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 ›

A Number of Auto Brands Receive High Satisfaction Scores for Social Media Marketing

Jacqueline Anderson

Some 30 auto brands are included in the inaugural J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Social Media Benchmarking Study.SM Eight brands, including Cadillac, Fiat, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Lexus, Nissan and Toyota, are identified as top performers in social marketing, while four, including Chevrolet, Ford, Subaru and Toyota, rank among the highest performers in satisfaction . . . Continue Reading A Number of Auto Brands Receive High Satisfaction Scores for Social Media Marketing

A Quick Perspective: Big Wins Before the Big Game

Jeremy Detgen3_v

Jeremy Detgen

As has been the tradition in advertising, the annual Super Bowl is one of the most watched sporting events on TV, with the advertisements being as popular with some viewers as the game itself.

While this opportunity for high viewership has great potential, it comes at a great cost to advertisers. In contrast, social media has an even broader audience and is available at a much smaller cost. The hype of a “Super Bowl Commercial” can be transferred to online media and expanded over weeks of air time instead of being designated to one 30-second, $4 million spot as many auto brands have demonstrated this year and in past years.

Taking Super Bowl Ads to Social Media

Before the game, Ad Age noted the success of Toyota’s “Wish Granted” campaign that already had totaled over 11 million views across the Web the week before the 47th annual Super Bowl. According to Visible Measure’s Viral Video Chart, auto brands consist of the top three views of pre-released or teaser Super Bowl ads this year. 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 ›

Three Automotive Marketers Discuss Their Approach to Digital at the Roundtable

Amit Aggarwal

Three marketing leaders from the Hyundai, Chrysler and Honda Groups discussed the importance of digital marketing and how they are using it in search, product launches and for conquesting and keeping loyal owners during our recent Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) in Las Vegas, NV. The panelists also answered questions about what digital marketing will mean in the future. J.D. Power’s Arianne Walker, senior director, media and marketing solutions, led the conversation.


David Matathia, director, advertising, Hyundai Motor America

Amy Peet, senior manager, digital marketing, Chrysler Group LLC

John Watts, senior manager, digital marketing, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Reflecting a sense of urgency in the digital marketing world, Walker asked panelists a provocative question: “What keeps you up at night?”

Hyundai’s Dave Matathia said that on the brand side, he worries about building desire for the brand beyond the warranty and fuel economy. Chrysler’s Amy Peet suggested that measurement of success is on her mind. Her concern is to track sales and brand health through mobile and online video. Honda’s John Watts said he thinks about which opportunities are the best fit for Honda, in light of the fact that budget and manpower remain the same. He added that it is easy to get over-extended.

Mobile is Becoming More Important in Digital Marketing Plans

J.D. Power’s Walker also wondered about what these marketers have to say about the mobile platform. Her question to panelists: “How do you make sure that your brand is getting the message out and what is working best and what isn’t?”

Chrysler’s Peet said that her company is just getting involved in mobile and has recently launched sites, noting that “We are looking to our media partners who have more experience in this space.” Honda’s Watts pointed out that with Honda’s premium Acura brand, consumers want specs, features and detailed information that is quick and easy to obtain. Hyundai’s Matathia said that consumers still want all the tools even though they’re using a mobile device. Continue reading ›

Green Doesn’t Seem to Sell BEVs

Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Vehicle owners are well aware that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) such as the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus BEV and Honda Fit EV are green and eco-friendly, but green sentiment and “green habits” don’t seem to impact consideration and eventually purchase of a BEV, according to findings in our latest U.S. BEV Market Study.

We see that consideration rates for purchasing BEVs are nearly the same among owners who indicate they already conserve and recycle (44%) vs. those owners who say they are just beginning to take some kind of eco-friendly action (43%). The consideration rate is slightly lower for those owners who are exploring ways to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve resources, but say they have not taken any specific action (39%).

