Automaker Websites Key to Influencing Consumers in China

Urban consumers in China spend more time browsing the internet than any other country in the world, according to published media reports. As a result, communicating to potential customers online is particularly important to automakers and their retailers.

Seven of 10 new-vehicle intenders in China visit a manufacturer’s website to gather or verify vehicle information, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2011 China New-Vehicle Intender Study.SM Study data shows that the appearance of the website and ease of navigation are the two most important features for these new-vehicle intenders, followed by the usefulness of website information/content and the speed of pages loading on the website. Continue reading ›

General Motors Models Still Enjoy High Consideration in China

Tim Dunne

The models with highest consideration rates in each of nine segments among consumers in China who intend to purchase a new vehicle within the next 12 months include three General Motors brand models and three German brand models, according to the  J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2011 China New-Vehicle Intender Study.SM

One of the reasons for high consideration for GM and its brands’ models is that the US automaker has had a presence in China for a long time (in China auto years). In fact, GM announced their joint venture (JV) with SAIC in 1997, and began selling cars in China in 1998 or 1999. Buick and Chevrolet are well-known brands. GM is also well known because it is a big company. Big is a good characteristic in China—and bigger is always better. Continue reading ›

CAFE Changes Boost Powertrain Efficiency Improvements

Kevin Riddell

Even though a 56.2-mpg CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) average in 2025 is not yet written in stone, automakers do realize that the national standards will continue to rise well into the next decade. As a result, we expect to continue seeing trends such as: engine displacement reduction; the increased use of direct injection and turbocharging; an increasing number of gears in automatic transmissions; and increasing hybridization from start-stop systems to dedicated electric vehicles (EVs), to name a few.

A few years ago, when the 35-mpg standard for 2016 was announced, it was generally thought that hybrids would begin to make up much more of automakers’ sales than they currently do. Cost continues to hinder the growth potential of this technology. As a result, between 2008 and 2010, the share of new hybrid sales has remained at around 2.5%, despite higher fuel prices during the past few years. The hybrid market is expected to grow, but the price of the technology will temper this increase over the next few years. Continue reading ›

China Consumers Shift Purchase Consideration to European Models

Tim Dunne

Among consumers in China who expect to buy a new vehicle within the next 12 months, the consideration rate for European models has risen significantly in recent years, and is stronger than consideration rates for both Japanese brand and Chinese domestic models, which have diminished, according to our 2011 China New-Vehicle Intender Study.

Study results reveal that the proportion of new-vehicle intenders in China who indicate they will consider purchasing a model from a European automaker has risen to 32% in 2011, up from 25% in 2009. In addition, a larger number of these intenders have positive perceptions of the vehicle safety and improvements in engine and transmission technology for European models. Respondents to the study also confirm receiving strong recommendations for European models from family and friends. In China, positive recommendations from family and friends is traditionally the most important driver for new-car buyers when selecting a new vehicle. Continue reading ›

June US Retail Sales Dip at Month’s End, But Stronger Than in 2010

David Cutting

US retail light-vehicle sales in June dipped in the final selling days of the month, but still were 7.5% stronger than retail sales a year ago, on a selling-day-adjusted basis.* However, June retail sales were down 7.6% from May 2011 retail deliveries mainly due to low inventory conditions, based on analysis of our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data.

The seasonally adjusted retail selling pace (SAAR) averaged 9.3 million units in June, which matched the SAAR in May but was up 900,000 units from the June 2010 pace. Fleet sales in June declined 11% from the same month a year ago and also from last month’s fleets. The fleet sales pace averaged 2.0 million units in June 2011 and was 800,000 units below the pace in June 2010, again due to slimmer inventories in relation to production slowdowns in Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Continue reading ›

US Sales in June Bolstered by Demand for Pickups and Compacts

David Cutting

In June, more than 1.05 million new cars and light trucks were sold in the US market, which was up slightly less than 3% from 981,429 unit sales in the same month a year ago (on a selling-day-adjusted basis*). The average annual selling pace (SAAR) in June was 11.4 million units, which was weaker than last month’s 11.7 million-unit SAAR, but stronger than the year-ago pace of 11.1 million units.

Large pickups and the combined compact segments outperformed the industry in June as we projected, and the three Detroit-based automakers captured slightly more than one-half of industry sales (50.16%), mainly due to depleted inventories for two of the major Japanese automakers: Toyota and Honda Groups. On a year-to-date basis, the US market is up 12.1%. Hyundai Group’s impressive 32.5% sales gain through June this year comes at the expense of Toyota (down 4.6%) and Honda (up 1.6%). Continue reading ›

Malaysia’s Perodua vs. Proton: The Battle Is On

Ammar Master

The numbers game between Malaysia’s two national carmakers, Perodua and Proton, is closer than ever. Between January and May of this year, Proton surpassed Perodua to become Malaysia’s highest-selling brand. Its sales were about 2,000 units ahead of Perodua. In the same period a year ago, Proton was behind Perodua by 13,000 units. Notably, Proton’s more aggressive launch of new models and variants during the past year has helped it achieve higher volumes than Perodua. Proton upgraded its Exora MPV, powered by the 1.6-liter Campro CPS engine, in mid-July 2010. The automaker followed this with the new Inspira compact model in October, and the Saga Facelift in December.

Newer models generate buyer interest and create excitement in the market. Therefore, Proton’s refreshed models, especially the Saga FL, has been well received in the market. The Saga, in fact, was Proton’s best-selling model through May. The Inspira too appears to be gaining traction. Moreover, Proton made available the Saga with its 1.6-liter Campro IAFM engine beginning in late May. This is not a new model since it is already sold as a taxi, but it is now being offered to retail customers. In addition, Proton plans to introduce its new turbocharged 1.6-liter Campro engine by the third quarter of this year, featuring it first in the Exora MPV and subsequently the Satria Neo. The new engine is also likely to power future Proton models. Continue reading ›