Americans Buying Fewer New Cars Over a Lifetime, Research Suggests

First Up 10/23/12

October 23, 2012

Americans Buying Fewer New Cars Over a Lifetime, Research Suggests
Chalk another one up for the recession and how it has altered life in America. According to, new analysis by the automotive research firm Polk shows Americans can now expect to buy fewer new cars during their lifetime. On average, we’ll buy almost four fewer new cars by the time each of us hits 76 years old, the age when Polk believes most people are done buying new vehicles. “The days when you bought a vehicle for 4 or 5 years are likely over,” said Anthony Pratt, Polk director of forecasting. Cars last longer, and as their prices have gone up, people are less inclined to take on a monthly payment. Since the recession they have stretched out the length of time to pay off a new loan. In other words, people now expect to be in their car six, seven, or eight years after they buy it. Because Americans are now forecast to buy fewer new vehicles in their lifetimes, it means automakers will have fewer chances to steal customers. Click here for more on Americans’ car buying habits post-recession.

Honda Says N.A. Plants Could Grow
American Honda Motor Co. is prepared to boost production capacity in the United States, Canada, or at its plant under construction in Mexico, depending on which vehicle segments have the most growth in the next few years. By 2016, Honda's North American sales will rise to "more than 2 million" units, from about 1.7 million this year, Tetsuo Iwamura, CEO of American Honda, told Automotive News. Globally, Honda is working to raise sales 50 percent within four years to 6 million vehicles, with most of the growth coming from developing countries such as India, China, and Brazil. Its North American goal amounts to an 18 percent increase. The overall market's rising tide should largely lift Honda to its North American goal. Forecasts from IHS Automotive and LMC Automotive show light-vehicle sales for the region increasing about 15 percent during the same period. Iwamura said he expects Honda to increase sales in all segments but particularly in small cars. If demand for the mid-sized Accord or other larger models increases, Honda might need to increase output at the U.S. or Canadian plants that build those nameplates. Click here for more on Honda’s plans for its North American plants.

Automakers Turn Eyes to Brazil
With Europe's economy sagging and China's slowing, the world's automakers have turned their attention to Brazil, a strong growth market and home to the up-and-coming Sao Paulo auto show, according to The Detroit News. Global debuts and first-class displays marked the show presence Monday of General Motors Co., Volkswagen AG, Toyota Motor Corp., Ford Motor Co., Nissan, Honda, Fiat SpA, Hyundai, and a surprising number of Chinese brands. The show opened to the press on Monday and opens to the public on Wednesday. Most of the players are investing heavily in Brazil and other South American markets, with fresh products and manufacturing plants, to try to take advantage of expanding economies and strong demand for new cars and trucks. Among the Japanese brands at the show, Nissan Motor Co. staged the world premiere of the eXtreme, an urban coupe concept designed specifically for Brazilian tastes. As well as the eXtreme, Nissan introduced the Altima mid-size sedan to the Brazilian market. The company is spending $1.4 billion on a new manufacturing plant near Rio de Janiero. Click here for coverage of the Sao Paulo auto show and how automakers are turning their investment to Brazil.

What I Learned Judging the 2013 North American Car and Truck of the Year Awards
Forbes’ Joann Muller writes that she just spent two days driving through the tiny hamlet of Hell, Mich. (pop: 266), which happens to be the vehicle staging area for automotive journalists judging the annual North American Car and Truck of the Year. The independent award, patterned after the most prestigious automotive award in Europe, is decided by a jury of 50 of the nation’s most experienced auto writers. Of the 46 new or completely redesigned vehicles being introduced for 2013, the jury earlier this month selected 21 semifinalists – 11 cars and 10 trucks. Three finalists in each category will be selected in December, and the winners will be announced in January at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Click here to see the short list of vehicles. Muller says she test drives the latest vehicles all year long to inform her reporting on the global auto industry, but what she likes about the NACTOY judging in Hell each year is that she can drive competing vehicles back-to-back for 20 miles or so, on similar roads, under similar conditions. Click here to learn more about how journalists select the annual North American Car and Truck of the Year.

Toyota Prius Best Selling Car in California
CNN Money reports that the Toyota Prius is the best-selling car in California. Combined, the Prius, Prius V, Prius C, and Prius Plug-in have outsold every other passenger vehicle sold in the Golden State so far this year, according to data from Experian Automotive. By the end of September, Toyota had sold over 46,000 Priuses in California. Of those, about 6,000 were the Prius C, a less expensive compact version with a smaller engine, and about 7,600 were the Prius V, a wagon version with more cargo space. The remainders were the standard Prius and the Prius Plug-in, which has a battery that can be charged from an electrical outlet. However, data analysts at say that their numbers show that the standard Prius by itself – the one with no letters added – would be only the fifth most popular model in California. The Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, and Toyota Corolla are all more popular there. California is the nation's biggest car market. It's also the biggest market for alternative fuel cars. In California, those cars make up a larger portion of new car sales than in any other state. Read more about the popularity of the Prius in California by clicking here.

ARMS® Application Helps Mercedes-Benz Dealership Control, Monitor and Manage Rental Car Costs
EuroMotorcars advertises that every Mercedes-Benz owner gets a Mercedes-Benz rental car when they make an appointment for service at any one of the dealership’s three locations in Maryland and Pennsylvania. To deliver on that promise, EuroMotorcars outsources service center loaners through Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the largest rental car brand in North America and an AIADA Affinity Partner. The dealership also relies on the Automated Rental Management System (ARMS®) application from Enterprise to control, monitor and manage rental car costs. Available to dealerships at no charge, the ARMS® application allows service advisors to create an electronic purchase order for a rental car at the same time they are initiating a repair order. “Before using ARMS®, we were manually processing up to 1600 invoices a month, requiring a huge amount of administrative time and authorizations from our service advisors,” said Duke Mercer, Chief Financial Officer for EuroMotorcars. “Not only does the ARMS® application help to significantly reduce errors and avoid delays, the rental car is ready when the customer arrives for the service appointment. This is huge when you consider that each of our locations is providing rental cars to as many as 100 customers per day.” For more information or to arrange a demonstration of the ARMS® application, please go to or e-mail

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