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Loyalty is important to automakers, and those that managed to increase their brand loyalty saw gains in market share last year.
Price, looks and size… these are the few factors that used to decide what vehicle you’d park in your driveway. Looking for a cheap and small car? A Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic will do. Need something bigger, perhaps a mid-size Hyundai Sonata or an SUV. Things used to be pretty easy.
With increasingly high gas prices and an overall movement towards green, fuel efficient vehicles, fuel economy has become more important. In fact, for many price, looks and size are now completely trumped by fuel economy.
“Buyers just look at the MPG on the sticker,” says IHS Automotive Analyst Devin Lindsay commenting that car buyers are now completely mesmerized by the EPA sticker label.
Take a look at the Toyota Prius, for example. It’s not terribly big, is fairly expensive, and looks… well… weird. But that didn’t stop three million of them from being sold, all thanks to a hybrid gas-electric engine that provides excellent fuel economy.
The Prius isn’t the only option for someone looking for a fuel efficient car, however; especially those in search of a more engaging driving experience. If you want to cut down on trips to the pump, and still drive a fun, powerful, good looking car, your best bet might just be in a diesel powered vehicle. That does mean you’ll almost certainly have to drive German, although a flood of new diesel-powered vehicles are about to hit our shore.
At one point, Japan was among the world’s leading auto markets but the country has yet to regain its stride after last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami. Japanese auto sales dropped to half the peak rate and a recovery has yet to take hold.
Global information company IHS Automotive conducted a study that shows sales in India will reach 4.88 million by 2016, taking the emerging nation ahead of Japan’s projected 4.51 million units in sales for that year. What’s more, IHS believes sales in Japan would taper off to 4.25 million by 2020.
At one point, Japan was ranked as one of the world’s top three largest regional markets, behind the United States and Europe. China has since rocketed past the rest of the world, claiming the global top ranking several years ago. Reports reveal that Chinese consumers have purchased 17.66 million vehicles for 2011. IHS predicts that China sales could even pass 30 million by the decade’s end.
The organization believes that India is positioned to be the next country to experience a big automotive boom, linking to a prediction that India’s population will sustain rapid growth in the coming decades.
That said, India’s economy is not as strong as China’s and it will also take a while for India to develop infrastructure that could handle a rapid spike in vehicles on the road. Some villages can only be reached by mules and donkeys and big cities suffer incredible traffic congestion due to the lack of major roadways.
Nonetheless, demand for automobiles in India is surging and may become the next focus market for global automakers.
[Source: Detroit Bureau]