Sorry for interrupting, this website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Learn more
Accept & Close

Car Buying - US - January 2010

This report explores the automotive retail market in the US. It provides insight into the external and internal factors affecting new and used vehicle sales, consumption, and driver trends and what they mean for future sales, promotional campaigns, and industry innovations. Specific questions that are answered in this report include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • What effects do rising gasoline costs, automobile prices and the economic downturn have on the overall market?
  • Which segments of the automotive retail market are stagnating, and what can be done to increase activity?
  • What is the dynamic between new vehicle sales and used vehicle sales and parts/service and how can dealerships stay ahead by massaging one more than the others?
  • How has the growth of the internet affected the behavior of consumers during the automobile research and buying process?
  • How have government incentives, such as the “Cash for Clunkers” program, affected automotive sales and consumer behavior?
  • How can automotive dealerships take advantage of the economic downturn to appeal to consumers seeking a new or used vehicle?
  • Which media are industry leaders using most to deliver effective marketing campaigns, and what actions need to be taken to improve visibility?

What you get

What's included

Why buy from us?

Succeed

Our reports will provide you with market data, consumer research and competitive intelligence to succeed in your market.

Instant Access

Buy now and you'll have instant access to the information you need to make the right decisions.

Opportunities

Find out what's next in the markets that matter to you: where opportunities lie and what challenges you will face.

Trusted

A business Superbrand, Mintel is a source you can trust. We have been defining and refining the Market Intelligence mix since 1972.

Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data Sources
          • Sales data
            • Consumer survey data
              • Advertising creative
                • Abbreviations and terms
                  • Abbreviations
                    • Terms
                    • Executive Summary

                      • Dealership revenues plummeted in 2008 and continued to fall in 2009
                        • Sales of both new and used cars in steep decline
                          • Used vehicle supply declined as a result of poor sales, fewer trade-ins
                            • Wholesale auction sales down; industry goes online
                              • The internet is now an essential element of car buying process
                                • Credit has loosened, though many consumers still face barriers
                                  • “Cash for Clunkers” spurs summer buying
                                    • More dealerships close in 2009 than any other time on record
                                      • More than a third of respondents are still buying cars
                                        • Dealers use creative methods to attract consumers to showrooms
                                          • Automakers use direct communication to repair brand image
                                            • Ad spends declining since 2003; explosive growth seen in internet ads
                                              • Consumer survey results
                                              • Insights and Opportunities

                                                • Embrace stimulus initiatives, shake hands with the government
                                                  • Rise of electric vehicles could provide opportunity for savvy dealers
                                                    • Dealers can help transition consumers to online buying
                                                    • Inspire Insights

                                                        • Trend 1: Simplicity and Convenience
                                                          • Convenience means far more ease and portability
                                                            • Dealerships will benefit by allowing convenience to start from home
                                                              • Trend 2: Ego Is All
                                                                • Let’s be honest ourselves: ego is (still) all
                                                                  • Dealerships massaging consumer ingenuity at their own expense
                                                                  • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Dealership revenues plummeted in 2008, continued to fall in 2009
                                                                        • Figure 1: Total sales at new car dealerships, at current prices, 2004-09
                                                                        • Figure 2: Total sales at new car dealership, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2004-09
                                                                    • Segment Performance

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Both new, used car sales see steep decline
                                                                            • Figure 3: U.S. sales at new car dealerships, by segment, 2005 and 2008
                                                                        • Segment Performance—New Vehicles

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • New vehicle revenue in steep decline
                                                                              • Figure 4: U.S. sales of new vehicles at new car dealerships, 2001-08
                                                                            • Number of vehicles sold, sticker prices fall
                                                                              • Figure 5: Number of new vehicles sold and average selling price, 1997-2008
                                                                          • Segment Performance—Used Vehicles

                                                                            • Key points
                                                                              • Used vehicle revenue in steep decline
                                                                                • Figure 6: U.S. sales of used vehicles at new car dealerships, 2001-08
                                                                              • Dealership supply of used vehicles declined, sticker prices rose in 2009
                                                                              • Segment Performance— Service and Parts Sales

                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                  • Service and parts sales flat, account for all net profits
                                                                                      • Figure 7: U.S. sales of service and parts at new car dealerships, 2001-08
                                                                                  • Automobile Auctions

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Wholesale closed auction sales down
                                                                                        • Wholesale auctions heading online
                                                                                          • eBay Motors offers consumers an assist into auction market
                                                                                          • Online Car Buying

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • The internet now an essential element of car buying process
                                                                                                • Majority of respondents disagree with having to research/order car online
                                                                                                  • Figure 8: Attitudes towards online buying, by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                • Young respondents more open to purchasing online
                                                                                                  • Figure 9: Attitudes towards online buying, by age, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                • Households earning $100K or more inclined to purchase/order cars online
                                                                                                  • Figure 10: Attitudes towards online buying, by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                                                • Credit loosening up, though many consumers still face barriers
                                                                                                  • Cash for Clunkers driving consumers back to showrooms
                                                                                                    • More dealerships close in 2009 than any other time on record
                                                                                                    • Who is Buying Cars?

