S&P Chief Economist, J.D. Power Executive Offer Cautious but Positive Outlooks

Two experts from Standard & Poor’s and J.D. Power offered cautiously positive outlooks for the U.S. economy and for the U.S. auto industry to some 300 auto dealers and industry participants during the recent Western Automotive Conference, sponsored by J.D. Power and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. chief economist for Standard & Poor’s, said that the U.S. is in its fourth year of recovery with an average growth rate of 2%. On a global level, she cited challenges to be faced including a slowdown in China, the remaining effects of the debt crisis in the Eurozone, and spikes in global oil prices.

In addressing current conditions in the U.S., Bovino said the Fed is focusing on creating jobs and is offering incentives for businesses to invest and hire, which will lead to higher growth. She said there has been robust demand and hiring in the private sector in spite of shocks. Continue reading ›

U.S. Auto Sales Climb in November as Total Pace Surpasses 16 Million Units

John Humphrey

John Humphrey

Through the first half of November 2013, sales returned to a stronger pace than in September and October—which were hampered by negative external factors, including the U.S. government shutdown in October and the pull forward of Labor Day sales with two less selling days in September—according to an auto sales forecast update from J.D. Power and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

Retail new-vehicle deliveries in November are expected to reach 1.03 million units—up 4% from November 2012 on a selling-day adjusted basis*. This figure translates to a 13.0 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR), which is higher than the year-to-date level of 12.8 million units.

Fleet sales on a selling-day adjusted basis are expected to account for 16% of the sales mix in November, which is 3% lower than a year ago and consistent with the low fleet share that has held throughout 2013. Continue reading ›

Experts Discuss how Millennials Consume Content, Shop Differently

AMR 2013 audienceReaching millennial consumers is a key focus for marketers in the auto industry, and was a key topic during presentations and panel discussions at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV. A few highlights from a few sessions with panelists and presenters that addressed millennial consumers are presented.

“Let’s talk about millennials. . . They won’t get cable. They don’t have any money. They’re entitled. They want to do their own thing. They’re a completely digital first generation.”—Mike Shields, digital editor of AdWeek

How Different are their Media Consumption Habits?

“My team at Microsoft—80% of them are millennials—it’s an on-demand environment. They want to consume a lot of content at the same time. They can do it better than any other group. Some 83% are using a second screen and multi-tasking. . .You have to make sure you have something there to complement what they are consuming on TV.”—Randy Shaffer, director, Xbox West Sales, Microsoft

“We see ‘fanboys’ consuming media voraciously across all platforms. They go to five movies a month. They’re watching two more hours of television—on demand—than their own peer set. They’re consuming a ton of web video. In the case of gamers, they are willing to pay for content. They’ve been paying for $60 games for a very long time. . . You need to figure out how to present it to them. They will steal it first if they have to. But, if it’s good, they are willing to pay for it—that’s proven in gaming, premium video and web video content as well.”—Jay Sampson, executive vice president, sales and operations, Machinima Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Expert Outlines Key Forces behind U.S. Sales Growth

Deirdre Borrego presents auto industry outlook at J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable “The U.S. auto industry has enjoyed remarkable revenue growth this year,” Deirdre Borrego, J.D. Power vice president of client services, said during a presentation at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. “From a consumer standpoint,” she said, “there are specific market forces that have kept sales strong and transaction prices high.” Borrego pointed to four key drivers:

• Long-term loans are a key enabler. Nearly one in three 2013 sales to date was facilitated by a loan of 72 months or longer. Extended terms, combined with. . .

• . . . Low interest rates have allowed consumers to buy a richer mix of vehicles while keeping their monthly payment within their household budget.

• Strong residuals enable manufacturers to offer attractive leases to consumers, again with desirable monthly payments.

• Tight used-vehicle supply is another key factor. The average price of a used vehicle increased by roughly $3,000 since 2008 to reach $18,800 so far this year. This drives stronger in-equity positions for existing owners, improving purchasing power or removing barriers to entry. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Expert Profiles U.S. Auto Market Sales Trends

 J.D. Power’s Deirdre Borrego, vice president, U.S. Client Services, spoke to industry participants at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV. about the U.S. auto market’s recovery and the fundamentals in the market that are driving strong demand.

