Mazda, Mitsubishi, Scion Models Still Attract Young Buyers

Grace Hamulic

The 10 light-vehicle models with the highest percentages of young buyers (ages 16 to 35 years old) in the first half of 2011 were mainly compacts, and all were imports. In all, more than one-third of purchasers and lessees of these 10 models were young buyers.

Many of the models in the top 10 this year also had the highest percentages of young buyers in the same time period of 2010, although the percentage rank order was slightly different, according to Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data for the two periods. Mazda, Mitsubishi and Toyota’s Scion youth brand dominated the top 10 list of models with the highest percentages of young buyers this year as they did a year ago. Continue reading ›

BMW and Dodge Each Receive Three APEAL Segment-Level Awards

BMW and Dodge brands each receive three segment-level model awards—the most of any nameplates—in the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 US Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.SM

Jon Sundberg

BMW models that delight their buyers or lessees the most after the first 90 days of ownership are: the BMW X3, Z4 Roadster and 5 Series. The last time that BMW earned three segment-level awards was in our 2007 APEAL Study.

Chrysler Group LLC’s Dodge brand also earns three segment-level awards. Two of the three models are redesigns—Dodge Charger and Durango—while the third model is the Challenger, which also is the highest-performing non-premium model in this year’s APEAL Study with a score of 867 (on a 1,000-point scale). This is the first time that Dodge receives three segment-level awards in a given year in the APEAL Study.

Ford and Honda capture two segment-level awards each, with Ford receiving awards for the F-150 and the all-new Fiesta, and Honda earning awards for the Ridgeline and redesigned Odyssey. In addition, 10 models from an additional 10 brands receive awards at the segment level in this year’s APEAL Study. The brands with one model award each are (in alphabetical order): Chevrolet, Hyundai, Land Rover, Lexus, Mini, Nissan, Porsche, Scion, Suzuki and Volkswagen. Continue reading ›

Models with High APEAL Scores Can Improve Brand Loyalty

David Amodeo

J.D. Power research finds that new-vehicle models with high scores in our 2011 US Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study generate faster sales and require fewer cash incentives, based on analysis that includes our Power Information Network® (PIN) real-time transaction data. In fact, according to PIN, high APEAL scores also have a strong influence on customer recommendation rates, and ultimately create a positive impact on customer loyalty to the nameplate.

The 2011 APEAL Study evaluates elements that delight buyers or lessees with owning and driving their new vehicle during the first 90 days and complements our company’s Initial Quality Study (IQS), which focuses on vehicle problems experienced by owners during the first 90 days of ownership.

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US July Retail Sales Strengthen, but Remain Below Earlier Pace

Jeff Schuster

The best way to characterize retail light-vehicle sales performance in the US market for July is “good but not great.” While July’s selling rate is slated to finish higher than June’s pace, consumers continue to face obstacles in their willingness and ability to purchase a new vehicle. The ongoing debate regarding the debt ceiling and a sluggish economy are creating added pressure on top of a generally weaker vehicle sales environment.

Month-to-date retail deliveries in July are more robust than in the past 2 months, but remain below the 10.7 million-unit pace that we expect for the second half of the year, based on analysis of our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data collected in the first 13 days of July.

Retail light-vehicle sales in July are set to reach 913,900 units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annual selling pace (SAAR) of 9.8 million unit sales. That’s an improvement from June’s 9.3 million-unit SAAR and also better than a 9.2 million-unit rate a year ago, in July 2010. Continue reading ›

North American First-Half Output Rises 8% from 2010

Despite setbacks related to the Japan crisis, North American (US, Canada, and Mexico) production levels for the first half of the year are 8% higher than in the same period of 2010. In the first 6 months of 2011, 6.4 million units were built, up from 5.9 million units in the first 6 months . . . Continue Reading North American First-Half Output Rises 8% from 2010

Compacts Outpace Most Other Segments in First Half

In the first half of 2011, US consumer demand for compact-segment vehicles climbed, especially for Compact Conventional car models and Compact Crossovers (CUVs). Compact Conventional models, led by strong performances for the new Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Elantra and VW Jetta, outperformed the market and gained share. More than 1.0 million compact cars were sold in the first six months this year. The category’s sales surged nearly 18% from last year and share rose to 15.85% of industry sales from 15.05% in 2010, which was larger than the largest-volume Midsize Conventional share of 15.50% in the first six months.

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Diesels to Help GM, Others Meet Stricter Fuel Economy Rules

Mike Omotoso

Recent news reports have indicated that General Motors has decided to sell a diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze compact car in the US market. Reportedly, the diesel powertrain will help boost Cruze fuel efficiency to 50 mpg on the highway, based on several wire service reports. In June, Chevrolet sold nearly 25,000 new Cruze compacts with conventional gasoline powertrains, and it was one of the best-selling models in the US market.

GM to Offer Clean Diesel Powertrain

We know that General Motors’ diesel engine will use a common-rail direct-injection system, and it will be a clean diesel. In fact, all diesel passenger cars sold in the United States must be clean diesel, and ultra-low sulfur diesel has been sold across the country since late 2006. As news reports suggest, it will be two or three years before a diesel version of the Cruze can be sold here because it has to be re-engineered to meet US emissions standards. Continue reading ›

Ford and Chevrolet Are Best-Selling Brands in US Market

Dave Cutting

At the brand level, Ford dominated during the first half this year, gaining nearly 1 point of market share from a year ago. The Ford nameplate’s share rose to 16.09% from 15.15% a year ago and it sold 19% more new vehicles—more than 1 million units in the first half this year compared with 848,840 unit sales a year ago. Ford models with significant increases this year include the Escape, the new Explorer, Fiesta, Focus, Fusion and the F-Series, which remains America’s best-selling model. Continue reading ›

Creating An Electric Vehicle Industry in China Will Be No Easy Task

Tim Dunne

Over the past several years, international media have been reporting with increasing frequency about China’s intention to lead the world in the development of hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles (EVs). Since we are at the beginning of Year Three of China’s green-vehicle campaign, now might be a good time to assess how much progress has been made.

The short answer is, unfortunately, not much.

Total sales of hybrid vehicles in China in 2010 were estimated to be in the thousands of units. By comparison, hundreds of thousands of hybrids were sold in Japan, the United States and Europe. If one considers only the number of EVs sold in China in 2010, the sales figures are believed to be even smaller than for hybrids. Continue reading ›

First-Half Sales in U.S. Improve; Compacts, Light Trucks Gain

Through the first half of 2011, new car and light-truck sales in the United States were up 12% from the same six-month period in 2010. Automakers delivered 6.3 million units in the first half compared with 5.6 million units in the first half of 2010.

More light trucks were sold in the first six months this year than in the same period a year ago. Our analysis indicates that the light-truck share of the market in the first half was 50.3%, up from 49.2% a year ago. Although light trucks were more popular, compacts, especially Compact Conventional models, posted a major sales and share gain this year, outpacing last year’s most popular segment in the industry in the first half—Midsize Conventional cars. Continue reading ›