NADA Headlines - 10/18/2013 (Plain Text Version)
The likelihood that the U.S. auto industry returns to the days of 17 million in annual sales is largely dependent on increasing production capacity, analysts said Thursday. Michael Robinet, managing director at IHS Automotive Consulting, and Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive, speaking at the WWJ Auto Summit at Lawrence Tech [in Southfield, Mich.], said annual consumer demand could soon top 17 million — something that hasn't happened since 2001 — but that dominoes must fall on the manufacturing side for the production to meet demand.
General Motors Co.'s global sales rose 4.6 percent in the first nine months of the year as strong third-quarter demand in the United States and China helped offset declines in Europe and South America, GM said [Thursday]. The automaker had nine-month global sales of more than 7.25 million. That included a 5.5 percent increase in the third quarter and puts GM ahead of German rival Volkswagen AG.
Chinese automakers are starting to ask some of the largest Western auto parts companies to supply parts that meet American and European regulatory standards, according to senior executives at the parts companies. The requests are the clearest sign yet that after more than a decade of preparation, Chinese manufacturers are starting to feel the confidence to begin high-volume auto exports to the West.
European vehicle sales are likely to grow in 2014 for the first time in seven years, though unemployment and the lingering impact of sovereign debt problems will limit the extent, a think tank affiliated with Hyundai Motor Group said. European vehicle sales will rise 2.5 percent to 13.87 million units next year, the Korea Automotive Research Institute said in a report published. The rise compares with a forecast decline of 3.8 percent to 13.53 million this year. The think tank said it expects a recovery in U.S. vehicle sales to slow in 2014 due to a likely rise in central bank interest rates. It projects U.S. sales to rise 3.2 percent to 16.1 million vehicles, compared with an increase of 7.6 percent to 15.6 million this year. The report said Chinese demand is likely to push global vehicle sale growth to 4 percent next year from 3 percent this year.
An investor group led by Hong Kong tycoon Richard Li is the likely winner of a government loan owed by Fisker Automotive, the now-dormant maker of plug-in hybrid sports cars, people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. The U.S. Department of Energy picked Li's group after an auction held Friday to sell the green-energy loan. The DOE and Li are now nailing down the final details of the sale, which has not yet closed, the people said. Buying the loan would allow Li, the youngest son of Asia's richest man and an early Fisker investor, to restructure Fisker unencumbered by the obligations of the DOE funds and potentially avoid a bankruptcy filing that would wipe out equity investors. Sources familiar with the company have said, however, that reviving Fisker outside of a bankruptcy would be an expensive and difficult process.
General Motors Co. slashed its marketing and outreach efforts to minority customers during and immediately following its 2009 bankruptcy. But as it has returned to a position of strength, the automaker has renewed its focus on multicultural car buyers. GM isn't alone in its efforts to target multicultural customers. Automakers — domestic and foreign — know there is a growing market they can't ignore. They are reaching out through advertising, social media and sponsorships. Some are increasing the number of minority-owned dealerships.And they are diversifying their own workforces to better understand their customers. Minority consumers — African-Americans, Asians and Hispanics — bought one in four new vehicles in the U.S. through the first half of the year, according to Polk, an auto data company. Their share of the new-car market is expected to grow by another 3.5 percentage points by 2016, to nearly 28 percent, Polk says.
It was a little odd listening to digital marketing consultant Larry Bruce tell assembled dealers here to resist chopping their television advertising budgets. But data from a study that his company, OnlineDrive, recently conducted showed that television not only builds dealership brand awareness, it amplifies other marketing channels dealerships use to reach customers, including email campaigns, Web site targeting, direct mail and paid and organic search, Bruce said. "Electronic media is an influencer," said Bruce, OnlineDrive's president and CEO. As a champion of digital, Bruce said he was surprised how central a role in marketing that television continues to play at the dealership level. It has been an automaker staple for decades.
Always know where you came from and where you're going. That's how Alfred Morris, the Washington Redskins' 24-year-old star running back, lives his life. It's also why he has held on to a 1991 Mazda 626. The car caught the attention of his teammates when he kept showing up in it at the Redskins' practice field, in Ashburn, Va. It seemed out of place. Morris said most of the other players drove BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars, customized, jacked-up trucks or sport utility vehicles. But the 626 was Morris's first car and a reminder of his climb to success. When Brown's Fairfax Mazda, a Washington-area dealership, heard about his dedication to his car, it decided to refurbish the 626 for him.