Owners of Black Vehicles Most Loyal to Black Paint Color

We did some analysis of our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data to find out what color vehicles buyers are trading in for their new vehicles and discovered some interesting results. We already knew that black continued to be the most popular color choice for new vehicles in 2010, but we also found that owners of black vehicles were the most loyal to black as an exterior color choice for their new vehicle.

Grace Hamulic

More than one-third (36.4%) of black vehicles were traded in for a new one of the same color in 2010. We also found that it was an even higher percentage than in 2009, when 34.6% of those customers trading in a black vehicle purchased or leased another one.

Loyalty to White and Gray Also Increases

Buyer loyalty to white vehicles also was high—second only to black. In 2010, nearly one-third (32.9%) of those owners or lessees who traded in a white vehicle traded for another of the same color, up from 31.1% in 2009. Continue reading ›

Growth in India Auto Market Spurs Dealer Optimism

India’s light-vehicle market is growing rapidly, and the changing market environment underscores the need for automakers operating in the country to develop strong and competitive dealer networks.

Mohit Arora

In our initial study to measure dealer satisfaction with auto manufacturers in India, we find that more than 60% of dealer principals or general managers throughout India said they expect to be profitable by the end of the fiscal year. In addition, more than 80% of respondents who expect a profit this year indicate that their 2011 profits likely will exceed 2010 profits, based on findings in our J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2011 India Dealer Satisfaction with Automotive Manufacturers Study.SM

India Dealers Expecting 2011 Profits are More Satisfied with OEMs

It’s no surprise, then, to find that the staffs of dealerships who are expecting to be profitable this year are more satisfied with their vehicle manufacturers or importers and the automotive sales business than those who expect a financial loss in 2011. In fact, satisfaction among the dealers who expect to earn a profit averages 780 (on a scale of 1,000 points), which is 170 points higher than the satisfaction average of 609 for dealers expecting a financial loss. Continue reading ›

Automakers, Suppliers Assess Operations after Japan’s Tragic Events

Jeff Schuster

The situation in Japan, including the changing conditions of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant’s reactors and power issues from rolling blackouts, remains extremely fluid as it relates to the auto industry. Both manufacturers and automotive suppliers alike continue to assess their specific situations, but it is clear that it will likely be months before the industry returns to normal operations.

We are beginning to see the impact reach beyond Japan, and the auto industry is bracing for both parts and vehicle shortages in many areas of the world. There is a great deal of risk for automakers in the near-term, as it relates to vehicle production volume and, ultimately, sales. In our forecast, we have made an initial downward revision for vehicle production in Japan—of 450,000 units, which is equal to a reduction of 5% for 2011. Continue reading ›

North American Production Rises 15% in February

Jeff Schuster

February new-vehicle production in North America, which includes the United States, Canada and Mexico, totaled 1.06 million units and was 15% higher than in February 2010. Near-term output is beginning to be affected by parts shortages caused by plant shutdowns from the earthquake and tsunami crisis in Japan. So far, several . . . Continue Reading North American Production Rises 15% in February

Auto Industry Remains Stronger Despite External Shocks

John Humphrey

The economy is no longer the primary variable that could impact total US light-vehicle sales volume this year, as the auto industry is now grappling with gas prices* at their highest level in more than two years, as well as the potential for widespread shortages in vehicle availability due to the . . . Continue Reading Auto Industry Remains Stronger Despite External Shocks

US Sales Outlook for 2011 Remains Optimistic

Jeff Schuster

Despite risks from rising gasoline prices in the United States and temporary production shutdowns in Japan related to continuing problems after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, we’re holding our calendar-year 2011 total light-vehicle sales forecast at 13.0 million units. In addition, we are increasing our 2011 retail light-vehicle sales forecast by 100,000 units, to 10.6 million units compared to 10.5 million units in our previous forecast in light of the strong sales performance through the first quarter. However, we expect that fleet sales will be transferred to the retail market due to parts shortages in Japan.

In our latest monthly forecast update, retail light-vehicle sales in the US market during the first three weeks of March* continued to be stable consistent with the strength that we have seen during the first two months of the year. In fact, March retail sales volume is approaching 1.0 million units, which would be the first time since August 2009 that monthly retail sales exceeded this total. We’re expecting the retail selling pace in March to average 10.9 million units, compared to a weaker 9.3 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) in March 2010. Continue reading ›

Toyota Plans New Small Car for ASEAN Market

Ammar Master

Toyota is planning to build a new small car that we call the EFC in our forecast  for the ASEAN member countries in Southeast Asia. We believe this new model will go into production in 2013, and will first be sold in Thailand and Indonesia, followed by Malaysia a year later.

The EFC will be built on the same platform as the Etios sub-compact that is currently on sale in India. Like the Etios, the focus for the EFC is likely to be on keeping costs in check, while maintaining high quality standards and meeting specific fuel-efficiency requirements. Continue reading ›

Prius Sales Up Significantly in February; Demand will Continue to Climb

The Toyota Prius has been the best-selling hybrid model for many years now, although there is increasing competition from other manufacturers and now from plug-in (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf. Toyota has been able to keep up with the demand for the Prius, and low . . . Continue Reading Prius Sales Up Significantly in February; Demand will Continue to Climb

Demand Rises in US for Smaller, More Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Higher prices at the gas pump definitely increased buyer demand in the US market for compact models as well as for models with more fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engines and hybrid powertrains in February 2011, compared to the same month a year ago. Our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data reveals that nearly half (49.8%) of the vehicles purchased or leased in February in the United States were powered by 4-cylinder engines, up 4 percentage points from February a year ago (45.8%).

Mike Omotoso

At the manufacturer level, we expect new model offerings from General Motors, Ford, Hyundai and Honda to not only stabilize the compact vehicle market, but also to help the market grow. The ninth-generation Honda Civic will be launched this summer, and the newly redesigned 2012 Ford Focus will arrive before the Civic. We expect US light-vehicle sales to grow from 11.6 million units in 2010 to 13.0 million in 2011. This growth is also due to a steadily improving economy, stock market gains, and increased consumer confidence. Continue reading ›

BMW Uses the “i” Sub-brand to Promote Cutting-Edge Technology

Mike Omotoso

BMW’s i sub-brand will be the next phase of BMW’s electric vehicle development. We do expect this sub-brand to be brought to the US in 2013 or 2014. The US is one of the leading markets for electric vehicles (EVs), and along with Western Europe will be a target market for the i3 Megacity vehicle and the i8 plug-in hybrid. The BMW Mini E has been available for lease in California, New York and New Jersey since 2009. Continue reading ›