Roundtable Panelists Share a Conversation about Multi-Screen Strategies

Media experts discused how strong content can be delivered in a platform-specific way during the Automotive Marketing Roundtable.

Creating strong content for multi-screens—TVs, smartphones and tablets, as well as PCs—demands a platform-specific strategy that allows the marketers and content providers to step aside and let the audiences engage, according to panelists at the . . . Continue Reading Roundtable Panelists Share a Conversation about Multi-Screen Strategies

Roundtable Participants Hear Why Cadillac Focuses on Fastest Lap

Jeremy Detgen

It may be an “audacious ambition,” but Cadillac plans to become a global luxury brand, according to Don Butler, vice president of marketing for the Cadillac division of General Motors. It’s especially audacious since 95% of the luxury vehicles sold in the U.S. are from brands outside the U.S. Additionally, imports account for 80% of the U.S. market. However, Cadillac believes it is the “original” American luxury brand.

In a keynote speech at last week’s Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV, Butler pointed out that Cadillac knew that if they wanted to become a global luxury brand, they would have to meet a higher standard. The 2009 Cadillac CTS-V proved they were up to the challenge when it set a single-lap record at the famed Nürburgring race course in Germany, becoming the fastest production vehicle in its class at its release.

Bold Marketing Sets Global Stage for Cadillac

Currently, the BMW 3 Series is the market leader in the Compact Luxury segment, which is an important segment because it is where most luxury buyers first enter the market, Butler said. Cadillac figured it would have to use innovative and bold marketing strategies to break through this segment, beginning with the product itself. Starting with the Cadillac ATS, the company knew they could take on their competitors. Continue reading ›

Automakers, Dealers Learn about Mini USA’s Recipe for Sales Success

During their 10 amazing years in the United States, Mini USA has adhered to the mindset of “winning small,” suggests Tom Salkowsky, head of marketing. He told auto industry members on the opening day of the 2012 Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) that much of Mini’s early success came at a time when “Bigger was Better” in the United States. Continue reading ›

Retail U.S. Auto Sales Remain Robust in First Half of October

Deirdre Borrego

U.S. retail light-vehicle sales during the first 17 selling days of October continued to increase at a robust pace that was similar to the pace in September, according to a monthly sales forecast update developed by our Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

In October, retail sales are likely to reach 943,200 units, which is a 13% increase (on a selling-day adjusted basis) in volume vs. the same month a year ago. This translates to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.0 million units, which would be the second consecutive month of a retail pace above 12 million. Rates in September and October of this year would be the best in four years (since April and May 2008).

Total light-vehicle sales this month, which include retail and fleet deliveries, are projected to rise 11% from October 2011, with volume surpassing 1.134 million units. This translates to an overall SAAR of 14.8 million units, which is just 100,000 units below September’s 14.9 million-unit SAAR.

Fleet deliveries in October are anticipated to account for 17% of total sales—slightly below the 5-year average of 19% for October, which Continue reading ›

Gathering Together to Talk about Present and Future Auto Shoppers

Arianne Walker

Consumers are relying more and more on digital devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to help them in their vehicle shopping process. Also, new-vehicle shoppers are going online nearly as soon as they decide to buy a vehicle, according to the latest research presented by J.D. Power experts on Wed., Oct. 24, at the 2012 Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. The three-day event (Oct. 23-25) at the Bellagio Hotel is being attended by a record 1,400 participants.

To attract shoppers, the auto industry—automakers, marketers, advertisers, website and search engine providers, and dealers—needs to have a much better understanding of the ways that shoppers—especially younger generation buyers—are using the Internet. During an opening Automotive Marketing Overview, J.D. Power’s Arianne Walker, senior director, Media and Marketing Solutions, spoke about trends from J.D. Power new-vehicle buyer and consumer behavior research. A few key points:

Digital Research has Biggest Impact on Millennials

• A majority of new-vehicle shoppers (80%) are Automotive Internet Users (AIUs), meaning that they go online as part of their shopping process

• Millennials, those born between 1977 and 1994, will be in the market buying vehicles in large numbers by 2020, based on their life stages.

• These Millennial shoppers are more than twice as likely as other generation shoppers to use social media and blogs for shopping.

