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 ›

Young Buyers are Attracted to Import Compacts in 2012

2012 Dodge Charger SRT8Import car models—especially compacts—attracted the highest percentages of younger buyers (ages 16-35) in the past calendar year, based on analysis of real-time transaction data from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN).

Unlike 2011, however, one of the 10 models with the highest percentages of young buyers in 2012 was a domestic, full-size model from Fiat-Chrysler—the Dodge Charger. Also, two of the 10 models were compact premium models from the Honda Group—Acura’s new entry-level ILX and the current TSX compact premium conventional models. All three of these new additions to the young buyer list had suggested retail prices that were just above $30,000. Continue reading ›

Western Auto Conference New Media Site Panel Discusses Some Best Practices

During the recent NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference in Los Angeles, the panel of three automotive marketers from Facebook, Google and Microsoft’s Xbox joined a West Coast owner of multiple franchise dealerships who is an innovator with social media, to discuss how companies in industries beyond automotive are reaching consumers and creating best practices. Panelists’ perspectives on current and future business were excerpted in the first post, Western Auto Conference Panel Talks about How New Media Meets Consumers. In this second post, more insight on how companies in other industries are working with new media are excerpted.

Moderator: John Lisko, Executive Communications Director, Saatchi & Saatchi

Panel members:

Doug Frisbie, head of automotive for Facebook

Michelle Morris, Automotive Industry Director, Google, Inc.

Randy Shaffer, Western Regional Sales Manager, Xbox, Microsoft Corp.

Mike Sullivan, Dealer/owner of LAcarGUY Family Group in California*

John: Michelle and Randy, are there other industries outside of automotive with best practices that you can talk about?

Doug: One brand that I think has relevance that is an example of best practices is Samsung USA. They made Facebook a major part—across all channels—of their Galaxy S3 launch earlier this year. First of all, they focused on the pre-launch phase before the phone actually went on sale. They focused on growing their connection to their fan base. They went from about 1 million to 8 million people that they were connected with on Facebook. Right when the phone went on sale, they really leveraged reach. They wanted to tell everyone at that point about the new smartphone that they were launching. After that, they sustained that connection for a period during the post-launch.

Samsung USA really focused on their publishing strategy and made sure that things were locally relevant. They used geo-targeting. They also used some targeting capabilities that enabled them to reach specific device owners. They were able to customize that message after the post-launch period. I think it totally reached over 100 million people during that campaign and generated $130 million in sales that they attributed to the campaign, which was a significant return on their ad spend.

The reason I reference that campaign is that a smartphone launch is similar to a new car launch. It’s something that’s a very considered purchase. Both are high technology products. There are a lot of similarities with the pre-launch, the main spike during the retail launch period and the post-launch that are very comparable to automotive. Continue reading ›

Western Auto Conference: Focus on Change, Trends, Demographics, Social Media

The outlook for the auto industry—and the U.S. economy—appears to be much healthier, though the industry is still recovering from the downturn that began in 2008, according to Paul Sheard, chief global economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York and John Humphrey, executive vice president, who heads the global automotive division at J.D. Power and Associates.

Both of these experts, in addition to Jim Lentz, president and CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A, and other auto company executives, Internet and social media marketers, and dealers, presented their observations and perspectives about change in the industry, both now and in the future, at last week’s NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference held in Los Angeles.

Humphrey also offered a West Coast or California perspective. He and other speakers and panels spoke about the differences in consumer demographics and new ways to understand and engage the customer through social media—especially with the objective of how to appeal to 80 million+ millennial consumers. The conference began with welcoming remarks from Bill Underriner, chairman of NADA, and ended with a panel discussion dealing with the idea of “mobility” in the future that was led by Joe White, senior editor from The Wall Street Journal. Continue reading ›

Autonomous Driving Feature Garners Surprising Interest in J.D. Power Study

Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Although it’s still being developed and tested* and is one of the most expensive emerging technologies, Autonomous Driving—the mode where vehicles drive themselves— garnered a surprising level of interest among the 23 emerging technologies and features evaluated in this year’s 2012 US Emerging Technologies Study, which is based on responses from more than 17,400 vehicle owners.

Before price is revealed, some 37% of vehicle owners are interested in this new technology, which allows an onboard computer in the vehicle to take control of acceleration, braking and steering, without human interaction. When respondents learn that the estimated market price is $3,000, 20% of respondents still say they “definitely would” or “probably would” purchase the self-driving technology in their next vehicle.

Vehicle owners are nearly as likely to select fully autonomous driving, as they are to select separate, semi-autonomous driving technologies, such as Emergency Stop Assist ($800), Traffic Jam Assist ($800) or Speed Limit Assist ($800), according to our study results. Continue reading ›

May Captive Penetration Dips; Lower Interest Rates Prevail

Grace Hamulic

Slightly more than two-thirds (67.4%) of new-vehicle transactions for all brands in May were financed through automaker captive finance arms—which was down more than 3 percentage points from 70.5% of new-vehicle deals in May 2010, according to our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data. In addition, a much higher percentage of new-vehicle buyers or lessees received APRs below 5% this year vs. the same month last year, up to 73.7% from 67.4%.

In light of the current inventory shortage of vehicles related to the effects of the earthquake and tsunami on production in Japan, we’re starting to see its impact on trade-ins. Compared with a year ago, the percentage of buyers and lessees with a trade-in on a new vehicle who have negative equity has declined to 21.8% from 24.5%. In addition, more than one-half (51%) of new-vehicle deals in May included a trade-in, which is up from 47.4% of transactions a year ago. Continue reading ›

PIN Demographic and Transaction Highlights for Premium Brands

Most premium brands had lower retail turn rates* than the industry average during the first four months of 2011, based on our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data. This year, the Audi brand had the lowest retail turn rate—new vehicles remained an average of only 23 days on dealer lots before being sold—which was even lower than last year’s 34 days, and less than half of the industry average retail turn rate (54 days) during the first four months of 2011. Land Rover had the next lowest turn rate—30 days—down from 35 days in 2010. Lexus followed with a retail turn rate of 36 days, which was up from 29 days in 2010. Continue reading ›

Consumers Share Concerns about “Green” Vehicles

Consumers have a variety of concerns about hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and battery electric vehicles (BEVs), according to insight based on research and analysis of consumer attitudes toward alternative powertrain technologies that is featured in the “Drive Green 2020: More Hope than Reality?” special report from J.D. Power and Associates. Some of the issues . . . Continue Reading Consumers Share Concerns about “Green” Vehicles