Smartphone users as serious about shopping as desktop pc users: Edmunds.com

Analysis Identifies Key Differences Between Smartphone and Desktop Car Shoppers, as well as iOS vs. Android Shoppers

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Car shoppers using smartphones to access Edmunds.com’s are just as likely – if not more likely – to engage in serious shopping behaviors than those at desktop computers, laptops and tablets, according to a new analysis by the company. The conclusion is one of many takeaways from the research, which offers important insights to automotive retailers as they consider how to invest their resources to meet the crush of shoppers who are turning more to their smartphones to help them make car-buying decisions.

Even though smartphone users spend less time on Edmunds than wired users, they view as many or more pages during that time, and they’re more likely to focus their research on specific vehicles. According to the analysis, 79 percent of smartphone users on Edmunds research at least one specific vehicle model during their time on the site, surpassing even the impressive rate of about 65 percent of wired users.

Smartphone users view local inventory listings at rates more than 30 percent higher than their wired counterparts, suggesting that they are generally lower in the funnel of the car buying process.

“One of the most explicit car shopping behaviors that consumers can exhibit is viewing local inventory, and smartphone users are especially inclined to engage in this behavior,” says Edmunds.com Chief Economist Dr. Lacey Plache. “Not all mobile users are just playing: many are really serious about using their phones to assist in buying a car.”

Edmunds’ analysis also examined the shopping preferences of both iOS and Android smartphone users. According to an analysis of page views by these two groups, the most popular automotive brand on both operating systems is Toyota. But a deeper look shows stark differences between iOS and Android loyalists: Three luxury brands (BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Lexus), for example, appear on the list of the ten most researched brands for iOS users, compared to just one luxury brand (BMW) for Android users. iOS users also skew more toward Honda (#2 on the brand list) than do Android users (#4 on the brand list).

Most Popular Brands on Edmunds.com – iOS vs Android Users

Rank     iOS                     Android

  1.  Toyota                    Toyota
  2.  Honda                    Chevrolet
  3.  Ford                       Ford
  4.  Chevrolet                Honda
  5.  BMW                      Nissan
  6.  Nissan                    Dodge
  7.  Mercedes-Benz      Mazda
  8.  Jeep                       BMW
  9.  Lexus                     Hyundai
  10.  Mazda                    Jeep

Source: Edmunds.com

Edmunds’ mobile shopper analysis reveals the following additional key findings:

Used car shoppers are especially engaged on mobile. Smartphone site visitors show a stronger preference for used vehicles than wired site visitors (with 53 percent of smartphone visitors looking up used cars vs. 38 percent of wired visitors). And among shoppers who only consider used car content on Edmunds, the share of smartphone shoppers browsing used car inventory on Edmunds is 40 percent higher than the share of wired shoppers.
Mobile shoppers are younger. According to Edmunds’ research, 55 percent of smartphone visitors are Millennials (age 18 to 34), compared to 26 percent of wired site users. And a recent Millennial Study conducted by Edmunds found that 80 percent of Millennials used their mobile devices to help them with at least one car shopping task, compared to just 46 percent of people age 35 and over.
Smartphone shoppers engage more with advertising. Smartphone users are at least 2.5 times more likely to click on ads than wired site visitors, andmobile engagement has tripled compared to last year. An analysis of post-Edmunds activity found that these mobile clickers continue to perform seriousshopping activities on the OEM or dealer sites where their ad clicks redirect them, suggesting that these engagements are not due to accidental clicks or by mistaking ads for Edmunds content.
The overall mobile audience is growing rapidly. Edmunds’ mobile site users and traffic have more than doubled since 2012.

Start your Hyundai from your watch? There’s an app for that.

BY GERRY MILES

  • Apple Watch is Compatible with First and Second Generation Blue Link Equipped Hyundai Models

  • Commands Work with Voice Recognition and Touch

 At one time it was cool to make an overpriced phone call from a plane for what was it…$8 just to say you did it? And then we have iPhones, smart this and that could start a car remotely, turn up the heat or AC so that by the time you go to the car from the airport shuttle your ride was right. Then we took the whole Dick Tracy wristwatch thing a step further allowing us to pay for things.

