Autos in 2013 and beyond - industry trends to watch

03 Jan 2013 IHS Markit Automotive Expert

Many of you may be returning to work this week after an extended vacation around the holiday season. Welcome back! I'll keep this blog short and informative.

It's 2013 and the world didn't end last month as the Mayans (supposedly) predicted. Given this, we can officially remove Mayan prognosticators from the category of a legitimate forecasting entity. However, Polk has a few predictions. They go something like this:

  1. New auto sales for 2013 will jump 6.6 percent over last year. Our U.S. light vehicle forecast for 2013 is 15.4 million units. Two years after that, Polk expects to see sales break the 16 million mark (16.2 million by 2015).
  2. Most dealers and leaders running key units within an OEM will continue to struggle with owner loyalty given the number of new model introductions hitting the market (over 40) and an aggressive marketing strategy being put into effect by vitrually every OEM selling their product. With make loyalty hovering around 48 percent, it still means over half of any brand's customer base will defect (some to a sibling brand, but many outside of the corporation). On January 15, 2013, Polk will recognize superior customer loyalty to many of the automakers selling in the U.S. After seeing the results, I can tell you that only a few OEMs seem to have found a knack for keeping the fickle American car buyer within their fold.
  3. Hybrids will still be challenged (i.e., sub-3 percent market share) due to very affordable fuel-efficient vehicles powered by none other than good 'ol fossil fuel. Sales of 4-cylinder vehicles broke 50 percent last year in the U.S. and the sub-compact and compact car segment will be a focal segment in 2013.

I'll stop here at this point. Hopefully you've settled in and 2013 is off to a strong and stable start for you. We look forward to your comments and helping you understand, market and measure opportunities within the global automotive industry in the coming year.

Posted by Lonnie Miller, Vice President, Marketing & Industry Analysis, Polk (01.03.2013)


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