Posts by Guest Bloggers

Auto Sales Momentum is Strong: So, What's There to Worry About?

April auto sales continued at the strong pace set in the first quarter with a Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 14.4 million light vehicles. This is the fourth month in a row that SAAR passed 14 million and it represents a real milestone in the auto sales recovery. Noting year-to-date sales strength, Edmunds.com, recently raised its 2012 forecasts. It appears that auto sales are accelerating at long last, but that does not mean that no speed bumps lie ahead. Between high gas prices, a...R...
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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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Does Walmart Influence Network Development

Scope: Looking at 19 brands and their corresponding dealer locations and determining whether or not the location of Walmart stores influence the alignment of dealer networks in Ontario. Brands Examined: Acura, Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, Volvo and Volkswagen. Timeframe of Data: Polk Canada dealer census – Q2, 2009; Q2, 2010; Q2 2011 (Ontario); Q4, 2010 Ontario Canada Walmart locations....
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Is Vehicle Durability Important to You?

As I gaze down at the odometer these days, I am excited to see that my 2002 Honda Accord is getting ready to reach the 200,000 mile mark. It's been a great vehicle with minimal issues and I've taken pretty good care of it, especially with my insistence of frequent oil changes. I guess my father's saying of, "Cars run on oil and not gas" really did stick with me throughout the years. Crossing the 200,000 mile threshold is a record for any vehicle that I have owned. It's actually my first...
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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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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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Gas Hike Naysayer

My fellow colleagues here at Polk have written on several occasions about the benefits of raising gas taxes, but I'm just not buying into it. And here's why.Clearly, I'm not an economist but as our national economy continues to struggle to gain a solid foothold, it just seems to me that raising the gas tax will hit lower and middle-income Americans where it hurts most–directly in their collective wallets. Raising gas taxes when many Americans can barely afford to make ends meet just doesn't...
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CSI: What Drives Someone's Score?

Voice of Customer (VOC) data collection, it seems to be happening everywhere these days... ...The Pet Store "Please go online and fill out our survey about your kitty litter shopping experience today." ...The Restaurant "Let us know what you thought of your extra-happy meal, here’s a comment card." ...The Car Dealer "Your service/purchase feedback is very important to us..." ...Etc. Those in the retail industry confirm that Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) surveying is a key component of...
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Information Security: Does Anyone Really Care?

If you believe the numbers, they aren't very encouraging. Data breaches are up. Breach costs are up. Consumer confidence is shaken. And why shouldn't it be? After all, it's our personal information and identities that are being mismanaged and ultimately compromised.What can be even more frustrating is some of the information contained in the latest Data Breach Investigations Report provided by Verizon. The report indicates that "92% of attacks were not highly difficult," and that "96% of...Read...
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Will Friggatriskaidekaphobia Prevent Auto Sales Today?

Friggatriskaidekaphobia, one of several terms for "Fear of Friday the 13th," stirs up all sorts of trouble each time it occurs. Oddly enough, as much trouble as this special occurrence causes worldwide, the origins of this concept are not clear. At a minimum, most consider the day unlucky. In extreme cases, it keeps people from leaving their house for fear of an automobile accident or some other unlucky tragedy. Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in...Read...
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This Blog's For You

First of all, I'd like to thank our many readers who visit our blog regularly and/or subscribe to receive our blog by email. Here at Polk, we strive to offer a diverse mix of automotive-related stories to ensure our variety of customers can always find something of interest. We'd love feedback on what we're doing right and how we can improve our blog. Click here to let us know what you think. Please answer three quick poll questions below about our blog. (If you do not see the poll questions, cli...
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What a Woman Wants: Fabulous Automobile Features

It has been published recently that women influence about 85% of vehicle purchases in the U.S. I can testify this is true in my house and I definitely have some opinions. So if you haven't purchased or leased a new vehicle in the last couple of years you are going to be pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of available features. We're not just talking about expensive luxury models, even the economy segment is all over it. There are too many to list but here are a few standouts from a...Read M...
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Why All OEMS Need to Pay Attention to the U.S. Ethnic Markets

We all know there are changes occurring in the demographic make-up of the U.S. population, what may be a surprise and definitely worth paying attention to is the magnitude of those changes and what it will mean for automotive marketing and OEMs.The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the Non-White/ Hispanic (read ethnic) population in the U.S. will grow from 35% of the population in 2010 to 50% of the population by 2050. By as early as 2020 the Census Bureau projects that ethnic groups will...
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New Wheels for the 16-Year Old Daughter: Lease or Buy?

I have a 16-year old daughter that "needed" a car. I'm sure there are plenty of you out there in my predicament. Because we are an active family of four with two working parents, a car is not readily available for her personal use which includes school, practice, work, the mall, the movies. You get the picture. According to her, we are purposely holding back her freedom and are simply the worst parents in the world.What influenced my decision to help accommodate this situation is her academic...R...
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Ford vs Ferrari the F150/F-150 Title Fight

Talk about Heavy Weight vs Feather Weight! Ford who sells about a bazillion F150s a year (Okay - 343,284 in 2010 based on Polk U.S. Total Registrations if you want to be specific) has sued Ferrari to stop them from using the "F-150" name for their new Formula 1 Race car that there will be a total production run of what - 10 units? Why? Where's the logic?Can they really say that the F1 race fans in the rest of the world (and let's be clear about this, they make NASCAR fans look like your local...R...
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Valentine's Day on Wheels!

As a sure sign of economic recovery, American adults are expected to spend an average of $116.21 for Valentine's Day gifts this year, according to a poll conducted by BIGresearch for the National Retail Federation. That's a nearly 13 percent increase over the $103 Americans said they were spending last year, on average, for loved ones, friends, co-workers and classmates, according to the retail trade group.Although it is estimated that $3.5 billion will be spent on jewelry, I started...
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Hyundai - the One to Watch

I think I am one of many who have been watching the rise of Korean automaker Hyundai with great interest. Hyundai has defied expectations by addressing serious quality issues and turning public opinion and perceptions around. It stands in stark contrast to another new import brand that came on the U.S. auto scene in the 80's, the Yugo, fell by the wayside because of its quality issues. Hyundai, by contrast, addressed its quality and product issues and now has become a major player in the U.S....R...
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Automakers Highly Visible at the Super Bowl

Day after the Super Bowl – what did you think of the automotive ads? As reported earlier, this was a big year for OEMs with nine different companies advertising during the game. Add in the other automotive-related companies including Bridgestone (loved the "Reply All" spot!), CarMax, and Cars.com and you could see that the automotive industry really focused on the Super Bowl this year. I asked a number of friends to give me their input during the game and boy, were they vocal. Despite being...
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The Latest Research on Vehicle Shopping – Take a Look!

It is not surprising that people are increasingly turning to the internet as they engage in the car shopping process. What might be news to some is just how much people are using the Internet and how they are using it in the car shopping process.AutoTrader.com and Polk recently teamed up to contact consumers about their vehicle shopping habits and what impacted them most in their choice of dealership and vehicle purchase. In this national survey, we heard from 4005 new and used vehicle buyers...R...
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Automakers are Going to the Super Bowl

Stuart Elliott recently reported in the New York Times that the automotive industry could be buying the most commercial time of any advertiser category during this Sunday's Super Bowl, vying with beverages and movies for the top spot. There may be as many as nine car brands, from economy makes like Chevrolet, Hyundai and Kia to luxury market vehicles like BMW and Mercedes-Benz, peddling their wares during what is typically the most-watched television program of the year.For the Chevrolet...
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