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 ›

After-Sale Service Satisfaction Rises in Indonesia; Ford Ranks Highest in CSI

Road in Jakarta, IndonesiaOverall customer satisfaction with the after-sale service experience in Indonesia improves by 15 points from 2012, to an average of 755 (based on a 1,000-point scale), according to the 2013 Indonesia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. The largest advances come in two of five factors* evaluated—satisfaction with service initiation and service advisor.

The improvement in after-sale service satisfaction is noteworthy as there has been sales growth in the country during the past few years, which makes it critical to continue to manage customer expectations. Light-vehicle deliveries in 2013 are expected to increase by about 10% (to 1.1 million units) from 2012, based on a forecast from strategic partner LMC Automotive. 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 ›

Premium Brands Earn Higher APEAL Scores; Land Rover Range Rover Ranks Highest

David Amodeo

David Amodeo

A new feature of our redesigned 2013 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study is the division and ranking of APEAL performance into two major categories: Premium and Non-Premium Brands.

At the industry level, the APEAL score averages 795 points on a 1,000-point scale. With our change in segment designations, the Premium segment average is 844 points and the Non-Premium segment average is 786.

As it has for the past nine years, Porsche leads all brands in the nameplate rankings and earns a score of 884 points, which also means it ranks highest in the Premium category. Rounding out the top five premium brands are, respectively: Audi (857); BMW (854); and Land Rover (853), followed by Lexus and Mercedes-Benz in a tie (847). The highest-ranking domestic premium brand in the study is Cadillac at No. 7.

In the Non-Premium segment, for the first time, Chrysler Group’s Ram nameplate is the most appealing brand with a score of 817. Ram is followed by Volkswagen (809); MINI (801); Buick (800) and Kia (797) in the Non-Premium category. All of these mass-market brands receive scores that are above the industry average of 795 points. Continue reading ›

Chevrolet Achieves First-Half Global Sales Record

General Motors’ flagship Chevrolet brand this week said it delivered a record 2.5 million new vehicles worldwide in the first half of 2013—up a slight 1.4% vs. the same six-month period in 2012. Total deliveries for all GM brands in the first half were up nearly 4% from last year’s same period to 4.85 million units, from 4.67 million units a year ago.

2013 Chevrolet Spark

2013 Chevrolet Spark

Chevrolet sales topped 1.02 million units in the U.S. market—a 5.6% gain from last year, with a combined 25% increase in demand for the mass-market brand’s smaller models, including—Sonic, Spark, Cruze and Volt plug-in hybrid. Large truck sales also rose in double digits.

J.D. Power data from the Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive indicates that Chevrolet’s U.S. deliveries on a selling-day adjusted basis rose 8.7% in the first half from last year, which was slightly ahead of the industry’s 8.4% increase. The brand’s share in the U.S. market edged up to 18.17% from 18.15% a year ago. Five of Chevrolet’s models ranked among the 20 best-sellers—respectively, include: the Silverado, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu and Impala. Continue reading ›

Chevrolet Dominates in Model Segment-Level IQS Rankings

General Motors models receive the most segment awards for initial quality in the J.D. Power 2013 Initial Quality Study (IQS). The Detroit-based automaker’s Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac and GMC nameplates altogether produce 8 of the 26 model-level segment award winners. The next brands with the most problem-free models at the segment level are manufactured by . . . Continue Reading Chevrolet Dominates in Model Segment-Level IQS Rankings

Porsche Earns Highest IQS Ranking; GMC and Chevrolet Make Top Five

Porsche, the luxury brand that is part of Germany’s Volkswagen Group, ranks highest in initial quality among all nameplates included in the J.D. Power 2013 Initial Quality Study. This year, the German premium sporty brand averages 80 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).

Following Porsche in the initial quality rankings this year is GMC, the . . . Continue Reading Porsche Earns Highest IQS Ranking; GMC and Chevrolet Make Top Five

First-Quarter Passenger-Vehicle Sales in China—Better than Expected

China-02China’s passenger-vehicle sales ended the first quarter with a double-digit gain from the same quarter a year ago, mainly due to new product launches, increases in luxury or premium brand sales, in addition to dealer incentives, based on analysis and data from J.D. Power’s strategic partner LMC Automotive.

A 14% gain in passenger-vehicle sales to 1.43 million units during March bolstered first-quarter totals. First-quarter light-vehicle sales in China rose by 15% from the same period in 2012 to 5.44 million units.

SUVs and Luxury Cars Create Enthusiasm in China Market

The best-performing segment in China during the quarter was the SUV segment, which saw sales surge by 43% from the same quarter in 2012. New product launches added momentum to demand in this category. Continue reading ›

Mary Ann Keller Says the Franchise System is Here to Stay

Mary Ann Keller speaks about the franchise system at the New York Automotive ForumThe franchise system remains strong and in place in most states despite attempts over the years to dismantle these laws with start-ups of factory-owned stores to change the model, according to Mary Ann Keller, independent automotive consultant and auto business writer and former investment analyst and director on several auto company and dealership boards. Keller presented her thoughts about the franchise system in the U.S. market to auto industry members during the New York Automotive Forum that was co-sponsored by J.D. Power and Associates and the National Automotive Dealership Association (NADA).

Keller’s speech is excerpted:

A Little History about Corporations Trying to Change the Franchise Network

One myth promulgated in the 1990s has now resurfaced. Tesla wants to open factory stores to save money by reducing distribution expenses, which they estimate to be 30% of total expense—that percentage is nonsense.

Remember Ford’s ill-fated Auto Collection experiment? It proved conclusively as told to me by a retired Ford executive last week that corporate guys are not risk takers and they lack the entrepreneurial spirit that is required to manage dealerships.

Big corporations control from the top. Selling cars requires street smarts and adapting to local market conditions and competition. After a couple of years, Ford ended its experiment after its market share losses were too painful and there was mounting evidence that factory stores did not deliver customer satisfaction or reduce costs. Continue reading ›

GM’s JV Brands Set March and First-Quarter Sales Records in China

GM-China-HQGeneral Motors and its joint venture operations in China set all-time sales records in the largest passenger-vehicle market during March and through the first quarter of 2013, according to the company. March deliveries rose nearly 13% from a year ago to 290,538 unit sales. It was the second-highest monthly sales tally in GM’s history in China. Its first-quarter total sales in China also rose nearly 10% from last year to 816,373 units.

In related news, GM also outsold Volkswagen Group in China for the first time in the past three quarters, thanks to increased demand for Buick vehicles, according to news reports. China’s auto manufacturers group said that VW’s growth surpassed the overall passenger-vehicle market in China during the first quarter but its increase in March was not as strong. Continue reading ›