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • More than a third of respondents still buying cars; more buying used
                                                                                                          • Figure 11: Who purchased or leased a new vehicle in last 24 months, by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                        • Respondents aged 18-24 purchasing used at greater rates than older peers
                                                                                                          • Figure 12: Who purchased or leased a new vehicle in last 24 months, by age, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                        • Households earning less than $25K least likely to purchase cars
                                                                                                          • Figure 13: Who purchased or leased a new vehicle in last 24 months, by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                        • Midwest respondents buying used cars at greater rates than other regions
                                                                                                          • Figure 14: Who purchased or leased a new vehicle in last 24 months, by region, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                      • Who is Buying Cars – Last 12 Months

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Respondents show no increase in purchases over past 12 months
                                                                                                            • Figure 15: Who purchased or leased a new vehicle in last 12 or 24 months, by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                          • Respondents aged 18-24 more likely to have purchased in past 12 months
                                                                                                            • Figure 16: Respondents who purchased or leased a new vehicle in last 12 or 24 months, by age, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                          • Households earning $25K or less purchasing the least in both time periods
                                                                                                            • Figure 17: Respondents who purchased or leased a new vehicle in last 12 or 24 months, by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                        • Brand Qualities

                                                                                                          • Dealers using creative methods to attract consumers to showrooms
                                                                                                            • Dealers looking to capitalize on the growth of hybrids
                                                                                                              • Dealers, third party websites reaching out to Hispanics
                                                                                                              • Innovation and Innovators

                                                                                                                • vAuto helps dealers manage used-vehicle inventory
                                                                                                                  • Hyundai extends successful, innovative Assurance program through 2010
                                                                                                                    • Automakers use direct communication to repair brand image
                                                                                                                      • AutoNation expands online business with AutoDirect
                                                                                                                      • Advertising and Promotion

                                                                                                                        • Ad spends declining since 2003; explosive growth seen in internet ads
                                                                                                                          • Figure 18: Dealership media spend, by segment and annual total, 2002-07
                                                                                                                        • Social media allows auto dealers to interact with consumers personally
                                                                                                                          • Television spots promoting website visits
                                                                                                                            • Figure 19: Toyota ad, 2009
                                                                                                                            • Figure 20: Hyundai ad, 2009
                                                                                                                          • Local dealerships promote financing and low prices to buy now
                                                                                                                            • Figure 21: JM Lexus ad, 2010
                                                                                                                            • Figure 22: Tim Dahle Nissan ad, 2009
                                                                                                                          • Third party seller AutoTrader.com emphasizes choices
                                                                                                                            • Figure 23: AutoTrader.com ad, 2009
                                                                                                                        • Where Cars Are Purchased

                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                            • Most cars bought at dealerships, brand loyalty has less impact in recession
                                                                                                                              • Figure 24: Where most recent vehicle in last 24 months was purchased/leased, by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                            • Respondents aged 18-24 more open to non-dealership channels
                                                                                                                              • Figure 25: Where most recent vehicle in last 24 months was purchased/leased, by age, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                            • Highest-income households prefer single-brand dealerships
                                                                                                                              • Figure 26: Where most recent vehicle in last 24 months was purchased/leased, by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                          • What Incentives Are Influencing Purchasing

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Low financing rates, warranty influencing respondent purchasing the most
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Incentives to purchase/lease a vehicle in last 24 months, by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                • Warranty most important to respondents aged 18-24, 65+
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Incentives to purchase/lease a vehicle in last 24 months, by age, October 21-November 2, 2009?
                                                                                                                                • Respondents earning $25K or less more inclined to Cash for Clunkers
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: What incentives compelled respondents to purchase/lease a vehicle in last 24 months, by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009?
                                                                                                                              • Satisfaction of Car Buyers

