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New Cars - US - September 2019

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, a “new car” means 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.


"While automakers might argue that there’s nothing better than that new car smell, consumers need more convincing. With the overwhelming majority of consumers opting to purchase used vehicles as opposed to investing in the current model year, automakers have some soul searching to do. Consumers need more than campaigns that offer to “pay their first month’s car payment” in order to entice them into getting a new vehicle. Yes, pricing is important and always will be a top factor, but if automakers want to really make a lasting impact, they need to build a relationship with car buyers first."
- Hannah Keshishian, Automotive Analyst

This Report looks at the following areas:

  • What automakers need to know
  • Where automakers can succeed

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • What automakers need to know
          • Automakers need to make a compelling case if they want consumers to buy new
            • OEMs need to consider how their marketing represents what their brand says
              • Where automakers can succeed
                • Automakers need to focus on converting used car buyers to new
                  • Simple and transparent pricing will help build consumer trust
                    • What it means/what’s next
                    • The Market – What You Need to Know

                      • European tariffs will indirectly affect the auto industry
                        • Lack of sedan offerings will impact short-term sales
                          • Rising gas prices will remain a pain point for car buyers
                          • Market Size and Forecast

                              • Figure 1: Total US sales and fan chart forecast of market, at current prices, 2011-21
                              • Figure 2: Total US unit sales and fan chart forecast of new passenger cars and new light trucks, 2014-24
                          • Market Breakdown

                            • Lack of sedan offerings will impact short-term sales
                              • Figure 3: Total US unit sales and forecast of new cars and light trucks, 2014-24
                          • Market Factors

                            • Despite increased fuel economy, high gas prices could affect new vehicle sales
                                • Figure 4: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, January 2007-July 2019
                              • Automakers could feel pinch from EU industrial goods tariffs
                                • Consumer optimism in US economy remains steady
                                  • Figure 5: Consumer Sentiment Index, January 2007-July 2019
                                • Disposable personal income increase hasn’t translated to vehicle sales
                                  • Figure 6: Disposable Personal Income change from previous period, January 2007-July 2019
                              • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                • Wanted: car buyer seeking amicable dealer salesperson
                                  • Volkswagen makes the decision to “squash” its iconic Beetle
                                    • BMW asks luxury consumers to foot the bill for Apple CarPlay
                                      • Is plant-based seating the next big thing?
                                      • What’s Happening

                                        • Cars.com expands its “dating service” for car buyers
                                          • The 2020 C8 Corvette turns heads but not for the most obvious reason
                                            • Fisker’s electric SUV reportedly to start below $40,000
                                              • Figure 7: 2021 Fisker Electric SUV, July 2019
                                          • What’s Struggling

                                            • VW kills its iconic Beetle to make room for its new SUV
                                              • BMW wants consumers to pay for their Apple CarPlay usage
                                              • What’s Next

                                                • In-car commerce provides opportunity for higher infotainment engagement
                                                  • Luxury seating goes green with animal-free textiles
                                                  • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                    • Consumers aspire to purchase “new” vehicles
                                                      • Consumers view trade-ins as a boon to car purchasing process
                                                        • Being the first owner of a new car appeals to women
                                                          • Most consumers plan to purchase within the next year
                                                            • SUV prices have surpassed consumer expectations
                                                              • OEMs shouldn’t be so quick to discontinue sedans
                                                              • Purchase Intent

                                                                • Majority of current vehicle owners will purchase their next vehicle within a year
                                                                  • Figure 8: Current vehicle owner purchase intent, July 2019
                                                                • Men show more immediate purchase intent
                                                                  • Figure 9: Purchase intent timeline, by gender, July 2019
                                                                  • Figure 10: Gillette, Boys Will Be Boys, January 2019
                                                                • Younger generations plan to purchase within the next six months
                                                                  • Figure 11: Immediate purchase intent, by generation, July 2019
                                                                • Parents most likely to purchase within the next six months
                                                                  • Figure 12: Immediate purchase intent, by parental status, July 2019
                                                              • Purchase Types Considered

                                                                • Consumers aspire to purchase “new” for their next vehicle
                                                                  • Figure 13: Purchase types considered, July 2019
                                                                • A third of consumers plan to purchase some kind of used vehicle
                                                                    • Figure 14: Used vehicle consideration, July 2019
                                                                  • Few general market consumers consider leasing
                                                                    • Figure 15: Leased vehicle consideration, July 2019
                                                                  • Young consumers are most likely to consider leasing their next vehicle
                                                                    • Figure 16: Leased vehicle consideration, by age group July 2019
                                                                  • Automakers should target older generations for new vehicles
                                                                    • Figure 17: New vehicle purchase consideration, by generation, July 2019
                                                                  • Trade-ins viewed positively by consumers
                                                                    • Figure 18: Consumer trade in intent, July 2019
                                                                    • Figure 19: Button CDJR trade-in direct mail, July 2019
                                                                • Vehicle Types Considered

                                                                  • Sedans still have fans among consumers
                                                                    • Figure 20: Sedan consideration, July 2019
                                                                  • SUVs and CUVs remain top most-considered vehicle
                                                                    • Figure 21: Type of vehicle consideration, July 2019
                                                                  • SUV consideration increases year over year
                                                                    • Figure 22: SUV consideration year over year, September 2018 and July 2019
                                                                  • Gen Z significantly more likely to purchase smaller vehicles
                                                                    • Figure 23: Vehicle type consideration, by generation, July 2019
                                                                  • Mid-size passenger vehicles popular among women
                                                                    • Figure 24: SUV/CUV consideration, by females, July 2019
                                                                • Pricing Expectations

                                                                  • Consumer Optimal Price Point vastly different from average MSRP
                                                                      • Figure 25: Price sensitivity – Optimal price, July 2019
                                                                    • The average SUV price is too expensive for consumer expectations
                                                                        • Figure 26: Price sensitivity – Threshold prices, July 2019
                                                                        • Figure 27: Price sensitivity – Price sensitivity aggregate table, July 2019
                                                                      • Methodology
                                                                      • Attitudes toward New Cars

                                                                        • Older consumers seek new cars for the peace of mind
                                                                          • Figure 28: Attitude toward new vehicles, by age, July 2019
                                                                        • Older female consumers are drawn to latest technology in new cars
                                                                          • Figure 29: Attractiveness of features, by age and gender, July 2019
                                                                        • Female consumers like being the first owner of a new vehicle
                                                                          • Figure 30: First owner importance, by age and gender, July 2019
                                                                        • Gen Z isn’t concerned with having the newest vehicle model
                                                                          • Figure 31: Latest model year importance, by generation, July 2019
                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                        • Data sources
                                                                          • Sales data
                                                                            • Fan chart forecast
                                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                                • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                    • Abbreviations

                                                                                    New Cars - US - September 2019

                                                                                    £3,435.47 (Excl.Tax)