Consumers Keeping Their Smaller Vehicles But Maintain Desire for Luxury, According to Experian Automotive -

Consumers Keeping Their Smaller Vehicles But Maintain Desire for Luxury, According to Experian Automotive

The mix of vehicles on U.S. roads is moving more toward small to midsize vehicles and vehicles with premium/luxury amenities, according to Experian Automotive’s just-released analysis as of March 31, 2010.

The mix of vehicles on U.S. roads is moving more toward small to midsize vehicles and vehicles with premium/luxury amenities, according to Experian Automotive’s just-released analysis of its AutoCount Vehicles in Operation (VIO) data as of March 31, 2010.

"In comparison to the first quarter of 2009, the first quarter of 2010 saw consumers holding onto their smaller vehicles longer," said Marty Miller, senior product marketing manager for Experian Automotive’s AutoCount VIO. "At the same time, consumers are also keeping their luxury vehicles longer, especially small and mid-size luxury vehicles. Based on our findings, it’s clear that safety products, creature comforts and the latest technology are still high on the list of today’s vehicle purchaser."

The first quarter 2010 VIO analysis for vehicle segments also revealed:

• While full-sized pickups continue to dominate America’s roads, their volumes dropped 0.3 percent compared to last year in market share and 2.9 percent in volume.

• Mid-range crossover vehicles (CUVs) grew 14.5 percent in volume share with a market share growth of 0.27 percent. The largest volume growth in the VIO market was in the upscale luxury segment.

• SUVs, minivans and small pickups had the largest drop in volume, while traditional cars experienced the largest market share decline.

• Compared to first quarter 2009, hybrid vehicles grew 18.5 percent in volume share; however, this only equates to a growth of one-tenth of one percent in the overall market.

• More evidence that consumers are choosing to keep smaller vehicles longer or have recently purchased those size vehicles is seen in the growth of 4-cylinder vehicles (1.9 percent over first quarter 2009) and the decline of 6-cylinder (1.2 percent) and 8-cylinder (0.1 percent) vehicles.

"What this means for the aftermarket is that today’s manufacturer, retailer and distributor must understand the changing vehicle mix to better anticipate fluctuations in what types of vehicles need to be serviced and what types of vehicles consumers are keeping longer," Miller noted.

Another key finding in the latest Experian AutoCount VIO data shows that the "Detroit 3" manufacturers (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) have dropped in market share compared to first quarter 2009, while all other top manufacturers grew except Mazda. Toyota had the largest growth volume, followed by Honda with Hyundai closely behind. Hyundai grew 9.3 percent while Ford dropped 6 percent.

"While the combined volumes of GM, Ford and Chrysler represent 62.2 percent of VIO today, the number of total vehicles on the road from these manufacturers slipped over the last year from 64.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009," Miller said. "Those in the aftermarket should take note of the growing presence of Hyundai and other manufacturers in their forecasting and planning."

Other key findings in Experian’s just released AutoCount VIO analysis for the first quarter of 2010 reveal:

• The average age of light duty vehicles grew dramatically (8.3 percent) over the last year from 9.6 years in Q1 2009 to 10.4 years in Q1 2010. Average age is one key factor in determining aftermarket growth, indicating a positive sign for aftermarket manufacturers and retailers.

• Compared to first quarter 2009, light trucks and passenger cars both experienced drops in overall volume (cars by 0.5 percent; light trucks by 0.1 percent). Passenger cars regained the edge in total vehicles on the roads in the first quarter – 50.1 percent to 49.9 percent.

• Front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles continue to dominate on America’s roads with nearly half of all vehicles using that drive type. Compared to Q1-2009, four-wheel drive (4WD), all-wheel drive (AWD) and rear-wheel drive (RWD) have grown in volume (4WD by 14.2 percent, AWD by 10.3 percent, RWD by 5.4 percent), while FWD vehicles have remained fairly stable.

Experian’s AutoCount Vehicles in Operation provides timely visibility to what cars and trucks are on the road in a local market, helping aftermarket retailers better serve their customers by stocking the right parts. The data is updated within six weeks of the end of each quarter, ensuring that aftermarket organizations have the most timely and comprehensive information available to help better manage inventory levels, efficiently plan for new vehicle introductions, adjust for technology changes, and better assess locations for retail stores and service bays.

For more information on Experian’s AutoCount Vehicles in Operation and other products and services, visit the Experian AutoCount website.

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By Bob
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vehicles being built better than ever before, and with service intervals
continually being extended, you are going to see your customers less often.
This means your service advisors are going to have to be razor sharp when the
phone rings. Although there is no silver bullet that will allow you to bring in
every first-time caller, there are a number of things you can do to get more
appointments. In this article, I would like to share some of the best practices
your advisors can use that will generate immediate results.
In order for
someone to buy from you, three things need to occur: They have to like you,
they have to trust you, and they have to view you as a credible expert. So when
your phone rings, the first thing your advisors need to sell is themselves; not
the service or repair. The best way of accomplishing this goal is with a
professional, courteous and upbeat greeting, such as “Thank you for calling
Elite Auto Care, this is Bob. How can I help you this morning?” By using these
words we’re showing appreciation, by volunteering the name of our company we’re
assuring the callers that they’ve called the right number, and by providing our
name we’re beginning to build personal relationships. By asking how we can
help, we’re asking a question that will allow us to control the conversation.
By being upbeat and using the right tonality, our likeability goes up, and the
customer’s anxiety goes down.
The second
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callers don’t feel rushed, and they’ll have to become good detectives by asking
a number of questions. By having the callers talk, it will take their focus off
of the price, and it will allow them to begin to feel more comfortable with
your advisors at the same time.
When it comes
to asking for the appointment, one of the best kept secrets I can share with
you is this: With rare exception, your advisors need to offer every caller a
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be for them to bring the vehicle in now. For example; “I can squeeze you in
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When it comes to auto repair, customers love finality, which is why
providing the “now” option is a powerful sales tool.
Now here’s
the absolute best-kept secret for dealing with the tough first-time callers.
Every one of your advisors needs to be aware that many “price shoppers” are
asking for price just to start the conversation, and beyond that, with rare
exception, callers don’t know the questions they should be asking. This is why
it’s a good idea to ask your service advisors to write down a list of the
questions that they think an educated caller would ask. Once they have their
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price inquiries with a statement like, “Well Larry, I know price is important
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more than likely get at least five different prices. Some of the other
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other shops, you know as well as I do that they’ll more than likely ask some of
the questions your advisors suggested to them. Not only will your competitors
be caught off guard and struggle with the answers, but in each case, the
callers will be thinking of your advisors. This is when they’ll not only realize
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you bet; they’ll now view them as credible experts as well.
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