                                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                                  • Women buyers more satisfied in all areas of buying process
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: Satisfaction with aspects of car buying process, by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Respondents aged 18-24 most concerned, least satisfied with test drive
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: Satisfaction with aspects of car buying process, by age, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Dealers achieve satisfaction on far ends of household income spectrum
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Satisfaction with aspects of car buying process, by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                  • Attitudes of Car Buyers — Dealer Work Ethic

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Respondents expect more from dealers during recession
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Attitudes towards dealership work ethic, by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                      • Greater household income, greater expectations of dealerships
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Attitudes towards dealership work ethic, by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                    • Attitudes of Car Buyers — Automaker Difficulties

                                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                                        • Respondents divided on sense of automaker responsibility
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 35: Attitudes towards automaker difficulties, by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Youngest respondents less likely to hold automakers accountable
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Attitudes towards automaker difficulties, by age, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Most affluent households blame automakers for difficulties at greatest rates
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Attitudes towards automaker difficulties, by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                        • Attitudes of Car Buyers — “Cash for Clunkers”

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Young, middle aged respondents open to new “Cash for Clunkers” program
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Attitudes towards “cash for clunkers,” by age, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Middle-income households open to new “Cash for Clunkers” program
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Attitudes about “cash for clunkers,” by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes of Car Buyers — Attention to Needs

                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                              • Majority of respondents feel car dealers often ignore their needs
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 40: Attitudes towards dealers’ respect for their needs, by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Respondents aged 25-34, 35-44 feel their needs more slighted by dealers
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 41: Attitudes towards dealers’ respect for their needs, by age, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                            • Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Hispanic respondents more likely to be buying cars than whites, blacks
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 42: Who purchased or leased a new vehilce in last 12 or 24 monhts, by race/Hispanic origin, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Hispanic respondents brand loyal; blacks prefer multi-brand dealerships
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 43: Where most recent vehilce in last 24 monhts was purchased/leased, by race/Hispanic origin, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Hispanics, blacks prefer low financing, warranties than whites
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 44: Incentives used to purchase/lease a vehilce in last 24 monhts, by race/Hispanic origin, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Black, Hispanic respondents more satisfied with play area for children
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 45: Satsifaction with aspects of car buying process, by race/Hispanic origin, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Hispanic respondents more open to online buying
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Attitudes towards online car buying, by race/Hispanic origin, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Black, Hispanic respondents most open to second “Cash for Clunkers”
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 47: Attitudes towards “cash for clunkers,” by race/Hispanic origin, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                • Hispanic respondents most likely to feel needs ignore
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 48: Attitudes towards dealers’ respect for their needs, by race/Hispanic origin, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                              • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                                  • Thrifties
                                                                                                                                                    • Traditionalists
                                                                                                                                                      • Deal Makers
                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Car buying clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Where cars are purchased, by car buying clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Incentives used, by car buying clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Satisfaction levels for buying process, by car buying clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Buyer attitudes towards buying process, by car buying clusters, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Car buying clusters, by gender, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Car buying clusters, by age group, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 56: Car buying clusters, by income group, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 57: Car buying clusters, by race, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 58: Car buying clusters, by Hispanic origin, October 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards dealership work ethic and age
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 59: Attitudes towards dealershp work ethic, by age, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards “Cash for Clunkers” and gender
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 60: Attitudes towards “cash for clunkers,” by gender, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards dealership respect for needs and household income
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 61: Attitudes towards dealers’ respect for their needs, by household income, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards dealership work ethic and race and Hispanic origin
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 62: Attitudes towards dealershp work ethic, by race/Hispanic origin, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                          • Attitudes towards automaker difficulties and race and Hispanic origin
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 63: Attitudes towards automaker difficulties, by race/Hispanic origin, October 21-November 2, 2009
                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                          • AB Volvo
                                                                                                                                                          • Alliance Of Automobile Manufacturers, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Ally Financial Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
                                                                                                                                                          • Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG)
                                                                                                                                                          • AutoNation, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • CNW Marketing Research, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Ford Motor Company (USA)
                                                                                                                                                          • Greenfield Online
                                                                                                                                                          • Hyundai Motor America
                                                                                                                                                          • Mazda North American Operations
                                                                                                                                                          • Mercedes-Benz USA
                                                                                                                                                          • Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
                                                                                                                                                          • National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA)
                                                                                                                                                          • Nissan North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • The Boston Consulting Group Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • Toyota Motor Corporation USA
                                                                                                                                                          • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                          • U.S. Department of Transportation
                                                                                                                                                          • Volkswagen of America, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                          Car Buying - US - January 2010

                                                                                                                                                          £3,199.84 (Excl.Tax)