Highlights from her talk include analysis from the Power Information Network® (PIN) and J.D. Power’s strategic partner LMC Automotive:

• Retail sales to individual consumers in 2013 are expected to reach 12.8 million units which is back to pre-recession levels.

• The real story isn’t just about sales growth. It’s also about transaction price growth. We’ve seen exceptional performance with prices (consumer facing prices net incentives) increasing by about $3,000. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Roundtable Speaker Defines “Connected Auto Consumers”

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker

Today’s digital lifestyle has a growing impact on the auto industry. Understanding how consumers who are in the market for a vehicle are “using digital information and how they are connected,” was a key focus in speeches and discussions at the recent J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power, introduced the October conference with highlights of trends in automotive Internet usage based on J.D. Power research. She also spoke about the rise in digital media consumption and identified how different devices—smartphones and tablets—are being used to gather information mostly at home, but also on the go—smartphones are also used for auto shopping on the dealer lot. Walker also discussed trends in content with social media and video and how traditional companies are reformulating automotive content in new ways. Continue reading ›

October Sales Rebound after Damper Caused by U.S. Government Shutdown

John Humphrey

John Humphrey

Although the U.S. government shutdown (October 1-16) held back retail new-vehicle sales during the first half of October, the overall pace for the month remains ahead of the average for the year, according to a monthly forecast update from J.D. Power and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

Both retail and total (including fleet) new-vehicle sales are expected to rise 8% from the same month in 2012 on a selling-day basis.*

Retail sales in October are projected to reach 1.017 million units—up 8% from October 2012, based on transaction data collected during the first 17 selling days of the month. That translates to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.8 million units vs. the year-to-date pace of 12.7 million.

During the first two weeks of October, retail sales edged up only 1.6% from the same October period in 2012, but they increased 7.7% in the third week of the month. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power’s King Discusses U.S. Auto Market Shifts at Joint Conference

Thomas King Speaking at S&P ConferenceJ.D. Power’s Thomas King, senior director, Power Information Network® (PIN), recently shared insights on changes in new-vehicle demand in the U.S. market at the Standard & Poor’s/J.D. Power Auto Industry Hot Topics Conference in New York.

Analysts from S&P, J.D. Power, and strategic partner LMC Automotive, presented their views and analysis of the current and future state of the U.S. and global auto industry to an audience of more than 160 Wall Street analysts and reporters. Continue reading ›

A J.D. Power Perspective on Ford’s Dramatic Sales Climb in China

Tim Dunne

Tim Dunne

Although Ford is somewhat of a late bloomer in the China auto market, the Detroit-based automaker is set to outpace major Japanese competitors such as Toyota and Honda Groups in passenger-vehicle sales in the China market this year, according to media reports. The major U.S. automaker still is behind General Motors and Volkswagen Group auto sales in the China market.

A Ford official told Reuters that it is possible the company will sell more than 900,000 units in 2013—including both passenger cars and commercial vehicles—in the world’s largest auto market, mainly due to a stronger product lineup. Small SUVs, including the Ford EcoSport and Kuga, have sold well and a redesigned Focus has been on sale since last year. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power’s Dunne Discusses Global Green Move and Automotive Engineering

Tim Dunne

Tim Dunne

Reducing and even eliminating harmful exhaust emissions from cars and trucks and improving average fuel economy for vehicle fleets remain key challenges for global automakers, according to a recent J.D. Power paper, “The Changing Landscape of the Global Automotive Industry; A Global Shift in the Balance of Power.”

 Tim Dunne, director of global automotive industry analysis at J.D. Power, discusses some of the changes in the powertrains and architecture of future vehicles that are in process and are projected in the future as part of a global automotive industry paper that has been published in several Standard & Poor’s publications. Continue reading ›