Tepid September U.S. Sales Impacted by Strong August Deliveries

2013 Ford EscapeSeptember U.S. new car and light-truck sales were expected to be less than stellar after strong August totals that included near-record Labor Day deliveries, according to J.D. Power and media reports. In addition, there were two fewer selling days in September 2013 than in September a year ago, which impacted totals.

New-vehicle sales reached 1.136 million units and were up 4% from the same month a year ago on a selling-day adjusted basis, which matched a monthly forecast update from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. On an unadjusted basis, deliveries were down 4% from last year.

Retail Sales Slip a Fraction of a Point in September

Retail sales finished the month at just under 917,000 units—down slightly from last September (-0.1%) when adjusted for fewer selling days. The September tally represented a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 15.1 million units. Fleet sales improved by 25.5% from a year ago and represented a 3.1 million-unit SAAR. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Expert Offers Insight on the Shift in the Global Automotive Industry

Tim Dunne

The global auto industry is in flux with dramatic changes and growth in emerging markets—especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to J.D. Power’s Tim Dunne, director of global automotive industry analysis.

In a recent paper that has been published in several Standard & Poor’s publications, including CreditWeek®, Dunne discusses some of these changes and provides future forecasts and an outlook for the industry in terms of auto production, changes in technology and engineering, and the impact of these changes on the environment and the economy.

A few highlights about the Asia-Pacific market are excerpted from “The Changing Landscape of the Global Automotive Industry; A Global Shift in the Balance of Power:”

• In 2013, LMC Automotive (J.D. Power’s strategic partner) expects the Asia-Pacific region to account for 36 million light-vehicle sales, representing 43% of the world’s total. Continue reading ›

Service Customers in Taiwan Expect Cost Estimate and Follow-Up

Taipei, Taiwan.Overall customer satisfaction with the service experience among vehicle owners in Taiwan who visited their dealership or service center improves by 26 points from 2012, to 873 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to our 2013 Taiwan Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study.*

Study findings indicate that when customers in Taiwan drop off their vehicle for service at the dealership, they expect an estimate of charges and when work is completed, they want an explanation of the charges for service.

In 2013, satisfaction improves in each of the five factors measured with a significant advance of 27 points for vehicle pickup followed by 26-point improvements in each of these three factors: service initiation, service advisor, and service facility. Continue reading ›

Luxury Brands in India Must Reinforce a Premium Image During Sales Experience

Mohit Arora

Mohit Arora

The luxury vehicle market in India has grown in recent years, with premium sales reaching 26,000 units in 2013. This number is expected to triple to 84,000 units by 2020, according to our strategic partner LMC Automotive. In addition, an increase in the number of luxury models available in India, coupled with attractive financial options that enhance affordability, has helped the luxury market to grow.

Success, however, brings with it additional challenges for premium brands. Sales growth adds pressure for luxury brands to differentiate themselves from the mass market brands. According to findings in our 2013 India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, overall satisfaction with the sales experience in the luxury segment averages 873 points on a 1,000-point scale. Although the luxury segment average is 31 points higher than the massmarket segment average (842), this index score is not a major differentiator for these brands, based on study results.

The price of luxury vehicles is much higher than the price of mass market vehicles. We see that customers expect luxury brands to provide a truly differentiated experience to enhance the value of ownership of these vehicles. The current network of dealers does not provide the level of differentiation expected to reinforce the premium image of luxury brands among these more demanding customers. Continue reading ›

September U.S. Sales are Slightly Weaker after Strong Labor Day Finish

HumphreyJ

John Humphrey

During the first 10 selling days in September, U.S. new car and light-truck sales were up 4% from a year ago yet were not as robust as in recent months, according to a monthly sales forecast

update from J.D. Power and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

As was expected, more than 248,000 new-vehicle sales during the Labor Day weekend were pulled from September into August tallies, according to the forecast update.

September retail sales are projected to rise just 2% from September 2012, when adjusted for two fewer selling days in September vs. the same month a year ago (23 days in September 2013 vs. 25 days in September 2012). Continue reading ›

Labor Day Sales Events Boost August U.S. Light-Vehicle Delivery Totals

Buyer and Dealership ManagerU.S. new light-vehicle sales in August were more robust than anticipated, mainly due to a heady retail sales finish over the Labor Day weekend. Retail sales even outperformed the accurate monthly forecast from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive, which already had projected one of the strongest sales months in six years.

