Auto industry drives most intimate brand relationships

The four highest ranking automotive brands are: BMW, Toyota, Harley-Davidson and GMC.

NEW YORK — Four out of the top 10 most intimate brands are in the automotive industry, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2015 Report, which examines ultimate brand relationships.

“Automotive is the highest ranking industry across all three of our markets, the U.S., Mexico and the UAE. That’s pretty suggestive of the strong bonds people have with their cars and the ability of this category to connect with consumers,” stated Mario Natarelli, MBLM’s managing partner. “Car brands are more than one of our most significant purchases. They represent our sensibilities and our status in life. As important as these values are to consumers, fulfillment of the brand (how well it exceeds expectations, delivers superior service, quality and efficacy) remains a top factor. Recent experiences by brands like Volkswagen will likely have profound effects on the bonds with their consumers.”

In the auto industry, the top 10 is rounded out by:

  • Jeep
  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Chrysler
  • Honda

“With all the dramatic evolution in this category enhanced by technology and from trends like car sharing and autonomous driving, intimate brands will win in the long term,” added Natarelli.

This year’s report contains one of the most comprehensive rankings of brands based on emotion, analyzing the responses of 6,000 consumers and 52,000 brand evaluations across nine industries in the U.S., Mexico and UAE. MBLM’s reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of the consumer bonds.

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Color Chrysler’s customers traditional not jaded

2013 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic

2013 Dodge Challenger R/T Classic

BY GERRY MILES

We like what we like.

Growing up, my preference is still for a vanilla or gold cake with  similar icing if given the chance. A sibling who would get chocolate ice cream with chocolate sauce and chocolate jimmys on top.

The above choices, while not extravagant are popular mainstays.

Chrysler just announced that despite some 90 paint color choices, their most popular 2013 model year colors are black, white and silver. I understand.

In 2012, white was the most popular car color, according to a study by PPG. Chrysler’s top color thus far in 2013 is Black Clear Coat.

Here are the top five colors among all Chrysler brands:
1. Black Clear Coat
2. Bright White Clear Coat
3. Billet Metallic Clear Coat
4. Deep Cherry Red Crystal Coat
5. Mineral Gray Metallic Clear Coat.

“It’s all about the brand. We create colors that will reinforce and accentuate each brand,” Head of Exterior Color & Trim Studio Jim Parker said. “For example, the Dodge Challenger is a muscle car and we aim to keep the heritage of the vehicle by offering lots of colors like HEMI Orange (above), ToRed and Plum Crazy.”

Below are the top five colors for each brand. Check them out and weigh in with which Chrysler car colors you prefer on the Chrysler Communications Facebook Page.

Chrysler Brand:
1. Deep Cherry Crystal Pearl Coat
2. Billet Metallic Clear Coat
3. Black Clear Coat
4. Bright White Clear Coat
5. Cashmere Pearl Coat

Dodge Brand:
1. Black Clear Coat
2. Bright White Clear Coat
3. Redline 2 Coat Pearl
4. Tungsten Metallic Clear Coat
5. Billet Metallic Clear Coat

Jeep Brand:
1. Bright White Clear Coat
2. Black Clear Coat
3. Brilliant Black Crystal Pearl Coat
4. Mineral Gray Metallic Clear Coat
5. Billet Metallic Clear Coat

SRT Viper Brand:
1. Viper GTS Blue
2. Adrenaline Red
3. Black Clear Coat
4. Stryker Red Tri-Color Pearl
5. Viper White Clear Coat

Ram Trucks Brand:
1. Black Clear Coat
2. Bright White Clear Coat
3. Mineral Gray Metallic Clear Coat
4. Deep Cherry Red Crystal Pearl Coat
5. Bright Silver Metallic Clear Coat

FIAT USA Brand:
1. Nero (Black)
2. Bianco (White)
3. Rosso (Red)
4. Verde Chiaro (Light Green)
5. Grigio (Gray)

Edmunds.com: June sales cap strong first half of 2013

BY GERRY MILES

Percolating automotive sales, in the face of a herky-jerky stock market and stalled unemployment is reason for Edmunds.com to tip its cap to the industry for a strong 2013 year of sales.

Edmunds.com forecasts 1,365,496 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in June for an estimated Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) this month of 15.5 million light vehicles. The projected sales will be a 5.3 percent decrease from May, but a 6.3 percent increase from June 2012. This month’s sales performance is expected deliver the biggest volume and SAAR for the month of June since 2007.

SALES VOLUME FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER

Sales Volume

June 2013 Forecast

June 2012

May 2013

Change from June 2012*

Change from May 2013*

GM

252,071

248,750

252,894

1.3%

-0.3%

Ford

231,493

207,204

246,019

11.7%

-5.9%

Toyota

190,247

177,795

207,952

7.0%

-8.5%

Chrysler Group

159,496

144,811

166,596

10.1%

-4.3%

Honda

136,473

124,808

140,013

9.3%

-2.5%

Hyundai/Kia

111,829

115,139

120,685

-2.9%

-7.3%

Nissan

98,952

92,237

114,457

7.3%

-13.5%

VW/Audi

50,259

50,834

51,241

-1.1%

-1.9%

Industry

1,365,496

1,284,775

1,442,551

6.3%

-5.3%

“Within the last month we saw a slowing stock market and a stalled unemployment recovery, but the automotive market continues to shine through it all,” says Edmunds.com Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. “The first half of 2013 was every bit as strong as the auto industry could expect at the beginning of the year, and there’s no reason why the next six months can’t maintain the same momentum.”

