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New Cars - US - September 2016

"Over the past seven years the new car market has experienced consistent growth as the US economy recovered from the Great Recession. The market’s recovery from the Great Recession was remarkable. Mintel estimates slower growth for 2016 sales figures followed by a downturn in the automotive sales cycle before recovering to the recent sales levels. The new car market moving forward will be driven predominantly by Millennials as the generation enters peak earning years and begin starting families. Other factors such as the emergence of ride-sharing platforms, retiring Baby Boomers, rising gas prices, and an uncertain economic climate will impact the new car market."
- Buddy Lo, Automotive Analyst

This report discusses the following key topics:

  • New car market to slow briefly before resuming growth
  • Cheap gas helps fuel the light truck boom and dampen small car demand
  • Recalls and scandals impact consumer perceptions and buying behavior

This Report will focus on these factors as well as in-depth analysis of the following:

  • Sales, market share, and marketing activity of the leading 13 automakers, which control some 99% of the US new car market.
  • The new car consumer – who expects to purchase and when.
  • Consumer interest in vehicle styles, and most important features when considering a new car.

For the purposes of this Report, a “new car” will mean any newly assembled vehicle that has never been titled or registered before purchase and comes with a new vehicle warranty that initiates when the vehicle is sold.

“Car,” as defined for the purposes of this Report, will stand for any of the following vehicles that are bought through retail avenues and are intended for noncommercial use only: subcompact, compact, midsized or full-sized sedans, hatchbacks, or convertibles; compact, midsized, or full-sized truck-based SUVs; compact, midsized, or full-sized car-based crossovers; minivans or MPVs; compact, midsized, or full-sized pickup trucks or vans; any type of hybrid electric, electric, or alternatively fueled vehicle; any type of luxury vehicle; any type of classic car; or any variation above, so long as it’s for noncommercial usage.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

          • The issues
            • New car market to slow briefly before resuming growth
              • Figure 1: Total US unit sales and fan chart forecast of total newly purchased light vehicles, 2011-21
            • Cheap gas helps fuel the light truck boom and dampen small car demand
              • Figure 2: All grades all formulations retail gasoline prices, dollars per gallon, January 2007-May 2016
            • Recalls and scandals impact consumer perceptions and buying behavior
              • Figure 3: Volkswagen Automotive Group sales through July 2015 and 2016
            • The opportunities
              • Millennials looking to buy new over used
                • Figure 4: Type of purchase, by generation, July 2016
              • Consumers receptive to preventative safety technology
                • Figure 5: Type of features desired, July 2016
              • Integrating technology attractive to consumers
                • Figure 6: Safety and technology interest, infotainment system, by generation, July 2016
              • What it means
              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                • New car sales expected to slow but still grow
                  • SUVs and crossovers dominate market
                    • Ford F-Series still the top-selling model
                    • Market Size and Forecast

                      • Slower growth for new vehicle sales, but growth nonetheless
                        • Figure 7: Total US unit sales and fan chart forecast of total newly purchased light vehicles, 2011-21
                        • Figure 8: Total US unit sales and forecast of new cars, in thousands, 2011-21
                    • Market Breakdown

                      • SUVs and crossovers find success
                        • Figure 9: Total US retail sales of new cars, by segment, in units, 2014 and 2016
                        • Figure 10: Vehicle sales by segment, YTD July 2016
                    • Market Factors

                      • Gas prices still remain low
                        • Figure 11: All grades all formulations retail gasoline prices, dollars per gallon, January 2007-May 2016
                      • Interest rates remain historically low
                        • Figure 12: Average loan rates, Q1 2015 & Q1 2016
                        • Figure 13: Ford email advertisement, August 2016
                      • Millennials buying new
                        • Figure 14: Share of US population by generation, 2011-21
                        • Figure 15: Type of vehicle purchase, by generation, July 2016
                      • Average age of vehicles remains high
                        • Figure 16: Average age of vehicles, 1995-2015
                      • Americans driving more miles than ever
                        • Figure 17: US miles traveled, all roads and streets, 1990-2015
                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                      • General Motors offers wide selection of SUVs and crossovers
                        • Volkswagen struggles post Diesel-gate
                          • Tesla – Driving through electric avenue
                            • Jeep brand towing Fiat Chrysler US to relevancy
                            • Manufacturer Sales of Pickups

