Wednesday, July 23, 2014 by
One of the most competitive parts of the U.S. new vehicle market is
the lower end of the luxury space, where the Mercedes-Benz
CLA-Class, Audi A3 sedan and BMW 320 all serve as gateways, at
least on the car side, from the non-luxury makes up to the prestige
brands. An IHS Automotive analysis of Polk new vehicle registration
data indicates that the CLA-Class and A3 sedan are both succeeding
in this effort as both appear on the list of models most likely to
conquest non-luxury drivers. But they...R...
Thursday, July 3, 2014 by
The domestic OEMs have lagged behind their Asian competitors in the
U.S. new car market for many years. From 2009 through 2012 the
domestic OEMs’ combined share of the retail car market was below
28%. Last year it inched up to 28.2%, and through the first four
months of 2014 it stands at 28.7% (based on IHS Automotive analysis
of Polk new vehicle registration data). Although the current car
offerings from GM, Ford and Chrysler are clearly superior to their
predecessors in many perspectives,...
Thursday, May 8, 2014 by
There is a scene in the movie, “The Right Stuff” (about the Project
Mercury program in the early 1960s to send an American into space)
in which the astronaut candidates are undergoing endurance testing.
One of the tests involves blowing into a tube for as long as
possible with just one breath. The camera zeroes in on two of the
participants, the presumed front-runners, who are frantically
competing with one another, watching each other every second and
seemingly about to burst at the seams to...R...
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 by
As the automotive world focuses on the GM recall crisis, other
stories are getting less visibility than they otherwise
would. One of these is Jeep and its amazing start to
2014. Consider the following:
- In the first three months of 2014, Jeep dealers delivered
145,839 new trucks, almost 45,000 (45%) more than a year ago, the
largest increase of any brand in the industry (other than the 331%
increase at low-volume Maserati).
- Jeep captured 3.9% of the U.S. market in the first quarter, up
Friday, March 7, 2014 by
February U.S. car sales were driven in part by the appeal of
mainstream compact crossovers. These vehicles offer the ideal
combination of value for the money, good fuel economy, car-like
driving characteristics, and SUV-like functionality. Midsize as
well as sub-compact crossovers offer some of these advantages but
not all of them. Compact crossover sales in February drove
industry results at the segment, model and make levels. At the
segment level, the February results were extraordinary.... Rea...
Thursday, February 20, 2014 by
In “Twilight of the Brands” in the February 17/24 issue of “The New
Yorker,” James Surowiecki discusses the challenges facing
brands in today’s information-rich U.S. economy. Surowiecki focuses
on Lululemon Athletica, a yoga apparel company that quickly became
the darling of the industry and then tumbled almost overnight
because of negative customer feedback. Such instantaneous
customer reaction can propel a company to new heights or spell its
doom in the blink of an eye, according to...Read...
Thursday, February 6, 2014 by
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...
Monday, January 20, 2014 by
Do you think a Jeep Grand Cherokee is a direct competitor of a
Porsche Cayenne? Would you add the Volkswagen Touareg to the
competitive set? Well, many Brazilian consumers do. And the results
may be surprising. Let me start with the winner in the
SUV/crossover segment. Land Rover is the preferred brand. The Range
Rover Evoque sells over three times more than vehicle number two,
the Volvo XC60. And the Freelander (LR2 in the U.S.) comes right in
third place. Looking one length class above, the......
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 by
The competition in the luxury part of the U.S. new vehicle industry
has perhaps never been as intense as it is right now, and, in a
related trend, new product activity in this space is as frenetic as
ever. BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz continue to vie for luxury sales
leadership with Audi and Cadillac aggressively trying to move up.
Many of the luxury makes have been expanding into new segments,
with such products as the Evoque, F-Type and CLA. There are other
examples of this trend coming...
Monday, November 25, 2013 by
The Porsche Macan, Porsche's all-new small crossover revealed last
week in Los Angeles and to be launched in the U.S. next spring,
should be a "slam dunk," given the landscape of today's new vehicle
market. The small luxury crossover segment is one of the
fastest-growing in the industry, with registrations more than
quadrupling since 2008 and share of industry up by almost the same
amount (see table below). The number of small luxury crossovers in
the market has doubled from four in 2008 to...
