After emerging from one of the most difficult economic periods in U.S. automotive history, industry executives should have a positive outlook. Sales of domestic brands are up. Companies who accepted bailouts are paying back the government. And corporate restructuring has whittled down the number of brands and dealerships competing for business. Instead of feeling optimistic about the future, many executives have significant concerns – all of which will impact marketing over the next several years.
A new survey released recently by Deloitte shows that 78% of consumers in the United States would consider purchasing an electric vehicle (EV) when fuel prices reach $5.00 per gallon. According to the new study, "Gaining traction: Will consumers ride the electric vehicle wave?," the higher the price of fuel, the more interested consumers are in EVs. Currently, hybrids and EVs represent a tiny fraction of total cars on the road globally. The adoption of all forms of green vehicles—hybrids, EVs, etc.—will be significantly influenced by government policies that will heavily shape the portfolio mix of powertrain technologies in each country. These policies will likely be driven by a number of factors, from stricter carbon emission standards to independence from foreign energy.
TrueCar.com recently released a study based on Hispanic car-buying behavior in 2010 that shows import brands and models dominating the top 10 list. Hispanic car-buyers in 2010 made up seven percent of all new vehicle retail purchases in the U.S. "The Hispanic market is very critical for automakers, being the fastest growing minority group in the U.S.," said Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Industry Trends and Insights at TrueCar.com. The brand Hispanic car-buyers preferred most was Toyota (19.5%), followed by Honda (13.7%), and Nissan (11.9%). Domestic brands rounded out the top five with Chevrolet (9.4%) and Ford (9.3%). The brands with the highest growth among Hispanic buyers in 2010, compared to 2009 (with sales above 1,000 units) were Buick, Hyundai, Cadillac, Kia and GMC.
Used car prices — already rising — could soar as buyers are driven to seek alternatives due to a predicted shortage of some new vehicles in the wake of the continued disruption of Japanese auto production, experts predict. Price increases at the wholesale level already are being seen for the compact and midsize used cars from Japanese brands and of rival models that would be the closest substitutes for the more popular Japanese new cars. Trade-in values for smaller cars have already been on the rise due to higher gas prices. According to NADA, prices now could shoot up even more in the coming weeks, which is when reduced Japanese auto factory output will begin to really show up as a shortage of the more desirable models on dealers' lots.
Marketers are working harder than ever these days to reach consumers with their promotional messages. But consumers have found more channels to engage with — like social networks and mobile phones. As ad budgets continue to be squeezed, smart marketers are taking a closer look at their media mix and optimizing their spending to lower costs and improve results.
Consumers who use the Internet to shop for a new vehicle spend an average of 18–19 hours researching new and used vehicle purchases, according to the recent Automotive Buyer Influence Study conducted by Polk and AutoTrader.com. In both segments (new and used purchasers), approximately 60% of shopping time was spent online. The study also revealed that 58% of used vehicle buyers and half of new vehicle buyers said their Internet research was the most influential element in their vehicle search, and ultimately led them to the dealership where they made their vehicle purchase. As part of their business-planning initiatives, OEMs and dealers need to be certain they're developing Internet strategies to meet consumers' needs; which means understanding and investing in web features that are most valued – and maintaining them regularly – to drive consumer traffic to their showrooms.
While younger consumers are struggling to gain a foothold in today’s competitive and still-weak economy, they have been putting off major life purchases – especially autos. At the same time, older drivers, those over age 65, are continuing to buy cars and make up a larger share of the car-buying market. New research shows that […]
Consumers have a lot to consider when they’re on the hunt for a new car these days. But, according to Mintel research, it’s a hassle-free sales environment that really gets shoppers’ motors running, as 27% of consumers who have bought a new vehicle in the past three years say they were influenced by the stress-free sales floor. With the average age of cars and trucks on the road today at more than 10-years-old, industry analysts say Americans will need to replace their aging vehicles. Sales are expected to reach 12.9 million new cars and trucks sold in 2011, compared with 11.6 million light vehicles sold in 2010, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. Factors expected to contribute to the sales gains include an abundance of new models and choices, low interest rates, and higher gas prices, which increase consumer demand for small cars, hybrid vehicles and diesels.
By 2012, Gen Y consumers will account for approximately 40% of the car-buying population and represent a new breed of confident consumers who are independent, tech-savvy, engaged and demanding, according to a new survey by Deloitte. The new survey indicates that Gen Y consumers have an increasingly positive view of the industry on everything, from researching and shopping to vehicle trustworthiness. By providing Gen Y with an ongoing, positive customer experience that has the same amount of innovation, dedication and information found in the cars that drew them to the brand initially, manufacturers will be able to take advantage of the influence this generation has over other consumer segments.
With the auto industry looking to continue the recovery it began in 2010, analysts are predicting that manufacturers and dealers will increase their ad budgets in 2011. Spending is expected to rise both at the national and regional levels. Auto companies will be marketing both new and redesigned models along with those powered by hybrid or electric technology. In addition, marketers will use specific media formats to reach prospective buyers.
Most business owners understand that marketing encompasses a wide range of activities from outright advertising to event sponsorship to surveys. One of these components, the post-service experience survey, is increasingly being used these days, especially by service-based businesses. Many users believe these surveys result in question-behavior effects (QBE) that positively impact revenue. But are these surveys really generating new revenue? The results of an in-depth study published by Rice University researchers provide some answers.
Market research firm Morpace recently examined factors that consumers consider most influential when choosing an automotive dealership. In the wake of nearly 2,300 Chrysler and GM dealership closures over the past year, Morpace found that consumer loyalty to brand name dealers is an insignificant factor in choosing a dealership. Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 74% considered “best deal offerings” when choosing to buy from a dealer. Other top considerations were “prior positive experience” and “referral from family or friends.” In general, consumers may not mourn the loss of particular dealers so long as they still can find what they want at a low price.