December and Calendar 2012 Finish Year with Encouraging Sales Numbers

Dealer LotThe 2012 calendar year finished on a resilient if not strong note with double-digit gains from 2011 for retail and even fleet sales. Despite a slightly slower pace at the end of the month, which may have been stalled by the down-to-the-wire “fiscal cliff” negotiations, nearly all multi-franchise automakers sold more new vehicles in December in the United States than in the previous year, according to analysis by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. Total sales for 2012 also finished with double-digit gains from 2011.

Some final highlights for December and the 2012 calendar year:

For Calendar Year 2012:

• Total light-vehicle sales in the U.S. market finished 2012 at 14.46 million units, which is 13.5% above sales of 12.75 million units in 2011.

• 2012 retail deliveries reached 11.73 million units, up 13.6% from 2011 on a selling-day-adjusted basis.

• Fleet sales were slightly less robust in 2012—increasing by 12.8% from 2011. Continue reading ›

Compact Car and Large Pickup Deliveries Boost August U.S. Auto Sales

Compacts were popular choices for new-vehicle buyers in the U.S. market in August, due in part to the rise in gas prices—topping $4 per gallon on the West Coast. Car and light-truck sales in August rose 15.5% from a year ago, to 1.283 million units on a selling-day-adjusted basis,* according to analysis by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.**

New car buyers continued to replace their older vehicles with new fuel-efficient compact models that included more purchases and leases of cars with alternative powertrains. At the same time, more large pickups were purchased than a year ago, which a Ford economist said may align with the fact that housing values moved in a positive direction recently compared to 2010 (based on the latest S&P Case Schiller index).

Continue reading ›

Mini Car Competition Intensifies in India

The introduction of Hyundai’s all-new small car, the Eon, which was previously known by its code HA H800, will heat up the mini car battle in India. The Eon is expected to be a strong challenger to market leader Maruti Suzuki’s Alto. The Eon, an entry-level hatchback aimed at capturing first-time car buyers in India, was developed over 4 years at a cost of INR 9.56 billion (US $181 million).

In order to meet the requirements of car buyers in this growth market, Hyundai Motor’s research and development team in Hyderabad worked with Hyundai’s engineers in South Korea to design and develop the Eon exclusively for India. The result is a model that is stylishly designed and promises fuel economy of 21 kilometers per liter (equivalent to 13.05 miles per liter or about 79.38 miles per gallon)under test conditions. Powered by an 814 cc 3-cylinder gasoline engine, the Eon is also competitively priced from INR 285,309 (US $5,400) for the base model Eon D-Lite to INR 396,262 (US $7,500) for the top-end Sportz version, which has additional features such as keyless entry and a driver air bag. Continue reading ›

New-Vehicle Appeal in Competitive China Market Sets a Record

Dr. Mei Songlin

Major improvements by both domestic and international brands in China’s competitive auto market, along with the introduction of 54 new and redesigned models during the past two years, have helped advance overall new-vehicle appeal among China’s new-vehicle buyers to 825 (on a 1,000-point scale), which sets a record high and is 17 points above last year’s 808 index, according to our 2011 China Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

China’s auto market continues to be the powerhouse of sales growth for most automakers globally, with passenger-vehicle sales projected to reach 12.9 million units by the end of 2011. J.D. Power’s 2011 China APEAL Study, which is based on evaluations from more than 17,459 new-vehicle buyers in 37 major cities across China, provides a comprehensive review and update of some of the major changes related to the appeal of models and brands and the evolution of tastes and preferences of China’s consumers. Continue reading ›

More Electric and “Green” Entries are Added to Automaker Lineups

Although green entries did not get all the attention at this year’s L.A. Auto Show  this past week, a number of automakers featured fuel-efficient models. A few observations after the press previews and the show:

Honda remains a green leader and promoted its electric vehicle (EV) capabilities at the L.A. Auto Show. In addition to showing its new 2012 CR-V with better fuel efficiency, one of California’s best-selling automakers debuted an all-electric Fit subcompact for 2013. The new EV comes in a 5-door, 5-passenger package and can be recharged using a 240-volt charger in less than 3 hours. The Fit EV can be leased from Honda for $399 per month. Some 1,000 EV demos will be placed on the road this year in a pilot program involving the city of Torrance, CA, Stanford University and Google. On another green note, Honda’s Civic Natural Gas model was named “2012 Green Car of the Year” by the Green Car Journal. Continue reading ›