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 U.S. Auto Sales Revive after U.S. Government Shutdown

Cars on LotDespite the disruption of the 16-day U.S. government shutdown (Oct. 1 – 16), new-vehicle sales climbed in the second half of the month for nearly all automakers. More than 1.205 million new vehicles were delivered in October, according to J.D. Power and its strategic partner LMC Automotive.

October total sales were up 6.4% from October 2012 on a selling-day adjusted basis (there was one more selling day in October 2013 than in October 2012*). However, deliveries were down 9.7% from September 2013. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) translated to 15.2 million units—a million units stronger than last October’s 14.2 million pace, but slightly below the 15.3 million unit rate in September of this year.

Positive factors that benefited new-vehicle sales in October included declining average gas prices at the pump; continued availability of credit for financing and leasing vehicles—including low interest rates; and a slow but continuing recovery in commercial industries where trucks are needed—such as the energy and housing sectors. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power’s Roundtable Auto Exec Speakers Define New Marketing Strategies

Taking risks in marketing automotive products and basing strategies on rich data to broadcast content across many platforms were just two themes highlighted during speeches, panel discussions and presentations by automotive, marketing and digital experts at this week’s J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) held at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Oct. 15-17 conference and networking event was attended by nearly 1,500 auto industry members, including OEM, dealership, search engine, and third-party website leaders. Some 40 corporations, led by Dealer.com and BrightRoll, along with companies such as eBay Motors, Cars.com, Nielsen, Pandora and LinkedIn, helped sponsor the annual comprehensive and future-driven conference. 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 ›

Superior Website Experience in China Boosts Test Drive, Purchase Intent

Dr. Mei Songlin

Dr. Mei Songlin

When new-vehicle shoppers in China have a satisfying experience using a manufacturer’s website for research, there is a higher chance that they will take a test drive and purchase a particular brand vehicle, according to the 2013 China Brand Website Evaluation Study (BWES).

The inaugural online study measures the usefulness of automaker websites at the brand level during the new-vehicle shopping process, based on four key factors (in order of weight or importance): information and content (27%); appearance (25%); speed (24%); and navigation (23%). All scores in this study are based on a 1,000-point scale.

China New-Vehicle Buyers More Satisfied with Website Speed

Speed achieves the highest satisfaction score (730) among the four factors measured, while information and content receives the lowest score (720). We observe that new-vehicle shoppers indicate a strong need for sufficient information related to entertainment systems and fuel efficiency. 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 ›

What Dealers, OEMs Can Do to Offset Sluggish Market in India

MohitArora

Mohit Arora

A slowing economy in India is creating more pressure on the country’s auto industry. In light of dimmer economic conditions, Mohit Arora, director and country manager at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, discussed the outlook for India’s dealerships and auto sales in a column in India’s Businessworld magazine. Excerpts from the column titled “Is it All Doom and Gloom at Car Dealerships?” are highlighted in this post:

Economic Front

A slowdown in GDP growth, industrial production and a decline in the value of the rupee against the U.S. dollar have observers jittery about India’s future growth prospects. Anticipated increasing pressure on inflation from higher fuel costs also is expected to negatively impact household expenses. It’s not surprising, then, that the automotive industry is feeling the pressure, with year-over-year new-vehicle sales down in double digits as fewer consumers visit their local showroom to buy a new vehicle.

What Do Dealers Anticipate?

Recently, we asked more than 600 auto dealers in India about their business and how satisfied they were with the support they were receiving from the manufacturer. The results from the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 India Dealer Satisfaction with Automotive Manufacturers Index  Study (DSWAMI) showed that one in five dealers expected to report a loss in the financial year (2012-2013), which is up from 9% in the previous year. In addition, less than one-half (44%) of dealers anticipated that they would make a profit—down from nearly two-thirds (62%) in the prior year. Continue reading ›

Tesla Plans to Enter China Luxury Car Market Later this Year

Tim Dunne

Tesla is building its first electric car store in Beijing, China, in spite of two major challenges: a very limited charging infrastructure and intense competition in the luxury segment from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

The new Tesla “lifestyle store,” which is slated to open later this year, is located in an exclusive . . . Continue Reading Tesla Plans to Enter China Luxury Car Market Later this Year

Internet Plays a Major Role in Brazil’s New-Vehicle Sales Process

Jon Sederstrom-Final

Jon Sederstrom

New-vehicle shoppers in Brazil rely the most on information from their friends and relatives (45%), followed by research on the Internet (43%), to help them decide which make and model of vehicle to purchase, according to our 2013 Brazil Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.* These two sources are cited more often than traditional information sources such as owners of the same vehicle (27%) or the salesperson or dealership owners (23%), based on our study, which evaluates more than 3,000 online interviews with Brazil’s new-vehicle owners one to seven months after their purchase.

A Little Background about Brazil as an Auto Market

Brazil is the fourth-largest new-vehicle market in the world, behind China, the United States and Japan. The country’s auto market is expected to grow by 3% in 2013 from 2012, when 3.6 million new light vehicles were sold in the country.

In addition to experiencing strong sales and growth, nearly one-half of consumers in Brazil have access to the Internet and nearly 55 million smartphones are in use in the country, which means that information gathered online is becoming a powerful and influential resource for new-vehicle shoppers. Continue reading ›