Now, in the automotive world, Hyundai is among the first to now remotely flash their car lights in a crowded parking lot, lock the doors and or start it using the new Blue Link app for Apple Watch. As a leader in connected cars, and connectivity, which the New England Motor Press Association championed years ago as the next wave in technology at its annual spring award show at MIT, Hyundai is always looking for new ways to connect owners to their vehicles. The latest Blue Link app update, which includes the companion app for Apple Watch, is available as a free download on the App Store starting today.

HYUNDAI LAUNCHES BLUE LINK APP FOR APPLE WATCH

The Hyundai Blue Link Smartwatch app on Apple Watch

“Giving customers more ways to connect with their cars is what it is all about,” said Frank Ferrara, executive vice president, customer satisfaction, Hyundai Motor America. “The Blue Link Apple Watch app complements all of our other high-tech features. Drivers can get into a Sonata today and find iPhone integration, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection and a smart trunk that will open automatically when you stand behind it.”

HYUNDAI LAUNCHES BLUE LINK APP FOR APPLE WATCH

 

Hyundai Blue Link Smartwatch App features

Hyundai’s cloud-based Blue Link platform allows features like remote start and service information to be quickly accessed through devices like smartwatches and smartphones. The new app is easy to use. The wearer simply taps an icon or uses voice commands to execute remote functions. Pushing the microphone icon on the watch activates the voice function, where the driver can execute commands such as “Start my car,” “Lock my car” or “Find my car.”

HYUNDAI LAUNCHES BLUE LINK APP FOR APPLE WATCH

The Hyundai Blue Link Smartwatch app on Apple Watch

The Blue Link Apple Watch app works with first and next generation Blue Link equipped Hyundai models. The first generation Blue Link system rolled out on the 2012 Sonata and expanded across the lineup through 2013. Next generation Blue Link equipped models include the 2015 Genesis, Sonata and Azera. The Apple Watch app provides all Blue Link users, including first gen owners, with even more freedom interacting with their Hyundai.

Blue Link Apple Watch app features (all voice activated):

  • Remote Engine Start
  • Remote Engine Stop (Only available when vehicle is in remote engine start mode)
  • Remote Door Lock / Unlock
  • Remote Flash Lights / Honk Horn
  • Car Finder
  • Vehicle Status
  • Parking Meter

 

Thirsty 30 oil guzzling cars from Consumer Reports

BMWs, Audis, Subarus top list of 2010-14 models that have
higher-than-average rate of oil consumption

YONKERS, NY ― An in-depth new analysis of data from Consumer Reports’ 2014 Annual Auto Survey revealed that several auto manufacturers are building engines – available in a number of widely sold models – that require frequently topping off engine oil between recommended oil changes.

Consumer Reports reviewed the survey data of owners of 498,900 vehicles from 2010 to 2014 model years, many of which are still under their powertrain warranty. Several engines emerged as the main offenders: Audi’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder and 3.0-liter V6, BMW’s 4.8 liter V8 and twin-turbocharged 4.4 liter V8, and to a lesser extent Subaru’s 3.6 liter six-cylinder and 2.0- and 2.5-liter four-cylinders.

Those engines are in many models that made CR’s “Thirsty 30” list of vehicles that have much higher rates of oil consumption overall than the average for their model years. Among them are the Audi A3, A4, A5, A6, and Q5; BMW 5, 6, and 7 Series, and X5; and Subaru Forester, Impreza, Legacy, and Outback.

“While it’s normal for cars to burn a little oil as they age toward 100,000 miles and beyond, we believe that for a late-model car to burn a quart or more of oil between changes is unacceptable,” said Mark Rechtin, Consumer Reports’ Cars Content Development Team Leader. “It’s also our strong opinion that any engine that burns oil between changes should be repaired under the powertrain warranty.”

The full report, including the entire “Thirsty 30” list, can be found online at ConsumerReports.org, and in the August 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Audi, BMW, and Subaru stuck firmly to the statement that oil consumption is a normal part of a car’s operation. Subaru considers a quart burned every 1,000 to 1,200 miles to be acceptable. Certain Audi and BMW cars’ standards state that a quart burned 600 to 700 miles is reasonable.

