Auto Industry:

AutoPacific Sales Forecast: U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Set to Recover…Slowly


Gradual Recovery Over the Next Five Years, But No Return to 17-Million Unit Years Anytime SoonAutoPacific_VV.jpg
TUSTIN, Calif. (December 21, 2009) — 2009 will be a memorable year for the automotive industry — unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. The U.S. light vehicle market is expected to close out 2009 at a disastrous 10.3 million sales, down from 16.1 million sales just two years prior and the lowest industry volume since AutoPacific began forecasting automotive sales in 1988. Naturally, the national economic collapse had a profound impact on retail sales of light vehicles.
The industry can look forward to year-on-year recovery over AutoPacific’s five-year forecast period, but at a relatively gradual pace. In the near term, AutoPacific forecasts industry volume of 11.4 million units in 2010 as the economy slowly heals but also as unemployment hampers faster industry sales recovery. 2015 will see industry sales of 15.4 million, a significant improvement from 2009 volumes but still a far cry from the near-17 million unit years seen through much of the past decade.

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Generation Y Open To New Brands, New Technology And Hybrids


Survey Shows Generation Y Frequently Multitasking While Driving
AutoPacific_VV.jpgTUSTIN, Calif. (October 21, 2009) — Willing to embrace new brands, new technology and alternative powertrains, Generation Y will redefine the automotive market. A just released study on Generation Y new vehicle buyers in the United States shows Generation Y consumers are more likely than the generations before them to consider purchasing a Chinese or Indian branded vehicle, more willing to accept hybrid powertrains, and more likely to want the latest entertainment technology in their vehicle. As the largest generation since the Baby Boomers continues to gain spending power and enter the new-car market, which automakers will win their confidence? AutoPacific’s study underscores the opportunities for automakers to reach Generation Y consumers as they move through their Teen, Young Adult and Young Family life-stages.
“Growing up with continuously evolving technology and electronics has given Generation Y a unique ability to adapt easily to change, a willingness to accept new brands, and an expectation that their vehicle provide the best of what is available,” said George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, the research firm that conducted the study. Though many Generation Y consumers would choose a trip around the world over a luxury vehicle, Generation Y does expect that the vehicle they buy will be more than just basic transportation. “Generation Y is more likely than older generations to own portable electronics, more likely to research their vehicle options on the Internet, and an astonishing 29%points more likely to frequently multi-task while driving. They know what’s out there, they know the economical and environmental problems we face, and their vehicle expectations reflect that knowledge.”

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Trio Of Cars Make A Clean Sweep Of AutoPacific's 2009 Awards


logocopy.jpgLuxury and Economy Cars Stand Out in Data from 32,000 Consumers
TUSTIN, Calif. (September 1, 2009) — Three cars stand above the crowd of 2009 model year vehicles, as judged by owners participating in research firm AutoPacific’s annual survey. Of the vehicles that earned honors in AutoPacific’s 2009 awards, only the Lexus LS, Lexus ES and Honda Fit topped their segments in each contest: the Vehicle Satisfaction Award, the Ideal Vehicle Award, the Motorist Choice Award (presented jointly with and Owner Recommendations.
Data collected by AutoPacific from more than 32,000 new vehicle owners rated 2009 vehicles on 48 vehicle attributes related to satisfaction, value, comfort, styling, size, performance, reliability, fuel economy and more. The winning vehicles best met their owner’s expectations.
“Winning one award is quite an achievement, and proof an automaker is able to meet its customers’ needs,” said George Peterson, President of AutoPacific. “But winning all four honors in a single year shows that Lexus and Honda are able to provide what their customers want in a reliable, satisfying vehicle; a single car owners are proud to recommend to their friends and family.”

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GM Workers Walk, Talk, & Get a New Deal


In the midst of one of the weakest automobile sales seasons in recent memory, members of the United Automobile Workers union walked off the job at General Motors plants nationwide two days ago, kicking a marathon negotiation session into gear. Negotiators for both sides stayed at the bargaining table until a new deal was announced at 3AM today by UAW president Ron Gettelfinger. The result: GM workers get some important job security protections and GM gets to offload its health plan into a new trust (all details have not yet been announced). This was the first time GM had been struck in more than 37 years. When the UAW walked in 1970, they remained off the job for two full months. The last local UAW strike affected two plants in Flint, Michigan in 1998 in a walkout that lasted nearly seven weeks.


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VehicleVoice #36 – Ford's New CEO, Dip in Fuel Prices, Roadtrips


Welcome to VehicleVoice – Episode #36

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This week, our VehicleVoice audio podcast has host David Barrett sitting down with AutoPacific’s Vice President and Senior Consultant Jim Hossack for a conversation about the state of the American Auto Industry.

Jim and David chat about dropping fuel prices and the sights seen from the window during a roadtrip through the Rockies, not to mention GM’s new warranty, BMW’s new hydrogen car (is it practical?), and how renting a Mustang convertible in the Yellowstone region is a lot easier than you might think. And that’s just the beginning!

Show Runtime – 15:04

Show Rundown
00:28 GM’s recent changes – Are they turning things around?
03:33 Ford’s New CEO – Will an outsider make a difference?
07:29 Gas Prices – Why are they falling and will Americans start buying big cars again?
09:55 BMW’s New Hydrogen Car – Will it sell?
11:38 Western Mountain Road Trip – What kind of cars can you see on the road in the Rockies?

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Branding Iron – Auto Marketers New Book Critiques America’s Auto Industry


The unveiling of Charles Hughes and William Jeanes new book, Branding Iron, was held at an ex-Marine Air Station, now converted into an autocross course and automotive presentation center. It was a fitting preview, and the book, published on September 1, is all about conversion and change.

Auto Exec Charlie Hughes at a Press Briefing for his new book.

Charles Hughes, called “Charlie” by his associates and friends, is an experienced sales and marketing auto industry executive. Charlie worked for many of the industry’s brightest minds and Land Rover in the United States was created under his leadership. Charlie was also the guy behind Mazda’s ZoomZoom advertising campaign.
Charlie is now head honcho at Brand Rules, an consulting company specializing in branding strategies.
Many people know William, “don’t call me Bill”, Jeanes as the former editor-in-chief of Car and Driver. His contact with new and emerging vehicles was a weekly occurrence, and his insight important to the industry and the public at large.

Branding Iron
reflects the authors love of the old west, the courage, rugged lifestyle and people who lived and died for what they believed in. Their book, focusing on branding as a mechanism for selling cars, trucks and SUVs, is about the need for some of that commitment, as opposed to the often soft, bland, and “cover your ass” management and strategies now in play in the auto industry.
Is the book any good?

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