Late in June, Argentina canceled the free-trade agreement it has had with Mexico since 2002 (as noted in my prior blog). Argentina wanted to negotiate the agreement, as Brazil successfully did with Mexico, assigning quotas to imports but Mexico did not concede. Argentina has been consistently the fifth main market for Mexican exports since 2009, although volumes jumped 177% between 2009 and 2011. Brazil went from the fourth spot in 2009 up to second place this year, even with limits to imports...Read More »
I rely on some form of a "mileage countdown" system when tracking the time to change the oil in my car. Whether it's an electronic display on my dashboard or a sticker in the upper lefthand corner of my windshield, I'm regularly comparing my current mileage against the target that commands a visit to my local lube/oil shop. Unfortunately, it's kind of like waiting for your alarm clock to hit the magical point when the buzzer goes off early in the morning. You know it's coming, but you really...Read More »
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 More »
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. Among...Read More »
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,...
Welcome to a series of blog posts about the global automotive market based on a paper that I recently worked on with a set of colleagues that discusses important strategic questions for automotive business planners. For those of you interested in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), this blog focuses on the question, "Will BRIC countries continue to drive organic growth in the automotive industry?"
Why? Of the 38 percent jump Polk expects to see for global light...Read More »
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, its...Read More »
The presence of Dan Akerson, General Motors' CEO, Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche, Takanobu Ito, Honda's CEO and President, and Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover's CEO, shows how international the 2012 Sao Paulo auto show has become. Brazil has always been a key market for many OEMs – for example, it is the second main market for Chevrolet and Renault – but it has been closed, with many products only offered in the country and in neighboring Argentina.
However,...Read More »
It was a national holiday in Brazil on October 12 and I went with my family to where my father was born, a small town where approximately 10,000 people live today. During the long weekend, my impression was that Chevrolet was the best seller in Brazil, but actually it falls behind Fiat and Volkswagen. However, I saw more of the Chevrolet Montana (a pick-up truck based on a passenger car, something that Brazil created decades ago) and the S-10 (the local name of the Colorado) than the Fiat Strada...Read More »
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 Ford...Read More »
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...Read More »
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, Executive...Read More »
At this point in automotive history, nobody denies the importance of Hyundai. According to Polk data, the Korean OEM produced almost 3 million light vehicles worldwide in 2003 and we forecast that its output will reach 8.3 million in 2016. That's a growth of 183%, while on the other hand, GM's production is rather stable during the same period.
Part of this growth will come from a brand new factory in Brazil. With an investment of $600 million, Hyundai will start producing a hatchback on...Read More »
The contract between the three "domestic" automakers and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) expires at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on September 17. The contract covers approximately 18,000 workers. As of this writing, the two sides have not reached an agreement on terms for a new contract and the CAW is threatening to simultaneously strike Canadian operations at all three companies. A list of models assembled in Canada by these companies is shown below.
There is little doubt a strike would...Read More »
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 seven...Read More »
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 brought...
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 in...Read More »
As the U.S. presidential campaigns gear up for their final drive toward election day, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at automobile sales by state to see if the growth rate within swing states might give an indication of the potential outcome of the presidential race.
The analysis itself is very straightforward — I compared current year-to-date personal automobile sales by state with sales from the same period a year ago and looked at the rate of change. States were sorted into...Read More »
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 new...Read More »
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 manufacturing...Read More »