Not all engines suffer from this problem. In fact, Consumer Reports data shows that 98 percent of 2010-2014 cars do not require any topping off of engine oil between changes. But the remaining two percent that do burn oil excessively represents more than 1.5 million vehicles on the road. Several automakers are fighting class-action lawsuits regarding this problem.

Consumer Reports data does not show a direct connection between increased oil consumption and other engine problems. But CR’s survey data concerning 10 model years shows that if a car burns oil early in its life, it will burn even more as it ages. In tracking oil consumption by model year, engine families show increased consumption with each successive year on the road.

Car shoppers are white hot in the color palette, leaving red and blue behind

BY GERRY MILES

So what’s a red state like New Hampshire to do when car shoppers prefer blue? Enjoy the ride from the showroom along with car buyers from neighboring Vermont and the District of Columbia – remember them – who buy the most blue cars in a recent survey by Edmunds.com who helped me tie in a national theme with politics for July 4th.

The most popular color

While vanilla is often derided for its blandness, the color white is white hot overall as the most popular car color. Red and Blue rank fifth and sixth respectively. White cars are the most popular in hot places like Arizona, Utah and Mississippi.

Seeing Red

Red cars are the most popular in North Dakota, Oklahoma and West Virginia, Edmunds.com says.

Brand Colors
Land Rover sells white cars at a higher rate (34.1 percent of all its vehicles sold in 2015) than any other automotive brand. Scion is the most “red” brand (17.1 percent of all its vehicles sold in 2015), while Mazda is the most “blue” automaker (19.0 percent of all its cars sold).

Model Color Popularity
If you bought a Honda Ridgeline this year, the numbers says it was most likely white. More than half (53.2 percent) of all Ridgelines sold in 2015 are white. Blue appears to be the color of choice for VW Golf R buyers (49 percent of all units sold), and nearly one out of every three (31.9 percent) Mazda MX-5 Miatas sold this year are red.

Edmunds.com: Industry could have best June sales in 10 years

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Edmunds.com, the premier destination for car shopping, forecasts that 1,484,487 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in June for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) of 17.3 million. The projected sales will be a 9.0 percent decrease from May 2015, but a 4.7 percent increase from June 2014. If the sales volume holds, it will mark the best-selling month of June since 2006, and the biggest June SAAR since 2005.

“The auto industry has maintained most of the strength it flexed during its record-breaking May,” said Edmunds.com Director of Industry Analysis Jessica Caldwell. “In many parts of the country we saw May’s deal offers extend well into June, and Fourth of July promotions should start as early as next week. These sales messages are helping to sustain the industry’s momentum into the first few weeks of summer.”

Edmunds.com estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 14.1 million vehicles in June, with fleet transactions accounting for 18.3 percent of total sales. An estimated 2.98 million used cars will be sold in June, for a SAAR of 37.2 million (compared to 3.07 million – or a SAAR of 37.4 million – used car sales in May).

What economic factors are driving today’s heavy volume of shoppers to dealer showrooms? Edmunds.com Chief Economist Dr. Lacey Plache explains what car shoppers want at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/analysis/what-car-shoppers-want-now.html.

Michelin survey: We all remember our first… car

 

New campaign asks drivers to share their #FirstCarMoment and expand tire safety knowledge

GREENVILLE, S.C., — Getting the keys to your first car is a moment that people never forget. For most of us, that car – old, new or somewhere in between – represented a newfound freedom and independence. And of course, that freedom of driving carries an enormous responsibility to stay safe on the road. A new survey commissioned by Michelin North Americafinds that four out of five Americans can tell you about the make or model of their first car, but only one in five (21 percent) remember the type of tires – a key contributor in road safety.i

The survey also found that:

  • More than half of Americans (58 percent) got their first car before age 18.
  • While half (57 percent) purchased their first car themselves, more than one-third (39 percent) received it from someone else (either as a gift specifically purchased for them or as a hand-me-down).
  • When thinking about their first car, one-third of Americans (33 percent) were not familiar with how to maintain tire tread, and only half (53 percent) kept a tire pressure gauge in the glove box.

While tire safety is critical to consider all year long, summer is a significant time to remind people of its importance. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day marks the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers, based on accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and National Safety Council.

This summer, Michelin is kicking off a new effort encouraging consumers to share stories about their #firstcarmoment and learn more about the importance of tire safety.

