Tuesday, January 29, 2013 by
As Toyota announced it has regained the global sales crown
, it makes me think of how the
Japanese OEM has wasted its chances in the world's fourth
largest market. Not everyone is aware that Toyota opened its first
factory outside of Japan within Brazil in 1959, a plant that is
currently used to produce parts. For decades, the Brazilian market
was closed to imports and Toyota only produced a version of
its Land Cruiser. It was a great product for rural areas, but
Toyota was far behind its...Read...
Tuesday, December 18, 2012 by
Automotive marketers continue to covet the young buyer and this
holds true in the luxury market as much as in the mass market. The
luxury marque that captures the young buyer then merely has to
retain him/her and move him/her up the ladder, while the luxury
brand that fails to appeal to the young demographic is faced with
the more expensive task of conquesting from a competitor. This is
not to imply that customer retention is "easy," but it is generally
acknowledged to be less expensive to...Read...
Thursday, December 13, 2012 by
If your current car or truck is getting long in the tooth and
you've been thinking about trading it in, you may want to drop by
your local dealership before year-end. While some people believe
the fall is the best time to buy a new car because the dealers want
to clear out their inventory to make room for the new models, in
fact the end of the calendar year is just as good a time, if not
better. Here's why:
- Dealership employees and vehicle manufacturer employees,
including retail salespeople,...
Tuesday, October 9, 2012 by
I arrived in my hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil yesterday and thought
for sure that I would see a couple of Volkswagen Gols with their
new facelift, which was announced in July. The Gol has been the
best-selling vehicle in Brazil for 30 years and in the past, I have
always seen a new generation or facelift on the streets as soon as
they were announced. However, to my surprise, yesterday was
different: I didn't see a new Gol. At the airport parking lot,
there were two EcoSports – the crossover...
Wednesday, September 12, 2012 by
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...
Tuesday, September 11, 2012 by
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...
Thursday, September 6, 2012 by
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...
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 by
My clients often ask the question, "What brands are Saab owners
moving into, now that the company is bankrupt?" I decided to do a
quick study but before the findings are revealed, I'll provide some
brief background information about the brand's development in the
U.S. Saab, the Swedish vehicle company who claimed its cars were
"born from jets." In 1989, General Motors decided to take a
50% stake in the Swedish company to help propel sales in the U.S.
market. Throughout the '90s, Saab enjoyed...
Monday, July 16, 2012 by
A list of GM's woes would undoubtedly include the European market,
but right now GM is also struggling in the U.S. Through the first
six months of 2012, the company's U.S. market share is down almost
two percentage points to just 18.1%. The GM brand suffering the
greatest decline, in both market share (-25%) and sales (-18%), is
Cadillac. Yet, even though this is not good news for GM's
flagship brand, it is not a surprise. During GM's restructuring in
2009, product programs were delayed or...
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 by
Hidden behind the headlines about May's modest new vehicle sales
results is the fact that Toyota Motor Sales had an extraordinary
month. With replenished inventories of core models, both the Toyota
and Lexus makes had "break-out" months. Together the two brands
captured 15.2% of the U.S. market in May, up five percentage points
from May 2011. To put that in perspective, Toyota's gain in May was
equal to the entire U.S. volume of the Hyundai make in the same
month. Toyota dealers delivered...
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 by
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...
Friday, April 20, 2012 by
If the new 2013 Lincoln MKZ does as well after its launch as it has
beforehand, it will be a huge success. At both the North American
International Auto Show in Detroit in January (concept vehicle) and
the New York International Auto Show just a couple of weeks ago
(final production version), the media raved about the car. Two
compliments were mentioned repeatedly: the car's styling is modern,
clean and elegant, and there is virtually no similarity visually
between the MKZ and its sister...Read...
Friday, March 30, 2012 by
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...
Wednesday, March 28, 2012 by
An analysis of new vehicle buyers shows that their average age was
51 years old in 2011, three years older than buyers in 2007. In
2011, 40% of all buyers were aged 55 years or older, up from about
30% just four years earlier. And, in keeping with much commentary
about today’s youth, in 2011, only 11% of all new vehicle buyers
were aged 34 years or younger, down from almost 16% four years
earlier. Perhaps today’s young people indeed do have less interest
in cars or perhaps they don’t have the...R...
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 by
Common sense suggests that gaining a first time buyer provides the
opportunity to create a customer for life. Yet analyzing repurchase
behavior among the younger demographic set suggests that
manufacturers and dealers alike are not doing enough to retain
younger buyers when they return to market. Admittedly, younger
buyers represent a small percentage of total repurchase activity,
less than 1% for buyers 18-24 and 7.5% for buyers 25-34, but it’s
not necessarily about the value these customers...R...
Wednesday, April 4, 2012 by
One of the byproducts of the recent collapse of the automotive
industry has been a renewed and some might say "zealous" focus on
keeping customers loyal to the brand. There is nothing like a
near-death experience that some car manufacturers experienced to
shake up any complacency and force a reordering of priorities. And
what has risen to the top of the list for almost all OEMs is the
question of, "How do we do a better job of keeping our customers
loyal – and what causes customers to be...
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 by
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...
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 by
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...
Wednesday, February 22, 2012 by
The FIAT 500 has come in for some criticism because dealers
delivered only 17,945* units in 2011, far short of the annual goal
of 50,000 announced earlier in the year by Chrysler and FIAT
Chairman Sergio Marchionne. The 500’s shortfall was exceptionally
visible because it occurred amidst successful performances in 2011
by all other Chrysler Corporation makes. And, if one looks at the
500 in the context of the non-luxury subcompact car segment in
which it competes, its results – 4% of the...
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 by
Premium new vehicle registrations in the U.S. climbed almost 5% in
2011 to 1.45 million units, driven in part by fierce competition
between BMW and Mercedes-Benz for premium sales leadership (won by
BMW). But this increase lagged behind the 10% improvement for
the overall new vehicle industry, which was led by exceptional
gains at Chrysler, Volkswagen and Hyundai.In the premium market,
nine of 11 segments gained ground in 2011, with two small-vehicle
segments and one upper-end category...Read...