Monday, November 28, 2011

Audi Looks To Fix Styling Faults

It’s hard for anyone to admit to their own faults. It is especially hard if you are one of the biggest luxury automobile manufacturers on the planet constantly setting styling trends and breaking sales records monthly. Nevertheless, much like a championship team looking to get even better in the off season Audi has acknowledged some of the criticism regarding its styling.While Audi is certainly not the only brand that uses styling to create a strong brand identity it agrees that some might view its models as same sausage-different length. In the future Audi plans to create more separation between one A model and the next. The brand also promises an even more significant differentiation between its sedans, SUVs and sports cars.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Why People Say and Do Two Completely Different Things and How This Impacts CAFE

In a recent Consumer Reports survey, a whopping 93% of responders said that they would like to see higher fuel economy standards. In fact, 80% support CAFE's plan for a 55 mile per gallon average across all vehicles by 2025. In order to achieve CAFE's goals of 55mpg, 56% of those surveyed say they will  consider a hybrid or an electric vehicle for their next purchase. Even better, 80% said that they would pay more for a fuel efficient vehicle that would save them money in the long run. Such results paint a very rosy picture for the automotive industry as it appears that the public is certainly willing to adopt and pay for new technology to raise their MPG. Unfortunately, in reality the picture is completely different. According to the latest data available only a scant percentage of car buyers actually do buy hybrids, in fact hybrid market share of all cars sold in October was less than 2%. This means that only 4% of those considering a hybrid actually buy a one and everyone else was just pretending. Even accounting for the fact that not every model is available as a hybrid it is hard to explain the enormous discrepancy. Besides, wouldn't someone wanting to buy a hybrid make the sacrifice and buy a Camry hybrid versus an Accord? The fact of the matter is that talk is cheap and when real money comes into play people are reluctant to pony up the dough  to get a hybrid. While buying a hybrid or an electric versus a conventional internal combustion requires actual monetary and vehicular commitments, answering a phone poll does not.  In regards to CAFE, politicians and everyone else must remain skeptical regarding surveys of people's hopes about fuel economy and should instead take a good look at reality.

56% of people say they are considering hybrids for their next purchase

Yet Ford sold over 2.5 times more F series in October than all hybrids combined.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October 2011 Sales Recap

Featuring best monthly sales since February, October was another month showing that the auto industry in America is in recovery mode. Leading the pack was Volkswagen with a tremendous 39.6% increase in sales thanks to its new American built Passat. October Passat sales were the best of any month since 2005. Posting a surprise improvement was Mazda with a 37.4% improvement over last October. Doing well again was Chrysler with a 28% improvement while Dodge had a 23.2% improvement, just ahead of Hyundai at 22.8%. Leading the luxury category was Bentley with a 35% improvement, albeit that's only 42 extra sales. Aside from Bentley Audi and Mercedes-Benz had great months as well with improvement of 25.8 and 23.4% respectively. On the other side of the spectrum Honda and Toyota and their respective luxury divisions continued their sale slides while all GM brands save Chevrolet saw their sales drop compared to a year ago.

October marked only the second time in its existence that the Chevy Volt (1,108) outsold the Nissan LEAF (849).