NADA Headlines - 04/17/2013 (Plain Text Version)
Chevrolet, General Motors Co.'s largest brand, sold more than 1.18 million vehicles during the first quarter globally, marking the 10th straight quarter of record global sales, the company said Tuesday. GM said part of the growth came from the Cruze compact sedan, which recently hit 2 million global sales since its 2009 launch. The Chevy brand sold 469,000 vehicles in the U.S. in the first quarter, up 4.8 percent from the same period a year ago. Sales in the first quarter also were up in China, Brazil and Mexico, but fell in Argentina compared to the same period a year ago. Chevrolet globally is launching 25 new or majorly refreshed products.
General Motors edged out fast-growing Volkswagen in first-quarter sales as both companies try to close the gap with Toyota for the global world sales crown. Toyota, which is scheduled to release first-quarter numbers next week, dethroned GM to retake the top spot in 2012, a year in which VW posted record sales and came within 190,000 vehicles of beating GM. GM said Tuesday that it sold 2.36 million cars and trucks across the globe from January through March, an increase of 3.6 percent over the first quarter of last year. VW global sales rose 5 percent to 2.27 million vehicles, but the company cautioned that markets outside North America and China, particularly in Europe, "are becoming even more difficult."
More than ever, designing cars people want is a tricky business. Rapidly developing technology, changing demographics, emerging global markets and stricter fuel efficiency standards have forced automakers to rethink how they design cars and conduct consumer research, top automotive executives said [Tuesday] at the SAE 2013 World Congress in Detroit. “You can't use traditional research methods to ask a customer 'do you like this or do you like that,'” said Mike O'Brien, Hyundai vice president of corporate planning and product strategy. Instead, O'Brien said automakers must ask consumers about the forces changing their lives. Millennials, generally those born between 1980 and 2000, have been hard for automakers to reach, partially because they have vastly different expectations for cars and transportation than their parents.
More autonomous driving technologies are on the way, but self-driving vehicles aren't projected to crowd the nation's roads anytime soon, experts said Tuesday at the Society of Automotive Engineers 2013 World Congress. "2025 is the time frame where we see cars driving themselves," said Christian Schumacher, head of Continental Automotive's Advanced Driver Assistance Systems for the NAFTA region, echoing the rough timeline for self-driving or fully autonomous vehicles projected by most in the industry. But semi-autonomous vehicles, with technologies such as pedestrian recognition and traffic jam assist — where radar and camera technology help a vehicle keep pace with other vehicles and provide automated steering control to maintain lane presence — may be just a handful of years away. And similar technologies may not be far behind.
iPads augment old-fashioned eye contact in S. Dakota
When you find a thriving seven-franchise dealership in sparsely populated South Dakota that has been in the same family for 106 years, you know they've learned a thing or two about finding and keeping customers. Wegner Auto Co. in tiny Pierre, S.D., has been in the family since Henry Wegner built a livery stable-car storage building near the state capitol in 1907. Now sibling partners Jim and Jenny Wegner are teaching their mix of innovations and old-school tricks to a fifth generation, Jenny's son Bryan Boocock, 22. Pierre is smack dab in the middle of South Dakota, but almost all of the state's 833,000 population lives either on the east edge near Sioux Falls or the west side near Rapid City. So life for the Wegners is traditional selling on steroids: building, cultivating and maintaining relationships generation after generation. "We only have 40,000 people within 80 miles," says Jim Wegner, 63. "We have always taken care of our customers."
The complimentary MarketINSIGHT webinar, "Do You Know Today's Customer?", will be presented today at 1 p.m. EDT. Presenter Howard Polirer, director of Industry Education at AutoTrader.com, will share insights on what the consumer decision journey looks like and why it's important, the role of the Internet and how shoppers are arriving at your website. Click here to register.
Interested in presenting a workshop at the 2014 NADA ATD Convention? The May 10 submission deadline is quickly approaching. Take advantage of NADA University's webinar today at 2 p.m., EDT, for tips on how to submit a great workshop proposal. NADA University staff will answer all of your questions, as well as share insights into what the NADA/ATD panel considers when choosing workshops and what a good video submission looks like. Click here to register.