Sales Trends

Targeting Automotive Search With Improved Analytics

Optimizing paid and organic search among digital advertisers and lead generators is becoming increasingly more important and of interest to auto marketers.  However, much inefficiency currently exists in the marketplace.  Traditionally, digital analytics and marketing companies identify key terms that generate click traffic for specific campaigns. Automotive website companies provide extensive reporting for the optimization process through key words and terms. While these analytics allow...
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Small Crossovers Outpace Sedans for First Time Ever

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...
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Luxury Share of U.S. Auto Market Remains in 10-11% Range

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...
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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 Leasing Moves Beyond the Luxury Market

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...
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Which Vehicles do Canadians Love to Buy?

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...
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Flying Under the Radar, Subaru Thrives

Given that U.S. new vehicle registrations in 2012 were spread across 52 makes and 331 models, it's difficult to summarize the results concisely. This leads to a focus on the larger makes that dominate the industry. Yet one smaller make has been outperforming the industry for years and deserves some recognition. Subaru's recent performance in the U.S. has been remarkable. Two facts stand out. Subaru is the only make in the entire U.S. industry that has had five consecutive year-over-year sales...R...
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2013 Looks Bright for U.S. New Vehicle Sales

January 2013 U.S. new light vehicle sales climbed 14% from a year ago and sales for the rest of the year are expected to climb as well, though at a more modest rate. There are several drivers of this growth, both at the macroeconomic level and within the industry itself. Consider the following:
  • Interest rates remain exceptionally low, and with the Fed promising to keep them there until unemployment declines to 6.5%, we can expect to see low rates for quite awhile. This means that OEMs and...
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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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Customer Loyalty - Dealers and Customers Win

For the U.S. automotive industry, superior customer loyalty was recognized this week. I had the pleasure of watching our customers receive the annual Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards in Detroit as part of the overall activities surrounding the 2013 NAIAS (North American International Auto Show). It's a great feeling knowing OEMs and their dealer networks are working like crazy to make the buying and vehicle ownership experience richer, truer and highly relevant for their customers. As in past... 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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Americans are Holding their Vehicles Longer...is it Good for Loyalty?

As someone who works in the auto industry, knowing how long Amercians hold onto their car or truck gives me a sense of what future sales demand may look like--"demand" in terms of selling replacement parts and service as well as understanding factors that impact new vehicle sales. We're all looking for "demand signals," right? Polk's research shows that as of the second quarter of 2012, the average number of months that both new and used vehicle owners hold onto their vehicles is climbing....
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The "Disconnect" Between the U.S. Economy and the U.S. New Vehicle Market

We hear all the time about the troubled U.S. economy. If it isn’t high unemployment, it's the sluggish GDP or a decline in manufacturing or something else. But, there is also frequent mention in the media about the positive trends in the car business. Car and light truck sales are up, the manufacturers are turning in hefty – sometimes record – profits and even adding jobs to keep up with strong demand. There seems to be a disconnect here. How could the car business be doing so well while the...Re...
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Presidential Candidates: Support the Economy by Making Automotive a Priority

It is a presidential election year, which is creating a flood of advertisements along with politicians pounding on podiums to convince voters they are the best candidate for the job. Politicians present their plans to turn the United States economy around and create jobs. Both parties discuss plans to invest in small companies and sexy high tech companies such as Facebook, and mobile devices including phones and tablets. Too often, they fail to discuss plans to attract and retain...
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Four Facts You Should Know About the Japanese Auto Recovery

My global colleagues just prepared a brief analysis of the car market in Japan. While 2012 is certainly better than last year's struggle, the outlook for 2013 and beyond will be an uphill climb. For you crystal-ball gazers, here are four automotive forecast views that Polk has about the Japanese auto market:
  1. In 2011, Japan sold 3.5 million new cars and for comparison's sake, during the first half of 2012, new car sales rose by 57 percent compared to the first half of 2011.  
  2. For the full-year...
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Asian Automotive Advertising Excellence Celebrated at 3AF Marketing Summit

The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas served as host to the 3AF (Asian American Advertising Federation) The 2012 Annual Asian Marketing Summit on May 16-17. The goal of the annual summit was to share marketing best practices and celebrate the leaders in Asian marketing. With Asian Americans representing one out of every 20 new vehicles purchased in the U.S., it's easy to see why automotive market leaders including Toyota, Honda and Nissan were well represented at the conference.
  • Nissan-Admerasia...
Rea...
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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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Sub-Compact Category Captures Almost 5% of Industry Sales

The non-luxury sub-compact car segment, home to such well-known cars as the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris, is one of the hottest in the industry. Consider the following facts:
  1. The segment’s new registrations in January increased 26% versus January 2011, the fifth highest increase among all 29 segments
  2. The segment’s share of the industry reached 4.73% in January, up from 4.12% last January and 4.0% in 2010
  3. This segment is now the third largest car segment in...
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