As for intent to purchase, we also find from our study results that only 3% of vehicle owners who indicate they “strongly agree” or even “somewhat agree” that they would pay extra for green or eco-friendly products, indicate that their next vehicle will likely have a battery electric powertrain. This is only 1 point higher than the percentage of owners who are likely to buy a BEV, but are basically indifferent to green products (2%). Continue reading ›

BEV Awareness and Purchase Intent Are Still at Odds

Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Although awareness of battery electric vehicle (BEV) models—such as the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus EV and Honda Fit EV—is relatively high, only 2% of current vehicle owners in the U.S. market say their next purchase or lease would most likely include a battery electric powertrain, according to findings in our latest U.S. BEV Market Study.

More specifically,  71% of the 1,001 current vehicle owners surveyed online by J.D. Power for this study  say their next purchase or lease will most likely be a conventional gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle. Additionally, nearly one-fourth (23%) say they intend to purchase a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) as their next vehicle.

Our recent U.S. BEV Market Study examines current vehicle owner  concerns and perceptions so that automakers can better align their marketing plans for BEVs with real-world expectations, as well as consumer preferences and  financial considerations. Continue reading ›

Lincoln in China: Observations from our China Expert

Editor’s Note: Last week, while in China for a plant groundbreaking, Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Alan Mulally announced future plans to launch the Lincoln luxury brand in China. The first Lincoln models to be sold will be built in North America and distributed through an independent dealer network. Jim Farley, group vice president, Global Marketing Sales and Service, said in a statement that Lincoln will be differentiated in China with more individualized and personally tailored products.

Our Asia expert, Tim Dunne, offers a few observations and insight about Ford’s plans:

It’s About Vision and Commitment

Tim Dunne

Is it too late for Ford in China? Were Honda and Toyota too late to the American market when they started building cars in the United States in the 1980s? Was Hyundai too late when they started building cars in the U.S. in the 2000s? Their results provide the answers: Today, Japanese- and Korean-made vehicles account for roughly half of all sales in the U.S. market. Anything is possible with vision and commitment.

That said, the Ford brand does have its work cut out for it in the world’s most competitive auto market, which plays host to some 95 brands in the passenger-vehicle segment. The Ford brand currently holds a 2.5% share of the world’s largest market and ranks 13th overall in brand sales, trailing most of its major global competitor brands such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Honda. Ford’s total brand sales in China in 2011 were 323,000 units, and 2012 sales are on pace to reach 350,000. By comparison, the Ford brand sold 2.06 million vehicles in the United States in 2011, or six times as many vehicles as it sold in China last year. Continue reading ›

Why India Automakers Should Pay Attention to the Beijing Auto Show

Mohit Arora

The curtain has fallen on a highly successful 2012 Beijing Auto Show, which was attended by senior executives from many of the world’s largest automakers. After some reflection, here are a few key takeaways that Indian automakers can collect from the Beijing Auto Show:

Go Local

International automakers made it loud and clear during the auto show that they are listening to Chinese consumers and are producing cars for the Chinese market.

For example, Aston Martin and Jeep are two of many brands that decided to go for the most obvious and blunt visual approach to wooing Chinese consumers—by deploying a Dragon emblem on their latest model offerings, hoping to tap into Chinese affinity for the most powerful symbol in the Chinese zodiac.

While using the Dragon emblem might be considered flattering, automotive marketers need to be careful. Chinese consumers are increasingly becoming more global and sophisticated in their tastes, and leveraging the revered dragon could be considered pandering by some. In short, the key is to “go local” with marketing knowledge, without going provincial. Continue reading ›

Changing Economic Factors in China Curb Dealer Profits


Charles Mills

Auto dealers in China report experiencing lower profits on 2011 operations in comparison with results in 2010, mainly due to factors including a changing economic and regulatory environment in China, coupled with a proliferation of brands and models, according to our 2012 China Dealer Attitude Study.

The percentage of dealers . . . Continue Reading Changing Economic Factors in China Curb Dealer Profits