Thursday, October 2, 2014 by
Alfred P. Sloan died almost 50 years ago, but several of his
strategies that built GM into the world’s largest automaker remain
intact. Sloan created a “ladder of brands” at GM to enable the
consumer to “move up” the ladder to more prestigious makes as his
household financial position improved; today six auto manufacturers
offer both mainstream and premium makes in the U.S. to similarly
allow the consumer to “move up” the ladder, so to speak. IHS
Automotive loyalty data (see below) show that...Re...
Tuesday, August 5, 2014 by
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...
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 by
One of the most competitive parts of the U.S. new vehicle market is
the lower end of the luxury space, where the Mercedes-Benz
CLA-Class, Audi A3 sedan and BMW 320 all serve as gateways, at
least on the car side, from the non-luxury makes up to the prestige
brands. An IHS Automotive analysis of Polk new vehicle registration
data indicates that the CLA-Class and A3 sedan are both succeeding
in this effort as both appear on the list of models most likely to
conquest non-luxury drivers. But they...R...
Thursday, July 3, 2014 by
The domestic OEMs have lagged behind their Asian competitors in the
U.S. new car market for many years. From 2009 through 2012 the
domestic OEMs’ combined share of the retail car market was below
28%. Last year it inched up to 28.2%, and through the first four
months of 2014 it stands at 28.7% (based on IHS Automotive analysis
of Polk new vehicle registration data). Although the current car
offerings from GM, Ford and Chrysler are clearly superior to their
predecessors in many perspectives,...
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...
Monday, May 5, 2014 by
Today's new vehicle buyer is just under 52 years old, up slightly
from two years ago and about a year from 2009. Among luxury
(non-exotic) makes, Land Rover has the youngest buyers, followed by
Infiniti. The typical buyer of every Land Rover model is under 50,
with the LR4 lowest at 46. Infiniti's average age has dropped by
more than a year since 2011, due in part to the popularity of the
Infiniti JX crossover (47.1 years). The Infiniti QX56 and QX80 are
the largest Infinitis available, but...
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, February 6, 2014 by
Given all the attention recently focused on Tesla, I thought it
would be interesting to see who is buying the Model S.
Specifically, what are customers trading in for the Model S, or
what other vehicles do Model S buyers have in their garage if they
are adding to their fleet? The Model S conquest data, derived from
Polk new vehicle registration data, are fascinating. There are two
ways of looking at the data. First, the pure conquest data show
that the Model S is conquesting owners of... Read...
Monday, January 20, 2014 by
Do you think a Jeep Grand Cherokee is a direct competitor of a
Porsche Cayenne? Would you add the Volkswagen Touareg to the
competitive set? Well, many Brazilian consumers do. And the results
may be surprising. Let me start with the winner in the
SUV/crossover segment. Land Rover is the preferred brand. The Range
Rover Evoque sells over three times more than vehicle number two,
the Volvo XC60. And the Freelander (LR2 in the U.S.) comes right in
third place. Looking one length class above, the......
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......
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 15, 2014 by
It was my pleasure to be a co-presenter last night, along with
Edouard Tavernier, as 33 winners were recognized for automotive
loyalty and conquest during the Polk Automotive Loyalty Awards
presented by IHS. For those of you unfamiliar with how owner
loyalty is measured, it’s determined when a household that owns a
new vehicle returns to market and purchases or leases another new
vehicle of the same model or make. This year's Polk Loyalty
Awards recognized the best-of-the-best and winners...
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...
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......