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Average cars are driven for 11.4 years according to data released today by R.L. Polk.
The results for the most successful cars of 2011 so far are in. Automotive data and marketing solutions company Polk has calculated the results from the first six months of 2011 new vehicle registrations and have come up with the top picks for non-premium and premium models.
These results look at model-level performance and determine which ones are doing well so far this year. It’s also important to note that the March Japanese earthquake/tsunamis have had an impact on these results, and the inventory shortages for Toyota and Honda caused by the disaster have impacted the June 2011 CYTD (Calendar Year To Date) retail results for these brands.
Here’s a list of the winners so far, along with the June 2011 CYTD year-over-year improvements in new retail registrations.
1. Hyundai Sonata (+32%)
2. Volkswagen Jetta (+69%)
3. Ford Fiesta (not on sale in 2010)
4. Chevrolet Cruze/Cobalt (+178%)
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee (+170%)
Other non-premium models that performed well in the first half of 2011 include the Optima, Regal, 200/Sebring, Durango, Elantra and Equinox.
1. Cadillac CTS (+54%)
2. BMW 5-Series (+56%)
3. Jaguar XJ (+273%)
4. Porsche Cayenne (+178%)
5. BMW X3 (+276%)
An honorable mention goes out to the Volvo S60, another premium model that has performed well in 2011.
The all important metric of “conquest sales”, vehicles which steal owners away from another brand, has a new king, the Hyundai Sonata. The Korean automaker’s mid-size sedan has been a smash hit, and evidently done its part to steal consumers aware from other manufacturers.
A report by automotive analytics firm Polk suggests that for every 100 customers Hyundai loses when they abandon the Sonata for another competing product, they gain 365 customers who end up purchasing a Sonata. Furthermore, Hyundai has a retention rate of above 50 percent, proving that the company’s success isn’t just a flash in the pan.
Do people still buy minivans? That’s what Polk Research wants to find out.
With a common aversion to minivans that lies somewhere between stubbing a toe on furniture and ebola, it’s interesting to see that from last year, minivan sales have actually gone up. From a nice, even 3 percent of light vehicle sales in 2010, sales of the minivan increased .2%. But then again, this is the tail end of a trend from 2007 that saw a high of 4.3%, and slipped sharply last year.
Manufacturers are well aware of this too. Out of these minivan sales, a whopping 92% come from just four models: the Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Town & Country, and Dodge Caravan. The other 8% consists of the Kia Sedona, Volkswagen Routan and the Nissan Quest.
Those, of course, are the only minivans sold on the market today. Gone are Ford and GM, for example, among others: manufacturers have known that consumers have avoided minivans for years now, and as a result are replacing them in their lineups with SUVs. Polk’s data supports this: last year, over 40% of customers who ditched a minivan replaced it with either a midsize or a compact SUV. 21% went with a midsize car, and given America’s aversion to small cars as well as minivans, only 16% bought one of those instead.
Since 2007, the number of minivans available on the market has dropped from 15 models to 7. Of course, all of this leads to a neat, tidy little Catch-22. If manufacturers decide that consumers aren’t buying minivans, they’ll stop making them. But if consumers can’t find the right minivan to choose from, they won’t buy one. So which came first: the manufacturers who won’t build minivans because nobody’s buying them, or the consumers who can’t find one to buy in the first place?
It’s interesting to see a demographic breakdown of what people are buying and a new study shows that Toyota was the top automotive brand for African-Americans in 2010.
In the recent study conducted by Polk, the total new vehicle registrations among this demographic reached 641,090, an increase of 11.5 percent over 2009 (7.4 percent of all new vehicle registrations in 2010). It also goes on to say that the African-American market volume increase was 68.6 percent greater than the non-ethnic market increase of 6.8 percent.
“With the U.S. population growing faster in the African-American segment than others, there’s a significant opportunity for automotive manufacturers and dealers to begin to align marketing initiatives toward this specific audience,” said Marc Bland, product strategist at Polk. “Those companies that are ahead of the curve, like Toyota, are already reaping the rewards.”
Making the top five after Toyota include Ford, Chevrolet, Honda and Nissan – these five brands account for 60 percent of the African-American market. In terms of growth from 2009, Buick, Hyundai, Kia, Cadillac, GMC and Infiniti are doing well with the African-American market.
You can see the breakdown of the numbers after the jump.