There was an extra boost from holiday sales, especially on August 31 since Labor Day weekend was counted in August’s sales total as the month ended on a weekend. J.D. Power experts say they are not sure yet how much August sales will pull forward from September results. Total consumer spending on new vehicles in August was the highest on record—reaching $38.5 billion,—mainly due to strong transaction prices and higher sales, according to J.D. Power analysis.

Retail sales in August climbed 17.7% above retail totals in the same month of 2012. The final week of August sales totals (August 26 – Sept. 3) captured nearly 35% of the month’s retail sales volume, according to Dave Cutting, senior manager of North American Forecasting at LMC Automotive. Retail deliveries totaled 1.34 million units and the seasonally adjusted selling pace (SAAR) of 13.8 million was the highest since 2006. Continue reading ›

Over Half of Gen Y Shoppers Who Use the Web are Open to Any Vehicle Brand

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

One-half of all new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet in their shopping process (AIUs) are open to considering any vehicle brand at the beginning of their research experience. In addition, that percentage is even higher (54%) among Gen Y AIUs, according to our 2013 New Autoshopper Study.*

We see that close to one-half (47%) of Gen Y AIUs use smartphones in their shopping process—the most of any age demographic, which indicates how important it is for brands and websites to put these younger buyers into their marketing equations. The share of new-vehicle buyers in Gen Y is increasing at the greatest rate among all buyers and is projected to comprise 23% of all 2013 retail sales.

Automakers have a terrific opportunity to influence younger buyers during their shopping process, which averages about four months, particularly since they are quite open to considering different brands as they begin their new-vehicle research. In addition, the digital presence of the brand through mobile advertising and by providing content across mobile-accessible sites may be a great way to reach Gen Y buyers, since we see almost half that use a smartphone during the shopping process. Continue reading ›

Local Brands in China Rise on Intender Lists; European Brands Remain Popular

China customers online 80410767Nearly one-third (31%) of consumers in China who intend to purchase a new vehicle consider purchasing a European model, although the percentage of consumers who intend to purchase a new domestic brand vehicle has increased significantly, primarily due to the inclusion of consumers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, according to the 2013 China New-Vehicle Intender Study (NVIS).

The percentage of these intenders who, in the next 12 months, would consider purchasing a Chinese domestic model has climbed to 27% this year from 20% in 2012. China’s domestic brands are especially popular among consumers in Tier 2 (28%) and Tier 3 (42%) cities. In contrast, only 16% of consumers in Tier 1 cities consider purchasing a local model in China because these consumers perceive that Chinese domestic brands do not accurately reflect their social status, the study finds. Continue reading ›

August U.S. New-Vehicle Sales Move Ahead with Gusto

AIS04 car shopperAugust was another month of stellar new-vehicle sales in the U.S. auto industry. In early reports, all three Detroit-based automakers celebrated double-digit gains at the end of a month that was capped off by the Labor Day sales weekend. The three major Japanese automakers posted even stronger double-digit increases than their U.S. rivals. Nearly all multi-franchise automakers reported better sales in August this year vs. 2012.

Consumers continued to replace their aging vehicles—averaging 11 years old—at a healthy pace that matches a monthly forecast update from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. Easier credit terms, including long-term loans and more reasonable lease deals, helped spur sales.

Total sales (retail and fleet) reached 1.5 million units for a selling-day adjusted increase of 12.7% from August 2012—the highest unit sales volume since May 2007. J.D. Power projected that the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) would surpass 16 million, which it did.
Continue reading ›

Clean Diesel Makes Inroads in the U.S.; Sees Slowdown in Europe

Tim_Dunne

Tim Dunne

As clean diesel powertrains become more prevalent and popular in the U.S. market, especially in VW and Audi brand product lineups sold here, it appears that diesels are becoming less attractive in the world’s largest diesel market: Europe, according to a recent article, “Are Diesel Cars in Europe Starting a Long Slow Decline?” in Green Car Reports as well as J.D. Power research.

The current reduction in diesels in Europe may be mainly due to new regulations that have been passed by the EU and/or are being considered in individual European countries.

As recently as 2012, the diesel share in the European market was 46.0%, according to Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrain at LMC Automotive, J.D. Power’s strategic partner. In 2013, LMC Automotive projects the diesel share to edge down by slightly more than 1 percentage point to 44.9%, and the outlook for 2014 is for a 44.0% diesel share in Europe—down 2 points from 2012. Continue reading ›