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Manual Transmissions Becoming More Popular in America

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2013 Dodge Dart

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With reports of Generation Y (those between the ages of 21 and 30) giving up cars in favor of social media and other digital interactions, we’re starting to get a bit worried about the prospects of an exciting automotive industry. But with reports that manual transmission are making a come back, at least in North America, all is not lost.

According to USAToday, while the percentage of new vehicles sold with a manual gearbox remains a very small slice of new vehicle sales, the percentage is starting to grow. In the the first quarter of 2012, manuals accounted for 6.5 percent of new vehicles sold, the highest since 7.2 percent in 2006. In 2008 and 2010, the rates were 3.7 and 3.9 percent, respectively.

Industry analysts consider this “high” take rate impressive, given that just 19 percent of the 2,360 different models on sale offer manuals. Five years ago, 29 percent of the 2,391 available models let the driver do the shifting, yet only 2.9 percent were sold with stick shifts that year. That’s the lowest “take rate” in a decade.

Yes, a 6.5 percent take rate in the first quarter of 2011 is nothing but a tiny blip on the radar, but if the upward trajectory continues, automakers will be encouraged to offer a wider selection of engaging cars.

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Studies

Millennials Still Prefer Cars, And They Like Them Cheap

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Everyone is throwing money at SUVs and crossovers… everyone except Millennials.

Often painted as economically inept by the mainstream media, Millennials differ from their older counterparts in a number of ways. They are not making enough money and apparently don’t save what little they make, they’re not buying homes, they change jobs too often, they’re buried by debt, and they aren’t buying enough cars. As it turns out, millennials also still prefer cars over SUVs, crossovers and trucks.

A study from QuoteWizard on what people between the ages of 22 and 37 were driving in 2018 found that traditional cars, namely sedans, dominated the list of top 10 mode popular vehicles. See for yourself:

  • Honda Accord – $23,720
  • Nissan Altima – $23,900
  • Honda Civic – $19,450
  • Toyota Camry – $23,945
  • Hyundai Sonata – $22,500
  • Chevrolet Impala – $28,020
  • Ford F-150 – $28,155
  • Toyota Corolla – $18,700
  • Ford Focus – $17,950
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee – $31,945

Eight of the vehicle are small to mid-sized cars despite SUVs and crossovers dominating the overall automotive landscape. Clearly, not only are Millennials still buying cars, but they like them old-school.

Younger buyers also spend as much as $5000 less than older generations on their vehicles, and for a number of reasons. A $36,000 average student loan debt and 20 percent lower earnings compared to their Gen-X and baby boomer counterparts has curtailed their spending, while living in big cities with a wider range of public transportation and rideshare services has created less of a need for cars, let alone expensive ones.

While a lot of the models (Accord, Civic, Camry, Corolla, and F-Series) that Millennials gravitate to are among North America’s best-selling vehicle, the general attitude seems to be to get a car on the cheap while still fulfilling their daily needs. Forced pragmatism , in other words.

Considering that manufacturers have been trimming down their lineup of economy vehicles and bolstering their SUV and crossovers in accordance with prevailing market trends, it will be interesting to see how they respond to the unique predilection of Millennials.

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Studies

Here Are The Most Googled Car Brands In Each Country

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Most Google Car Brands Per Country

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Toyota rules the world with a first place finish in 57 nations.

UK-based auto insurance company Veygo has put together an interesting map of the most Googled car brands in each country, and we think you’ll find it surprising.

At a glance, it’s apparent that very few countries favor their own domestic marques. Toyota was the most Googled make in the United States and Canada, while Volkswagen took Italy.

South Korea and Japan can’t get enough of BMW, China appears to have a love affair with Tesla, and the UK was most interested in Mercedes-Benz.

Germany, France, and Sweden were the only countries that stuck with their domestic brands, preferring Mercedes-Benz, Renault and Volvo, respectively.

Claiming the number one spot in 57 countries, Toyota was by far the most googled car brand globally, including in much of North America, sub-Saharan Africa, Australia, and central and southeast Asia. BMW came in second with a tally of 25, followed by Mercedes-Benz came in third with 23 countries.

You can check out the full map and spreadsheet by clicking here.

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Is Ford Making A Mistake By Killing Its Cars?

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Ford’s plan to kill off all but two of its car offerings could prove costly.

In early 2018, the American automaker announced that, with the exception of the Mustang and the slightly crossover-like Focus Active, it was giving up on sedans, hatchbacks, coupes and convertibles in the United States and Canada to focus on crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks. Well, a recent study from Cox Automotive suggests that such a move might not bold well for the company.

Granted the survey’s sample size was small– of the 2,2697 participants, only 104 owned Ford vehicles — a good number of the current Ford owners said their next vehicle will likely not be a Ford, only ten percent said they would buy a new Ford crossover or SUV, only five percent said they would get a Ford Mustang, and only three percent said they would be interested in a Ford truck.

Most of the participants also stated that they were surprised by Ford’s decision to kill its cars and were even opposed to the idea.

The study highlights that he company has a lot of work to do to educate buyers about its new strategy. In an interview with Automotive News, Michelle Krebs, executive analyst with Autotrader, stated:

“Ford’s got some work to do in terms of clearing up the message to owners of these vehicles if they want any shot of keeping them. They need to do some educating.”

Naturally, Ford’s loss will be another automaker’s gain. According to Kelly Blue Book data, around 53 percent of Fusion owners that trade in their sedans already end up with a competing model like the Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, Toyota Camry or Toyota RAV4.

General Motors, in particular, is looking to cash in big on not only Ford’s decision to stop selling cars, but also on the overall decline in sedan sales. Kurt McNeil, GM’s U.S. vice president of sales operations, told Automotive News that sedans “typically offer very good safety, confort, fuel economy and a lower toal cost of ownership than other vehicle choices” and are therefore crucial to the company’s lineup.

What do you think — is it smart for Ford to stop making cars? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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