The IHS Automotive Blog | Driven by Polk

Luxury Deliveries Climb at Year End

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,...
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Porsche Macan: “De-Nichification” Continues

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...
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Have you Participated in an Experiential Marketing Event Lately?

On Wednesday, November 13, the Automotive Professional Society (APS) of New Jersey, along with the Society of Automotive Analysts, held their Fall Networking Event. It was a moment for those automotive professionals in New Jersey to come together and explore a common issue in a friendly, non-competitive manner. The focus of this APS meeting was to explore the concept of experiential marketing. What are best practices for engaging customers or prospects using these tactics? Can the automotive... R...
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Mercedes-Benz CLA Has a Strong Start

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...
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Let's Kick off Auto Show Season!

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...
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Smaller Powertrains Drive Jaguar Forward

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...
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Making Global Product Management Easier for the Automotive Aftermarket Industry

For those of you like me who have been in the automotive aftermarket industry for a number of years, you understand the common challenge that all of us have been facing for over a decade – how do you determine if parts being sold in the U.S. or Europe have applications that can generate revenue in other parts of the world? And how do you identify vehicles that are more likely to have the same components as those on the road in different countries? I've never found these questions to be easy...
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Will Automotive Luxury Brands Succeed in Brazil?

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......
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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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Georgetown University Study: Today’s Millenials Face Multiple Challenges

U.S. new vehicle registration data indicate that millenials' (age 21-34) portion of total new vehicle registrations continues to decline (see chart below). In the first seven months of this year, 11.2% of all new vehicle purchases were made by millenials, down from 14.5% five years ago. There are two schools of thought on why this trend is occurring:
  1. Millenials are not as interested in cars as their predecessors because, among other things, today's millenials are immersed in the digital age...
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Farewell to Brazil's Oldest Vehicles

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...
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August 2013: A Terrific Automotive Sales Month, Particularly for the Japanese

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...
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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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There are 33 New Vehicle Segments in the U.S. Market, But...

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......
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Huge Opportunity: Orphan Owners

When car owners either trade their vehicle for a new one or add a vehicle to their household fleet, 55-60% of them choose a vehicle from the same corporation as their existing vehicle. But what about car owners whose brand has been discontinued (frequently referred to as "orphan" owners)? This is now a topical question since GM and Ford together have recently discontinued five brands. As of April, there were over 14.4 million orphan owners in the U.S. (including owners of vehicles from all...Read...
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Domestic Automakers Gain Car Share

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...
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Is there any Logic to Argentina's Auto Market?

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...
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Premium “Sweet Spot” - Small Crossovers

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...
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OEM U.S. Branding Strategies – Chrysler Goes Its Own Way

At the brand level, the structures of the U.S. marketing and sales operations of all the major automakers are similar with the exception of one. The OEMs operating in the U.S. have one dominant make accounting for at least 60% (and much higher in most cases) of all its U.S. registrations while Chrysler's registrations are spread more evenly across five makes (see chart below). Chrysler's U.S. structure is the result of both acquisitions and a different marketing strategy. Chrysler purchased...
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Is There any Logic to Brazil's Auto Market?

Several protests took place in Brazil during the month of June. Everything started with public transportation fares that were increased, although the increases were less than $0.10. And even after the increase was cancelled, protests kept going on, focusing on corruption, the amount spent to build stadiums for the World Cup, poor educational and health systems despite high taxes, amongst other things. (For more about the protests, see the links at the bottom of the blog.) Ironically, protests......
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