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by
Monthly summaries of U.S. car and light truck sales focus on macro
results such as the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR),
corporate results and brand results. Micro outcomes get less
publicity even though they may be as noteworthy, if not more so.
For instance, there has been little mention given to the fact that
Mercedes-Benz dealers delivered 4,895 CLAs in October, its second
month on the market. This tally follows 2,310 sales in September.
The October figure is surprisingly strong and...R...
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 by
I attended the 43rd edition of the Miami International Auto Show at
the Miami Beach Convention Center. This is truly regarded as the
official kick off for auto show season. Miami's show is sponsored
by the South Florida Automotive Dealers Association, which boasts
over 175 dealers. My experience began with a media launch party on
November 7th at the well-appointed Raleigh hotel on Collins Avenue.
This event boasted many local dealers, product specialists, show
event planners, members of the...
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 by
After two lackluster years, Jaguar is now thriving in the U.S. In
both 2011 and 2012, Jaguar suffered registration declines even
though the industry recorded double-digit growth. But this year,
Jaguar's registrations have jumped 25% through August when compared
to a year ago. This is the fourth highest year-over-year gain among
all makes (with 1,000 or more registrations) that were also on the
market for all of 2012, after Porsche, Cadillac and Subaru.
Jaguar's gain is almost three times the...Re...
Wednesday, October 9, 2013 by
Do you have the impression that the Brazilian president meets the
CEO of an automaker daily? Lately there have been a lot of
announcements that OEMs will start – or resume – production in
Brazil. This year, Honda and Mercedes-Benz announced new plants,
while Audi stated it is coming back to Brazil and making cars
in a VW plant where it built the A3 some years ago. VW confirmed it
is finally updating the locally made Golf (currently still in its
fourth generation). Last year, BMW announced its......
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 by
Leasing is not just back; it has climbed to new heights in the U.S.
car business. Through the first seven months of 2013, leases have
accounted for 20% of all new vehicle transactions, the highest
annual lease penetration in at least 10 years if it holds for
the rest of the year. The Fed's bond-buying program, which has
suppressed interest rates, coupled with the higher quality and
residuals of new vehicles, has helped to make leasing more
attractive to the consumer. This industry-wide rise...
Tuesday, September 10, 2013 by
August U.S. new car and light truck sales were not merely good —
they were extraordinary. Consider the following:
- U.S. customers purchased 1,503,151 new cars and light trucks in
August, the highest monthly volume since May 2007
- This August total converts to an annual rate (SAAR) of 16.1
million, the highest monthly SAAR since November 2007
- The August year-over-year increase of 17% was the highest
monthly change since June 2012
- Every manufacturer enjoyed a sales increase in August
- August Ford...
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 by
Drive on any U.S. highway for more than 10 minutes and you
can't help but notice the wide variety of vehicles on the road.
There appear to be dozens of colors, wheels, designs and body types
from which to choose, not to mention the variety of less visible
features such as engines, transmissions and connectivity
technologies. A visitor to the U.S. could rightfully be overwhelmed
by the plethora of different cars and light trucks on the road.
Yet, a review of body type registration data reveals......
Thursday, August 1, 2013 by
There is mounting evidence that the three "domestic" automakers,
long known for their strength in light trucks, are turning out more
competitive cars and that consumers are noticing. New retail
registration data for the first five months of 2013 show the
domestics have gained almost two points of car market share (versus
the same time period in 2012) with almost all of this increase
coming at the expense of the Asian makes. The domestics have made
these gains while at the same time increasing...R...
Monday, July 22, 2013 by
If you follow my posts, you have read that there is not much logic
in Brazil's automotive market (if not, you can follow the link at
the bottom of the blog). Today, I will show that neighboring
Argentina faces the same problem. Argentina is struggling with
inflation. Last year, inflation was 10% according to the
government, but opposition in Congress says it was 25% – the
highest rate in South America and only behind Venezuela. The
government is known for reporting lower inflation and higher...
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 by
The "sweet spot" in the U.S. premium new vehicle market right now,
at least from a volume standpoint, is the compact crossover
category. Small luxury CUV registrations have jumped almost
four-fold over the past five years, with almost 75,000 being
delivered in the first five months of 2013. The segment's share of
industry has reached 1.15% and small luxury crossovers now account
for more than one of every 10 luxury registrations (with all
luxury crossovers together making up a third of the...Read...