the North American assembly and sales volumes continue to improve year over year. This is the direct result of modest economic improvement and the satisfaction of pent-up demand. Polk anticipates North American assembly volumes will increase by 10% (14.4 M) in 2012, following a 10% increase in 2011 (13.1 M) and a 39% increase in 2010 (12M), following a dreadful fall to 8.6 million units in 2009. However, there is at least one...
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China Leads World in Global Light Vehicle Assembly Growth

Presenting challenges and opportunities to automotive suppliers There has been a great deal of media coverage regarding the growth in new vehicle demand in the BRIC countries, with much of that growth taking place in China. This is related to a growing Chinese middle class with growing net worth, which is creating a market of many first-time new vehicle buyers. However, there has been less attention provided to the rapidly growing light vehicle assembly volumes in China as automakers are...
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Polk Forecasts 7% Rise in U.S. New Vehicle Deliveries in 2012

The U.S. new vehicle industry continued to gain momentum as 2011 came to a close, with December deliveries up almost 9% from December 2010. For the entire year, dealers delivered 12,777,939 new cars and light trucks, up about 10% from 2011. The Polk Forecasting Practice expects the industry recovery to continue in 2012, with U.S. new vehicle deliveries climbing another 7% to 13.7 million units. Further growth in the industry will unfortunately be inhibited by the continued weakness in the...
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The Not So General - General Market: An Analysis of the Euro-American Automotive Share

As the Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Polk, my peers and I often discuss multicultural marketing, primarily focusing on the growing importance of effectively reaching the African American (AA), Asian (AS) and Hispanic (HS) ethnic groups with relevant, automotive-related messaging. In the process, the non-AA, AS & HS community is often referred to as the "General Market." After doing some research, I found the General Market to be as culturally rich and diverse as the aforementioned groups....R...
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Tech Company or Automotive Company?

It's getting harder and harder to separate a tech company from a good old car company. Even though there is still a fair share of old-fashioned metal-bending in the automotive sector, there is also an ever-growing dose of high tech ideas including:Toyota Motor Europe and the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design are working on a concept project that allows a vehicle passenger to use their window like an Etch-a-Sketch to trace objects they see outside, zoom in on distant objects or...Read...
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Who is the Number One German Luxury Carmaker?

The recently published half-year sales of the three German luxury car brands (Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz) were quite impressive. All three recorded sales performances that were considered better than ever.However, the Year-over-Year (YOY) growth showed some significant differences: while sales of Audi and BMW models increased by more than 17 percent, the sales performance of Mercedes-Benz (cars, without Smart) improved less than 10%. In absolute terms, BMW is leading with sales of 690,000...Read...
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The Industry Faces Many "Unknowns"

Automotive forecasting companies are all predicting a steady increase in U.S. new light vehicle sales during the next several years on the way to pre-recession annual levels of 15-17 million units by mid-decade. One factor in these predictions on which the forecasting companies are not dwelling as much as they perhaps should be is the large number of “unknowns” facing the industry. I believe, partially because of what this industry has experienced in the past 2–3 years, the U.S. new vehicle...Rea...
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Seeking a Station Wagon

Hello, my name is Barbara and I drive a station wagon.   Yes, it's true, I’m so completely uncool that I drive a station wagon. My current wagon is a 2004 Focus, before that I drove a 1998 Escort wagon. I even have a Plymouth (un)Reliant wagon in my past.    I choose compact wagons because they satisfy my twin needs for good gas mileage and for more cargo capacity than a sedan or hatchback would provide. The price difference between a compact wagon and the smallest utility vehicle is a concern,...
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Autopia! Utopia?

While North America and Europe likewise are affected by dealer bankruptcies and network downsizing, Turkey strives for new growth superlatives. Istanbul is building a new mega dealership whose concept completely contradicts the general trends in automotive retail networks. With more than 200 shops on 117.000 sqm (and even an 800-metre test track on the roof of the building!), "Autopia Europia" (opening in 2011) will probably become the largest Auto Mall in the world. Autopia was designed to... Re...
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The Flying Car - Reality or Fiction?

Are flying cars in our future? Perhaps so. Several companies have developed flying car prototypes in recent years and while some of these projects may seem fanciful, others are at an advanced stage, and some may even be marketed shortly. In fact, one of the companies involved in this race announced their marketing for 2011. Here is a brief overview.Xplorair - A French Project The project is currently on the drawing board only. It has been designed by Michel Aguilar, who creates a...
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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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