                              • Ford dominates pickup segment with F-Series
                                • Figure 18: Manufacturer sales of pickup trucks, YTD through July 2016
                            • Manufacturer Sales of SUVs/Crossovers

                              • Domestic vs import
                                • Figure 19: Percentage of SUV/crossover sales by origin of manufacturer, YTD through July 2016
                              • Japanese signature crossovers have widespread appeal
                                • Figure 20: Top 10 SUV/crossover models 2016
                            • What’s Working?

                              • Midsized SUVs and crossovers
                                • Are minivans making a comeback?
                                  • Figure 21: Minivan sales YTD through July, 2015 and 2016
                              • What’s Struggling?

                                • Smaller cars losing share
                                  • Volkswagen recovering from Diesel-gate
                                    • Figure 22: Volkswagen Automotive Group sales YTD through July 2015 and 2016
                                • What’s Next?

                                  • Aluminum-body vehicles
                                    • Ride-sharing drivers need new cars
                                      • “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t let you change lanes”
                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                        • Safety remains top concern
                                          • Women fueling SUV/crossover boom
                                            • Older Millennials ready to upgrade to a new car
                                              • High-income households put cars on cards
                                              • Purchase Intent and Vehicles Considered

                                                • More than one third of consumers plan to buy a car in the next year; three quarters plan to buy new
                                                  • Figure 23: Car purchase intent, July 2016
                                                  • Figure 24: Type of purchase considered, July 2016
                                                • Millennials most likely to buy new
                                                  • Figure 25: Type of purchase considered, by generation, July 2016
                                                • Sedans and SUVs lead vehicle types considered
                                                  • Figure 26: Type of vehicle considered, July 2016
                                                • Women drive SUV/crossover growth
                                                    • Figure 27: Interest in SUV/crossovers, by gender and age, July 2016
                                                • Desired Features

                                                  • Consumers seek longevity in their new car purchase
                                                    • Figure 28: Type of features desired, July 2016
                                                  • Safety package will attract most interest
                                                      • Figure 29: TURF analysis – Technology and safety features consumers are willing to pay for, July 2016
                                                    • Blacks and Hispanics more interested in roadside assistance
                                                      • Figure 30: Safety and technology features – Roadside assistance, by race and Hispanic origin, July 2016
                                                    • Intentional deception from Volkswagen breeds distrust with consumers
                                                      • Parents want room for their kids and their kids’ friends
                                                      • Price Perceptions and Payment Method

                                                        • Consumer pricing expectations not in line with reality
                                                            • Figure 31: New cars – Optimal price, July 2016
                                                          • Wealthier consumers using cash and cards for cars
                                                            • Figure 32: Payment method, by household income, July 2016
                                                        • Main Use of Intended Vehicle

                                                          • Consumers ready to buy may opt into e-hail services
                                                            • Figure 33: Main use of intended vehicle, by purchase intent, July 2016
                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                          • Data sources
                                                            • Sales data
                                                              • Fan chart forecast
                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                  • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                    • Direct marketing creative
                                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                          • Terms
                                                                          • Appendix – Market

                                                                              • Figure 34: Total US retail sales and forecast of new cars, by segment, in units, 2011-21
                                                                          • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                              • Figure 35: Total market manufacturer shares, 2014 and 2015
                                                                              • Figure 36: Total manufacturer shares – New passenger cars, 2014 and 2015
                                                                              • Figure 37: Total manufacturer shares – New light trucks, 2014 and 2015

                                                                          Companies Covered

                                                                          To learn more about the companies covered in this report please contact us.

                                                                          New Cars - US - September 2016

                                                                          £2,684.63 (Excl.Tax)