“As a tire manufacturer focused on road safety for over 125 years, we feel we have an obligation to remind drivers that whether or not their first — or current — vehicle is in the best condition, their tires should be,” said Pierre Barrard, director of marketing, Michelin North America. “Ultimately, we want to reinforce that what matters most is the safety of the driver, their car and its tires.”

Accidents due to improper tire maintenance are preventable, and simple steps can save lives. Checking your tire pressure monthly with a pressure gauge and learning how to properly check tread depth are easy tasks that can help drivers correctly maintain their tires and contribute to overall vehicle safety.

The campaign is an extension of the company’s larger effort increase awareness of road safety. To learn more about the campaign, visit Michelin Man on YouTube. To learn more about tire maintenance and keeping young drivers safe on the road, including how to check tire tread and pressure, visit beyondthedrivingtest.com.

Edmunds.com Announces 2015 Best Retained Value Awards

  • Toyota and Acura Win Brand Awards
  • 15 Car Companies Win Model Awards

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Toyota and Acura took home the top prizes in the fifth annual Edmunds.com Best Retained Value® Awards, which recognize the brands and 2015 models that have the highest projected residual values after five years based on their average “cash” True Market Value® (TMV®) price during their first five months in the market, or for vehicles introduced in November or December of 2014, through March 2015. Toyota won in the non-luxury division with a projected 52.4 percent residual value after five years, and Acura won the luxury crown with a projected five-year residual value of 46.9 percent.

In addition to these brand-level awards, Edmunds.com issued model-level awards in 24 separate segments. Toyota had four winners, the most of any brand. A full list of all 24 model winners can be found in Appendix 1 below and on Edmunds.com Best Retained Value® Awards page at http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/best-retained-value-cars.html.

“Smart car shoppers who are likely to sell their car within five years should always stop and consider projected residual values before making a new car purchase,” said Edmunds.com Consumer Advice Editor Carroll Lachnit. “Whether you are leasing or buying, the retained value of a car can make a big difference in your wallet.”

Each brand with both more than 100,000 unit sales in 2014, and models offered within at least four vehicle-type categories, was eligible for this year’s brand-level Best Retained Value® Awards. Each model year 2015 vehicle that both was launched by the end of 2014, and had unit sales in February 2015 that were at least 25 percent of the average unit sales for the models in its segment was eligible for this year’s model-level Best Retained Value® Awards. Edmunds determined each model’s category for the 2015 awards based on its body type segment; for certain categories, the size of the model within its body type segment; and for certain categories, the model’s price and/or its competitive segment.

More details on Edmunds.com’s Best Retained Value® Awards can be found at http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/best-retained-value-cars.html.

APPENDIX I

2015 Edmunds.com Best Retained Value® Awards 

Model-Level Winners

Segment Make Model Average Retained Value after Five Years
Compact Car Subaru WRX 53.2%
Compact Crossover Suv Honda CR-V 55.2%
Midsize Truck Toyota Tacoma 64.5%
Entry Luxury Car Acura ILX 48.2%
Entry Luxury SUV Acura RDX 47.8%
Entry Sports Car Dodge Challenger 56.5%
Large Car Toyota Avalon 44.8%
Large Crossover SUV GMC Acadia 44.3%
Heavy Duty Truck Ford F-350 Super Duty 58.5%
Large Traditional SUV GMC Yukon 47.7%
Large Truck Toyota Tundra 57.2%
Midrange Luxury Car Lexus GS 350 46.3%
Midrange Luxury SUV Lexus GX 460 49.9%
Midrange Sports Car Chevrolet Corvette 52.2%
Midsize Car Subaru Legacy 48.5%
Midsize Crossover SUV Toyota Highlander 54.4%
Midsize Traditional SUV Jeep Wrangler 62.4%
Minivan Honda Odyssey 49.9%
Premium Luxury Car Porsche Panamera 44.7%
Premium Luxury SUV Mercedes-Benz G-Class 52.6%
Premium Sports Car Nissan GT-R 50.6%
Subcompact Car Honda Fit 54.5%
Small Commercial Van Ford Transit Connect 47.0%
Large Commercial Van Ram Promaster Cargo Van 44.1%