“Too Poor To Drive”. This is the gut level conclusion that’s been propagated in “Generation Why” since January, 2012, long before the theory gained currency in the broader automotive world. In the nearly two years since, the “kids aren’t interested in cars because of technology/the environment/urbanization” meme has held up tenaciously – and it’s not entirely false.
Howls of protests ensued when GM stopped disclosing monthly production numbers, touching off, says Automotive News [sub], “concern among industry analysts and economists, as well as suppliers that rely on the data for their production plans.“ The industry paper explains what is wrong with this move: (Read More…)
Something I’ve long maintained (and that has been backed up by many of the B&B) is that young people still like cars and do care about them. The issue of falling car ownership among young people is largely an economic one. The cost of living is going up while wages are stagnating. Gasoline is expensive. Student debt, smartphones and rent are more important obligations than car payments, insurance and fuel. All of that can be quantified with data.
What hasn’t been so easily demonstrable was that young people still like cars, despite the wishful thinking of many who cheer for the end to the automobile era. Now we finally have some good research that backs up my gut feeling.
With China being the world’s largest car market, and the largest market of many of our carmakers, getting good and timely data is essential for stock analysts and journalists alike. Bloomberg has an exasperated story that cries about the absolute mess in China when it comes to hard data. It also describes the great lengths analysts go to when gauging Chinese car sales. No wonder the analyst reports are often messier than even the messiest Chinese data: (Read More…)
Some hackers must have some serious beef with Japanese companies. It’s getting painful. Sony, still reeling from a massive security breach, now received an invitation to a congressional grilling. Sony is not alone. Honda Canada found personal information from 283,000 Honda and Acura customers stolen. Jerry Chenkin, executive vice-president and chief compliance officer at Honda Canada Inc., confirmed to The Toronto Star “that names, addresses and vehicle identification numbers were taken from the company’s e-commerce websites myHonda and myAcura, with suspicious activity on the site first detected in late February. “ (Read More…)
A lot has changed in the auto industry in the three years since I started writing here at TTAC, and one of the more heartening developments has been the move towards ever greater transparency for all kinds of data, from sales breakouts to incentives to sales-weighted fuel economy. Though I’d like to think that TTAC played a role in helping push towards greater transparency and disclosure, the real heroes of this story are Hyundai (which has begun to release its sales-weighted fuel economy each month and is moving towards quarterly fleet sales breakouts) and TrueCar, which has possibly done more to put information in the hands of auto consumers than anyone else (TTAC included). TTAC thanks everyone who is helping push the industry towards ever more disclosure, and invites you to take advantage of these newly-available data points in order to better understand the ever-evolving face of the US auto industry. Here we present TrueCar’s TrueMPG data for April, which shows a .2 MPG improvement across the industry since April 2010.
It looks like Gawker can find solace in the reassuring fact that they are not the only ones who ended up with a purloined database, containing the privates private details of all their customers. Intimate customer data of Honda has also been robbed and plundered. See, it happens to the best of them. (Read More…)
Honda’s decision to delay a redesign of its Civic piqued some curiosity amongst our Best & Brightest, particularly Mark MacInnis who requested a five-year sales chart on the Civic and a few competitors. We’ve gone one better and worked up a 15-year graph of sales volume for some of the more popular compact sedans in the US. Of course a significant number of those pre-2001 Civics were hatchbacks, and Toyota counts its Matrix hatch as a Corolla, so the numbers are just a little skewed. Still, it gives a fairly good sense of where the major players stand in this important segment.
We live to serve here at TTAC, so when our faithful commentators requested a comparative graph of Chevy Suburban and Tahoe Sales from the heart of the SUV boom, who were we to say no? And sure enough, there are some interest lessons to be learned from the exercise. In 1999, as the SUV boom headed for the stratosphere, the ‘burban actually passed the Tahoe in terms of volume for one year. But the fad wouldn’t last: Suburban sales peaked in 2001, a year before the Tahoe topped out at nearly 209k units. The Suburban also fell further, suffering big year-over-year losses until a pre-gas-shock uptick in 2007, a year after the Tahoe recorded its first post-peak upswing. Counter-intuitively, the 2008 gas shock actually hurt Tahoe volumes even worse than Suburban, shedding over 50k units (or about 60 percent) compared to 2007 levels. Over the same period, the Suburban “only” lost 30k units of volume (about 55 percent).
Considering the Suburban so essentially captures the tenuous line between myth and reality in American life, it’s a pity we don’t have 75 years of sales data to put some hard numbers behind the nameplate’s 75 years of history. Luckily, our data does go back to 1995, when America’s whirlwind romance with the SUV was just beginning to get serious. Given that, as Paul points out in today’s history, Suburbans didn’t become popular as family haulers until sometime in the early eighties, it’s safe to assume that 1996-2004 represents the absolute high-water mark for the nameplate’s volume. And ye gods has that volume dropped off ever since.
We love us some data here at TTAC, and since we’re already looking at a grip of sales data today, we thought we’d add this excellent infographic that appeared in Sunday’s New York Times to the mix. It depicts America’s per-capita miles driven on the x-axis, and the price of gasoline on the y-axis, and shows that the two aren’t as inextricably linked as some might have thought. As we try to make sense of monthly sales data and look for “the new normal,” this kind of data provides a crucial context for month-by-month trends. We hope you find it as enjoyable and illuminating as we did.
What’s wrong with this picture? TTAC loves sales data, but lately we’ve become a little jaded with our own efforts to provide a thorough look under the hood of the industry. And as everyone in the auto business knows, when the going gets tough, the tough get outsourcing. TTAC is proud to announce that we’ve concluded a deal with the fine data crunchers at Morgan & Company, giving us (and you!) access to their magical spreadsheet kingdom. Needless to say, we’ll be spending much of 2010 wallowing in the beautiful data in hopes of providing a better picture of the industry’s nuts and bolts. For now, check out this chart of Detroit’s market share swan dive since the early 90s. One of these things is not like the other…