Entering International Markets: Analysis, Partnerships, Different Strategies

Automotive marketers tend to have a U.S.-centric focus in developing plans and programs even though many are working for multinationals operating in a global economy, according to a panel of auto marketers who presented some international strategies and who discussed what they have learned about international marketing at the recent 2012 J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV.

It’s important that a company be very selective when choosing new international markets for entry, which requires conducting analysis to find where good markets are; evaluating the value proposition for each region; and finding partners that your company can work with who understand the culture of that market.

Panelists from four independent automotive websites and a multi-franchise automaker also said it’s crucial to tailor the marketing message to the particular market you are entering, rather than just translating your current marketing message to another language. Continue reading ›

Using Social Media to Understand the Driving Experience

Jeremy Detgen

For decades, J.D. Power and Associates has been helping clients understand “what drives customer satisfaction” through its key automotive studies such as the Initial Quality Study ( IQS), Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI), and Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), among others. Integrating social media research with traditional research can help provide a more complete picture by diving deeper into the “why?” according to Bill Tuohig, senior director, Social Media and Text Analytics at J.D. Power.

Focusing on the automotive sector, Tuohig summarized at the recent Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas some details of how social media can help marketers better understand the driving experience.

Recently, Tuohig’s group conducted a project to look at the personalized driving experience and, in particular, studied the role of technology during the driver’s experience. Through analysis of 100,000 posts during a full year, J.D. Power focused on information related to the cockpit experience. Continue reading ›

November U.S. Auto Sales Strengthen Each Week this Month

John Humphrey

November is expected to turn in the highest monthly retail selling rate since January 2008, according to a monthly sales forecast update from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. New-vehicle retail sales are projected to reach 931,900 units, which is up 14% from a year ago and translates to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.9 million units, based on analysis of retail transaction data from the first half of the month.* That’s up from last November’s 11.7 million-unit retail pace.

Total sales (retail and fleet) will likely rise 12% from November a year ago to 1.1 million units, which is equal to a sales pace of 15.0 million units—much stronger than last November’s 13.6 million-unit pace and also ahead of the weaker 14.2-million-unit sales pace in October 2012, which was hampered by the Hurricane Sandy storm system on the East Coast. Our update expects fleet sales to hold steady below a 17% share of total sales, which is the same level as October this year, but lower than an 18% share of total sales last November.

Sales continue to grow stronger each week this month, which is good news and likely to indicate that there will be a strong finish to the month and to the 2012 calendar year. We foresee healthy sales in December, as consumers continue to recover from the effects of the hurricane and as the industry revives and leads into its year-end sales events. Continue reading ›

How are Luxury Auto Brands Leveraging Digital Marketing?

Jeremy Detgen

Affluent consumers are harder to reach, but they do show interest in answering questions about how they are allocating their budget, what channels they use, and what content they are viewing, according to a luxury brand auto study summarized by a digital media and marketing official with the mission statement: “Where Influence Meets Affluence.”

Kim Notario, vice president Midwest and National Auto Category for Martini Media, shared results from her company’s 2012 Luxury Auto Brand Study during the recent J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas. Some 381 digital marketing executives participated in the survey that was conducted in July and August of this year. Among those digital executives, the automotive area was well represented.

In overall results, Notario said that the digital spend for luxury advertisers occurs at a lower percentage than the mass market—31% compared with 37%. For the auto industry, the digital marketers said they use a multi-channel approach (video, mobile and social). Notario pointed out that there has been a shift away from television as a primary channel. Continue reading ›

Understanding Consumers from a Traditional, Digital, and Mobile Perspective

Jeremy Detgen

Defining how consumers engage with media is one way to measure the effectiveness of digital, according to Mike Spadafore, director of Analytics and Solution Development for Acxiom Corp., a technology and marketing services company based in Little Rock, AR. Spadafore described consumer engagement in terms of viewer usage habits and media consumption during his presentation at the recent J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas.

Using data from Acxiom and partner BIGinsight, a consumer information portal, Spadafore said his group has assessed media usage with scores from Passive to Active and Tethered to Mobile. For example, he said that watching television at home is passive and very tethered. In comparison, when a consumer is looking at vehicle information at the dealership, media usage is active and mobile. Continue reading ›

Enterprise Earns Highest Rental Car Satisfaction Scores

Enterprise ranks highest in customer satisfaction among rental car companies, and receives an overall satisfaction index of 804 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to the recent J.D. Power and Associates 2012 North America Rental Car Satisfaction Study.SM

The privately-held St. Louis, MO, based rental car company performs well across all six factors evaluated in . . . Continue Reading Enterprise Earns Highest Rental Car Satisfaction Scores

EV Battery Life, Range Anxiety Remain Concerns for Consumers

There still is anxiety among consumers about the cost and lifespan of electric vehicle (EV) batteries, the infrastructure needed to charge EVs, and the vehicle’s driving range, according to our 2012 Electric Vehicle Ownership Experience Study. Automakers need to continue to address these issues and educate consumers about the benefits of EV technologies in order to gain momentum in the marketplace.

Driving range and the availability of charging stations are the top concerns among consumers considering an EV for their next vehicle purchase. The study finds 12% of EV intenders worry about driving range. Yet, current EV owners indicate that their daily commute averages just 34 miles, which is well within the range of a fully charged EV. Continue reading ›

Utilities Need to Promote their Special Rate EV Charging Plans

Jeff Conklin

Nearly one-third (31%) of EV owners indicate that they are on a plan with their utility that offers lower-priced charging during off-peak hours, or they indicate having a special EV plan with a separate meter. Some also pay a flat fee per month to charge their EV, according to the 2012 . . . Continue Reading Utilities Need to Promote their Special Rate EV Charging Plans

J.D. Power Focuses on the West at LA Auto Conference

Stephanie Haina

Learn about the latest trends in the auto industry—especially in the Western region of the United States—and also gain industry insights from major automaker executives as well as members of the social media community at this year’s NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at the Biltmore Hotel in . . . Continue Reading J.D. Power Focuses on the West at LA Auto Conference

One-Third of EV Owners Still Use Standard Outlet to Recharge

Neal Oddes

Nearly all electric vehicle (EV) owners charge their vehicle at home, according to our 2012 Electric Vehicle Ownership Experience Study. One-third of these EV owners elect to use a standard 120-volt outlet to charge their vehicle rather than install a special home-charging station, which can recharge an electric vehicle much faster than the home outlet.

In fact, a 240-volt charging station not only charges a vehicle in half the time it takes when using a standard outlet, but also provides the owner with the capability to leverage lower off-peak electricity rates from their utility.

Our study finds that 43% of owners received their charging station for free. Among those EV owners who elect to have a 240-volt charging station placed in their home, the payment averages $1,500 for equipment, installation and inspection. In addition, there is a monthly payment for the electricity used. Among those owners who do pay to have a charging station installed at home, the cost of the device, installation and inspection are recouped through fuel savings in the first year of ownership. Continue reading ›