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 ›

Initial Quality in Malaysia Advances for Fourth Straight Year

Malaysia, PenangFor a fourth consecutive year, overall new-vehicle initial quality in Malaysia improves significantly, according to the 2013 Malaysia Initial Quality Study (IQS), based on responses from more than 3,100 new-vehicle buyers during the first two to six months of ownership.*

The 2013 Malaysia IQS findings are encouraging because the automotive market in Malaysia is becoming increasingly competitive with a rising number of new models, which makes it essential for brands to produce high-quality cars and trucks. Continue reading ›

Satisfaction Surges if Dealers Use Mobile Devices to Enhance Sales Process

Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton

Satisfaction is highest among new-vehicle buyers who are presented with pricing/payment options on a computer screen or a tablet (833 on a 1,000-point scale) during the sales process, according to our 2013 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which is based on responses from 29,040 new-vehicle buyers or lessees, who completed their transaction in April or May 2013.

Using technology continues to make a major difference in enhancing the buyer’s or lessee’s sales experience at the dealership. Specifically, when a dealership salesperson uses a tablet device during the sales process with new-vehicle buyers, satisfaction is 52 points higher on average (844) than when a salesperson does not use a tablet during the sales experience (792). Satisfaction with a salesperson using a computer printout (820) receives the next highest score, followed by verbal price quotes (792); and lastly, written figures (780).

Our 2013 U.S. SSI Study finds that tablets are proving to be particularly versatile and effective tools and may help maintain consistency during the sales process, while providing accessible and dynamic product information. Yet, we also see that tablet usage among dealership salespeople remains relatively limited—only 10% of dealership salespeople use these devices. On a positive note, that’s still up from 7% in 2012. 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 ›

Small- and Large-Vehicle Segments Poised for Stronger Growth in 2013

Most of the 27 light-vehicle segments in the U.S. auto market achieved year-to-date sales gains through the first three quarters of 2013, according to analysis from J.D. Power and its strategic partner LMC Automotive. Large pickups advanced the most in the first three quarters—sales climbed 19.95% from last year’s same period. Compact crossovers (CUVs) . . . Continue Reading Small- and Large-Vehicle Segments Poised for Stronger Growth in 2013

Large Pickup Truck Demand Comes Back; Compacts Remain Strong Sellers

2014 F-150Consumer demand for large trucks and compact crossovers (CUVs) continues to surge in the U.S. market. The Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado are ubiquitous best sellers in the U.S. market through the first nine months of 2013, according to data analyzed by J.D. Power and strategic partner LMC Automotive. Two compact CUVs—the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape—also rank among the 10 best-sellers. Overall, one of eight vehicles purchased in the first nine months this year is a compact CUV or a large pickup.

Both the F-150 and Silverado large pickups outpaced the industry with combined gains soaring 21% to reach nearly 898,400 units—up some 155,000 units from the same period in 2012. Practically a stand-alone brand, the F-Series has been the best-selling model in the U.S. market for 31 straight years. More than 537,605 light- and heavy-duty F-Series trucks were delivered in the first three quarters of 2013—up 92,471 units from a year ago. The redesigned Silverado also saw sales surge by 62,575 units, to 360,775 units year-to-date. Continue reading ›

Super Premium Model Sales Surge 18% in First Nine Months of 2013

The ultra-luxury niche segment that J.D. Power calls super premium recorded a significant 18% increase in sales during the first nine months of 2013. Fiat-Chrysler Group’s Maserati brand sold the most units among the eight premium brands included in this market segment. Maserati sales rose to 2,261 units, up from 1,984 in the same . . . Continue Reading Super Premium Model Sales Surge 18% in First Nine Months of 2013

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 ›

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 ›