• Digital research has a greater impact (46% of shoppers indicate it  has a large impact) on make/model purchased in comparison to the price paid (39%)

• For Millennials, digital information has an even greater impact across the board in determining their selection of make/model; viewing pricing; selecting a dealer and choosing a lender.

• These younger generation buyers use more kinds of content, particularly photo galleries, interactive 360 views, and payment estimators

• New-vehicle shoppers who read dealer reviews are 6 times more likely to click through to the dealership website (source: cars.com) Continue reading ›

The Politics of Diesel in India are Complicated

Ammar Master

It is never easy to run a government in a socially and economically sensitive society, especially when that government is dependent upon a number of allied partners with diverse and often different viewpoints on almost every issue.

This is the precarious position of India’s government, which is led by Manmohan Singh, United Progressive Alliance (UPA), after his administration decided to implement a number of long overdue reforms including a 14% hike in diesel fuel prices in mid-September.

A multi-party coalition has broken apart after a major partner, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, decided to withdraw its support for the current government. Ms. Banerjee is the same leader who protested against the construction of Tata Motors’ Nano car plant in her home state of West Bengal, which forced the automaker to abandon its production plans in the state.

Admittedly, Ms. Banerjee is not alone in this latest disagreement. Several other opposition parties have also criticized the government for its decision to not only increase the price of diesel, but also to allow foreign direct investment in the retail sector. On the streets, opposition parties and trade unions have protested across India against the government. Schools were shut, while road and rail transport were disrupted in several areas. Continue reading ›

Lower Monthly Payments, Easier Financing Terms Boost New Vehicle Deals

Thomas King

More new-vehicle buyers are financing their purchases as car prices continue to rise. This year through August, well over one-half (59%) of new-vehicle buyers took out a loan, which is up from 53% in 2007, according to our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data.

Through August this year, the average monthly loan payment on a car fell to $462, which is down from 5 years ago (2007), when the average monthly payment was $483. Yet, the average new-vehicle transaction price has risen to $28,096 this year. Five years ago, PIN data recorded an average new-vehicle transaction price of $26,558. This represents an increase of almost 6%.

Leasing, which also has become more affordable as the cost of borrowing falls, accounted for more than one-fifth, or 21%, of transactions through August this year, up slightly from 20% in 2007. Our expectation is that the lease mix will be similar to current levels into 2013. However, since overall retail demand is expected to rise, so will the number of lease sales. In addition, we anticipate that fleet volumes will increase heading into 2013. Continue reading ›

Green Doesn’t Seem to Sell BEVs

Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Vehicle owners are well aware that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) such as the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus BEV and Honda Fit EV are green and eco-friendly, but green sentiment and “green habits” don’t seem to impact consideration and eventually purchase of a BEV, according to findings in our latest U.S. BEV Market Study.

We see that consideration rates for purchasing BEVs are nearly the same among owners who indicate they already conserve and recycle (44%) vs. those owners who say they are just beginning to take some kind of eco-friendly action (43%). The consideration rate is slightly lower for those owners who are exploring ways to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve resources, but say they have not taken any specific action (39%).

As for intent to purchase, we also find from our study results that only 3% of vehicle owners who indicate they “strongly agree” or even “somewhat agree” that they would pay extra for green or eco-friendly products, indicate that their next vehicle will likely have a battery electric powertrain. This is only 1 point higher than the percentage of owners who are likely to buy a BEV, but are basically indifferent to green products (2%). Continue reading ›

The Premium Facebook Page

Jeremy Detgen

In the past, there has been a great deal of critical discussion around the value of social media for premium auto brands, but many dissenters are coming around. Questions have been asked: Does it ruin the exclusivity of the brand? Does it make the brand image weaker, or even less premium?

To answer the call, the űber-premium brand Bugatti has utilized social media to grow its brand image, while still maintaining the exclusive, elite brand image that goes along with its name. If high-end automaker Bugatti, which is now owned by the Volkswagen Group, understands the value of social media, then more mainstream premium brands can surely learn a lesson.

Prior to launching their numerous social media pages, Bugatti took note that around 150 sites were already referencing Bugatti due to enthusiast support (Greenberg, MediaPost). This kind of coverage shows a demand for conversation about Bugatti’s products in the social media space. Continue reading ›