In 2012, the Best News Comes for Small Vehicle Segments

Small cars were in demand with consumers in 2012.

Small vehicles resonated with new-vehicle buyers in 2012, partly due to higher prices at the pump during the year (prices reached $4 per gallon in some states) and due to the attraction of new models and more fuel-efficient powertrains.

Compacts accounted for some 5.97 million unit sales, or 41.3% of the market in 2012, up from 5.08 million unit sales in 2011 or 39.9% of the U.S. auto market. This represents a 1.43-percentage point share gain in 2012, according to data collected by J.D. Power and AssociatesPower Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

Among the compact segments,Compact Sport and Sub-Compacts were the best performers in 2012, achieving a 39.3% and  33.1% increase over 2011, repsectively. More than 571,400 sub-compacts were sold and market share rose by one-half point to slightly less than 4% (3.95%). Two new models joined the category for 2012—Chevrolet Spark an, Toyota Prius C . The best seller in the segment was the Nissan Versa, followed by the Chevrolet Sonic and the Hyundai Accent. In addition, Fiat 500 sales more than doubled, and even the tiny Smart car sold nearly twice as many units in 2012 as in 2011. Continue reading ›

A Wide Array of Brands Produce Models that Delight Their Owners

David Amodeo

A baker’s dozen of nameplates produce models that earn the highest scores in their segments in each of the award categories in our 2012 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

Chevrolet receives three of the 22 segment awards—the most of any nameplate in the 2012 APEAL Study—and also the most APEAL awards for the General Motors flagship brand since 1997. Chevrolet models that receive segment awards include two small models and one large pickup: the Avalanche, Sonic and Volt.

Seven more nameplates included in the study each receive two segment awards for models with the highest index scores in their categories. In alphabetical order, the nameplates with top-ranked models in two segments are: Audi, Dodge, Ford, Kia, Mini, Nissan, and Porsche. Also receiving highest-ranking model awards at the segment level for one model each are: BMW, Infiniti, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen. Continue reading ›

Smartphones Continue to Transform Vehicle Purchase Process

Sujata Sontakke

The vehicle purchase as an interactive experience with mobile Web and mobile Apps was explored by Dane Holewinski, director of marketing at Greystripe, a brand-focused mobile ad network that is a division of ValueClick. He told participants at the recent 2011 Automotive Internet Roundtable that in the next year, between 5 and 7 million new vehicles will be purchased by owners of iPhones and Androids, and 80% of these iPhone and Android owners will use their smartphones for their auto purchases.

Holewinski provided a few details from a study of 850 iPhone users who were recruited using ads through networks and he also presented highlights from two specific brand phone ad campaigns. A few key points are summarized:

• A majority (80%) of study respondents (iPhone users) who are in the market for a vehicle will use a mobile device extensively for their auto purchase.

• Some 50% said they will use it on the lot, while 30% will use their phone to search for a dealership and 20% will contact the dealership by smartphone.

• An interesting data point: Over 50% of these prospective buyers are in the market for foreign brands. Continue reading ›