Sub-Compacts, Compacts Gain Momentum and Share in US Market

Grace Hamulic

Fuel-efficient, smaller vehicles are moving off U.S. retailer lots much faster in the first two months of this year compared with the same time period in 2011, due in part to the rise in prices at the gas pump—averaging more than $3.80 per gallon across the country.*

Sub-Compact Conventional vehicles, led by the Nissan Versa, averaged only 36 days on retailer lots before being sold this year, down from an average 92 days in the same period of 2011. Compact Conventional models, led by the best-selling Honda Civic, averaged 42 days before being sold vs. 66 days a year ago, according to our Power Information Network® (PIN) transaction data.

Both categories posted higher year-to-date sales, and together have gained more than 1 point of market share. Combined total (retail and fleet) sales for these two vehicle segments account for slightly less than one-fifth of the U.S. market’s deliveries—19.73% share vs. 18.66% a year ago (+1.07%). Continue reading ›

Frankfurt Auto Show to Feature Green Innovation and Technology

Mike Omotoso

One of the more influential and oldest auto shows in the world is Germany’s Frankfurt International Motor Show, which started in 1897 with just 10 models on display in a Berlin hotel, and now showcases hundreds of automaker production and concept models in an Exhibition Center in Frankfurt am Main and is held every other year. This year’s show, which is the 64th event, features the theme, “Future Comes as Standard.” According to a number of media reports, automakers and exhibitors will be focusing on the elements of consumer technology and green innovation in their introductions and in their concepts.

Press days for the September 15-25 event in Europe begin tomorrow. Some highlights of several significant models and automakers to appear at the show include:

Toyota Extends its Prius Family in Europe and for the US Market

Toyota plans to sell the plug-in version of the Prius hybrid to retail customers in the US starting in early 2012. The Prius plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) will use a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery and will have an all-electric range of 10 to 13 miles. The Prius PHEV can reach 60 mph on electric power only, Toyota claims. The hybrid battery for the Prius PHEV is supplied by Panasonic Electric Vehicle Energy, which is a joint venture company owned by Panasonic and Toyota. In the United States, the Prius PHEV is expected to be priced at about $4,000 more than the conventional Prius gasoline-electric hybrid. The version shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2011 had a 1.8-liter gasoline engine mated to a fuel-efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT). The hybrid battery in the Prius PHEV powers a 50-kW electric motor. Continue reading ›

Honda Receives Most Model-Level Initial Quality Awards in 2011

Jon Sundberg

Honda captures a total of seven model-level initial quality awards—the most of any brand this year, and the most for the Japanese automaker in any given year—according to results of the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). Lexus, which receives four model-level awards, is also the brand with the highest-performing model in the industry—the LS. Chevrolet, Ford and Mercedes-Benz receive two awards each, while Cadillac, Chrysler, Dodge and Mazda each receive one award. Continue reading ›

Tata’s New Aria Crossover May Boost Brand Image

In a recent column, Darius Lam, senior market analyst in the Bangkok, Thailand, office of J.D. Power Asia Pacific, discussed Tata Motors’ evolution into a mature automaker and illustrated the company’s next-generation products with a profile of the recently launched Aria crossover. The Aria, which is Tata’s flagship model, includes major advances in styling . . . Continue Reading Tata’s New Aria Crossover May Boost Brand Image