A few cross-shopping surprises

We all know that a major part of the game when selling vehicles is just getting on the list.  Most cross-shopping behavior is predictable, e.g. Camry vs. Accord vs. Malibu vs. Altima.  After all, these vehicles were designed to compete directly against each other.

Additionally, many buyers will consider a larger vehicle but eventually make the economic decision to buy the less expensive one.  For instance, 28% of new compact conventional buyers (e.g. Honda Civic) also considered a new midsize conventional vehicle (e.g. Nissan Altima) seriously enough to shop it at the dealership.  Similarly, 21% of compact CUV buyers (e.g. Ford Edge) considered a midsize CUV (e.g. Hyundai Santa Fe).  (Source: J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Avoider Study)

The brands with the highest sales are also cross-shopped the most heavily.  For 2009, these were Toyota (considered by 34% of all new-vehicle buyers), Honda (28%), Ford (26%), Chevy (24%), and Nissan (18%).

Not surprisingly, there is substantial cross-shopping between brands under the same corporate parent, perhaps due in part to co-located dealerships.  This also holds for premium vs. non-premium.  A few examples:

  • 22% of Acura buyers shop Honda.  25% of Acura RDX buyers shop the Honda CR-V.
  • 14% of Lexus buyers shop Toyota.  38% of Toyota Land Cruiser buyers shop the Lexus LX Series.
  • 12% of Audi buyers shop VW.  23% of Audi A3 buyers shop the VW Jetta/GLI
  • 48% of GMC buyers shop Chevy.  This is indicative of the huge overlap between their product lines.
  • 29% of Chrysler buyers shop Dodge

But once you get down to the model level, there’s some really interesting stuff going on.

  • The Toyota Prius is on a lot of shopping lists, e.g. buyers of other hybrids, MINI, Jetta (17% of Jetta buyers consider Prius).  But most Prius buyers only consider other hybrids.
  • The Volkswagen CC is shopped against other compact premium conventional vehicles, e.g. Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, and Acura TL.  The Touareg is similarly compared to premium competitors. In both cases, it seems that Volkswagen has at least hit its target audience.
  • Subaru’s up market push has been less successful with the Tribeca, which is largely cross-shopped against non-premium models such as the Toyota Highlander, Ford Edge, Honda Pilot, and Mazda CX-9.
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