Edmunds.com estimates that retail SAAR will come in at 12.7 million vehicles in June, with fleet transactions accounting for 18.4 percent of total sales. An estimated 3.07 million used cars will be sold in June, for a SAAR of 37.2 million (compared to 3.12 million – or a SAAR of 36.6 million – used car sales in May).

AUTOMAKER PERFORMANCE

Chrysler’s spat with NHTSA over Jeep recalls earlier this month had some industry observers wondering how it would impact the brand’s sales. In fact, Edmunds.com projects that Jeep sales will fall 5.0 percent year over year in June, but that could be attributed to the discontinued Liberty, which is being replaced by the Cherokee later this year. Chrysler’s overall sales are projected to jump 10.1 percent this month over last year, thanks to a strong showing by Dodge and Ram, which are each expected to climb 25 percent this month.

MARKET SHARE FORECAST, BY MANUFACTURER

Market Share

Jun-13 Forecast

Jun-12

May-13

Change from
June 2012
(Percentage pts.)

Change from May 2013
(Percentage pts.)

GM

18.5%

19.4%

17.5%

-0.9%

0.9%

Ford

17.0%

16.1%

17.1%

0.8%

-0.1%

Toyota

13.9%

13.8%

14.4%

0.1%

-0.5%

Chrysler Group

11.7%

11.3%

11.5%

0.4%

0.1%

Honda

10.0%

9.7%

9.7%

0.3%

0.3%

Hyundai/Kia

8.2%

9.0%

8.4%

-0.8%

-0.2%

Nissan

7.2%

7.2%

7.9%

0.1%

-0.7%

VW/Audi

3.7%

4.0%

3.6%

-0.3%

0.1%

Meanwhile Hyundai and Kia did nothing to silence talk that the brands have peaked. Their 111,829 combined projected sales this month are off almost three percent from June of last year. VW/Audi (-1.1 percent) is the only other major automaker projected to report a decline in year-over-year sales in June.

More insight into recent auto industry trends can be found in Edmunds.com’s Industry Center at http://www.edmunds.com/industry-center/.

Chrysler, NHTSA to work out Jeep recall situation

BY GERRY MILES

After initially rebutting the request for a recall on alleged safety issues from NHTA, and drawing a large spotlight upon itself in the name of consumer safety, Chrysler issued the following statement yesterday on the situation, saying that it was sure a voluntary, visible recall effort would be effective. Below is the full statement from Chrysler.
Chrysler Group LLC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have resolved their differences with respect to NHTSA’s request to recall 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee and 2002-07 Jeep Liberty vehicles.

As a result of the agreement, Chrysler Group will conduct a voluntary campaign with respect to the vehicles in question that, in addition to a visual inspection of the vehicle will, if necessary, provide an upgrade to the rear structure of the vehicle to better manage crash forces in low-speed impacts.

Chrysler Group’s analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group. Nonetheless, Chrysler Group recognizes that this matter has raised concerns for its customers and wants to take further steps, in coordination with NHTSA, to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles.

Chrysler Group regards safety as a paramount concern and does not compromise on the safety of our customers and their families.

Porsche, Nissan dealers tops responding to internet inquiries: Piped Piper

Audi, Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler lauded for improvement; 1 in 4 internet queries goes unanswered after 24 hours
BY GERRY MILES

It may seem obvious if the web sites you check show a pop up screen with a salesmen at the ready to answer your posit on a new vehicle on the lot, that they want your business (and we all know how many check websites before they do their showroom shopping) but a new study sales that 1 in 4 web checks is unanswered after 24 hours.

Overall, the study by Pied Piper PSI® Internet Lead Effectiveness™ (ILE™) Study showed salespeople responded to internet inquiries within 30 minutes nearly half the time (48%).  Two years ago it took a full hour to receive the same percentage of salesperson responses. Pied Pipe said that today the first response to a customer internet inquiry is an auto response 79% of the time, a personal response 14% of the time, and no response of any type 7% of the time.

Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to actual industry sales success.

Audi, Porsche and Hyundai dealerships showed the most improvement from the previous year. Nissan, as well as Chrysler Group LLC brands Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler, recorded the second year in a row of solid gains, which pushed Nissan, Dodge and Jeep into the top five of the rankings.

“Dealership performance handling internet leads can be invisible from dealership management, or even worse, hidden behind misleading data,” said Fran O’Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC.  “Shining a light on actual performance is the first step.”

Chrysler Group’s recent efforts have successfully pushed Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler’s PSI-ILE rankings from 27th, 30th and 29th in 2011 to 3rd, 3rd and 6th in 2013.

The study said that Mini, Volvo and BMW salespeople were twice as likely to reply with an answer to specific customer questions as salespeople from Lincoln, Kia or Land Rover dealerships.  Dealers encourage follow-up by telephone if customers provide a phone number.  Salespeople from Ford, Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz dealerships all attempted to follow-up by telephone at least 60% of the time.  Salespeople from Lexus, GMC, Volkswagen and Land Rover dealerships were least likely to attempt to follow-up by telephone.

Of course you can’t call whom doesn’t give you a number, and that makes sense. And if you ping the dealer with a question and the sales folk are all busy at that time, response time can be delayed. That makes sense, too.

If nothing else, it shows that Internet tire-kicking is taken seriously and those who treat it so will likely reap the benefits in the showroom with a sale.

The 2013 Pied Piper PSI® Internet Lead Effectiveness™(ILE™) Benchmarking Study (U.S.A.) was conducted between April 2012 and March 2013 by submitting internet inquiries to a sample of 11,353 dealerships nationwide representing all major brands.