Hybrids

Automotive Hybrid Model Counts Continue to Rise, but Sales Don’t Keep Pace

There is a theory that by adding a model (to a brand or segment, for example), sales will go up. IHS Automotive new vehicle registration data indicate this does not always occur in the area of alternative fuel vehicles. The number of hybrid models in U.S. showrooms has increased every year from 2009 through this year, but their market share has not kept pace. Hybrid share actually declined from 2009 to 2010 and again from 2013 to 2014, despite an increase in model count during both these time...R...
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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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Ford C-Max vs. Toyota Prius – Round 1

Ford launched the C-Max hybrid vehicle in September 2012, and dubbed it as America's most affordable hybrid utility vehicle. The C-Max base model is offered at $25,200 and provides consumers with estimated fuel economy of 47/47 (city/highway) MPG. By contrast the primary competitor to the C-Max is Toyota's famous Prius which has a starting price of $24,200 and fuel economy estimates of 51/48 MPG. With the launch of the C-Max, Ford has launched "The Hybrid Games" campaign which displays a...
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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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Autos in 2013 and Beyond - Industry Trends to Watch

Many of you may be returning to work this week after an extended vacation around the holiday season. Welcome back! I'll keep this blog short and informative. It's 2013 and the world didn't end last month as the Mayans (supposedly) predicted. Given this, we can officially remove Mayan prognosticators from the category of a legitimate forecasting entity. However, Polk has a few predictions. They go something like this: 
  1. New auto sales for 2013 will jump 6.6 percent over last year. Our U.S....
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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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Prius Success Goes Beyond the Sales Results

The sales and registration data speak for themselves regarding the success of the Prius. Its sales more than doubled in September, and are up 92% through nine months. However, because three new derivatives of the Prius have come to market in 2012 (the tall 'V' version, the plug-in version and the smaller 'C' version), comparing this year with last is not comparing apples to apples. But even when you pull out the 2012 deliveries of these three derivatives and look just at the original Prius,...
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The Accord: The Heart and Soul of Honda

It's difficult to overstate the importance of the Accord to the Honda franchise. The Accord is to Honda as the F-Series is to Ford, the Caravan is to Dodge, and the 3-Series is to BMW. The Accord is the heart and soul of Honda. Launched in 1976, the Accord has been at or near the top of the midsize sedan segment ever since. There are 11 million on the road. Car & Driver magazine has named the Accord one of the Ten Best Cars some 26 times, more than any other vehicle. Mr. Takuji Yamada,...
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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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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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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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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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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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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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