Friday, May 30, 2014 by
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...
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...
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 by
Even though IHS Automotive divides the U.S. automobile industry
into over 30 segments, one segment – mainstream midsize cars - has
been the most popular category for ten years in a row. The
traditional four-door sedan provides the combination of size,
functionality and range of features that appeals to the American
family. Yet, since the launch of the Forester, CR-V and RAV4 in the
mid-90s, crossovers have continually gained traction with the U.S.
consumer. Crossovers have climbed the charts... R...
Thursday, April 17, 2014 by
Nissan just opened a new plant in Brazil
capacity to make 200,000 light vehicles per year. Nissan has built
the Livina/Grand Livina MPVs and the Frontier pick-up in a plant
owned by Renault in the southern part of the country. With the new
facility, they will make the March and Versa in Brazil. Previously,
they were imported from Mexico, but when Brazil set limits on
vehicle imports from Mexico in 2012, they had to change their
strategy. The new factory, which was built in 36 months,...
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, January 16, 2014 by
U.S. car dealers delivered 15,600,199 new cars and light trucks in
2013, up 8% from 2012. This is the fourth consecutive
year-over-year increase and follows three years of double-digit
growth from 2010 through 2012 as the industry climbed out of the
2009-10 recession. Of the 38 makes now on the market, 29 enjoyed
year-over-year increases in 2013, eight saw declines and one
(Tesla) could not be compared to 2012 since it had no sales at all
last year. The five makes with the largest increases... Re...
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...
Friday, January 3, 2014 by
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...
Friday, January 17, 2014 by
When Google released its Zeitgeist 2013
, a compilation of the most googled
terms of the year, the Hyundai HB20 reached the top spot for
the Brazilian automotive industry. It was followed by the
Chevrolet Onix and Chevrolet Prisma. The new Volkswagen Golf and
the Volkswagen Beetle (locally called Fusca) rounded out the Top 5.
The HB20 hatchback, the Onix and the Fusca were launched late in
2012. There is no doubt the HB20 has written its success story in
Brazil’s automotive history. With 3,312......
Monday, December 16, 2013 by
I always think about the title of this post – how quickly should an
OEM phase a vehicle out? – when I analyze Chevrolet’s numbers in
Brazil, the second market for the brand just behind the U.S. Before
I get to the figures, let me give you a quick background.
Traditionally, Chevrolet had sold rebadged Opel models in Brazil:
Monza, Corsa, Zafira, Meriva, Astra, Vectra. During GM's Chapter 11
time, no investments were made in Brazil, which got Detroit's
approval of using local revenue to develop......
Friday, December 6, 2013 by
December brings to mind snow and cold, but for luxury dealers in
the U.S., this month will be the "hottest" of the year. U.S.
consumers purchase more new luxury vehicles in December than in any
other month of the year, according to monthly Polk new vehicle
registration data. This contrasts with the monthly tallies for the
non-luxury space, where March and August are the peak months.
Luxury registrations also rise in the spring, but not to the same
degree as non-luxury deliveries; rather,...
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...
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...
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...
Monday, September 16, 2013 by
Brazil is waving goodbye to some of its oldest vehicles. Not
because OEMs have decided to drop them or because customers were
not going to the dealer network looking for them, but because all
vehicles sold in Brazil beginning January 1, 2014 must
have ABS and airbags. And some last-longing models simply
cannot comply with the rules. That is the case of the Volkswagen
Kombi, known as the Transporter T2 in the country. Made in
Brazil for the past 56 years, it was the first vehicle assembled...
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...
Monday, September 9, 2013 by
Seeing the Signs Every new vehicle sold is a signal to OEMs that
customers want more of that type of car or truck. In essence,
customers are voting with their wallets and with business
interests ever focused on customer loyalty and customer retention,
an OEM should be seeing the market signs. National Trend: Consumers
Continue to Buy New Through the second quarter of this year
(2013 Q2), new vehicle sales are once again on the
rise in Canada. New vehicle registrations indicate that...