Wednesday, August 28, 2013 | Edited by Daniel Moores
||Male New-Car Shoppers Prefer Luxury Automakers While Females Favor Import Brands
When it comes to buying a new car, men and women have different car shopping characteristics according to Kelley Blue Book.
Research from Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence, based on KBB.com traffic and survey data of more than 13,000 U.S. adults, show men are more likely to consider a vehicle from domestic American manufacturers or European luxury brands, while female new-car shoppers are more likely to consider a vehicle from an import automaker.
Traffic data from KBB.com reveals men are 174 percent more likely to shop for a new Lincoln model compared to women on the site. On the other hand, women are 119 percent more likely to shop for a new Volvo model compared to men.
"Like comparing apples to oranges, men and women have different factors of importance when choosing a vehicle, influencing their brand research based on qualities that matter the most to them," said Diana Duque-Miranda, senior manager for Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence.
"For instance, older men gravitate toward Lincoln as many of them grew up with the long-standing automaker as an aspirational brand. Conversely, more women are attracted to Volvo than male shoppers, and more likely to consider Asian manufacturers like Honda, Acura and Nissan that are traditionally known for high safety ratings, as KBB.com research shows 76 percent of women look for safety features in their next new-vehicle purchase compared to 61 percent of men."
"Brands with a rich heritage, such as Lincoln, Buick, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz, tend to draw the attention of older men more than younger men or even women," said Arthur Henry, manager of Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence. "Brands that promote themselves as being 'rugged' tend to draw the interest of men of all ages, as 28 percent of men are more likely to shop for a new vehicle that have this factor compared to 19 percent of women. For example, GMC attracts those who work in manual labor industries, including construction."
Furthermore, 33 percent of men are more likely to place greater importance on exterior styling compared to 26 percent of women, as significantly more men research the brands that are known for bold styling like Audi and Jaguar.
"Women car shoppers are much more financially conscious than men, as 72 percent of women are more likely to consider affordability in their next purchase compared to 50 percent of men," said Miranda. "Women are more likely to consider a brand known for value compared to men new-car shoppers, which translates to more women shopping Honda, Kia and Mazda for more bang for their buck."
In addition to factors like safety and affordability, 67 percent of women are more likely to consider a fuel-efficient vehicle compared to 48 percent of men. Subsequently, women are more likely to consider fuel-efficient brands like FIAT, Acura, Nissan, Honda, Kia and Mazda compared to men shoppers.
The Top 10 Brands Among Male New-Car Shoppers (Based on the Increased Likelihood of Men to Shop the Brand Compared to Women on KBB.com):
Lincoln -- 174%
Audi -- 147%
Jaguar -- 128%
Scion -- 128%
Cadillac -- 119%
Chrysler -- 106%
Buick -- 96%
Mercedes-Benz -- 37%
Smart -- 37%
GMC -- 30%
The Top 10 Brands Among Female New-Car Shoppers (Based on the Increased Likelihood of Women to Shop the Brand Compared to Men on KBB.com):
Volvo -- 119%
Infiniti -- 97%
Fiat -- 82%
Acura -- 61%
Nissan -- 57%
Mitsubishi -- 46%
Honda -- 37%
Dodge -- 23%
Kia -- 19%
Mazda -- 16%
Data sourced from KBB.com, January 2013-June 2013
(Source: Kelley Blue Book, 08/20/13)
||Who's Buying 'Youth' Cars? Seniors
When Toyota Motor Corp. rolled out its Scion brand nearly 10 years ago, its goal was to attract a certain buyer it felt wasn't being addressed by its staid Camry and Corollas -- namely the hip, tech-savvy and young.
Today, however, the brand's line of funky-looking small cars is attracting buyers like Leslie Olsen, a 65-year-old retired university director from Golden, Colo., who recently leased a burgundy 2012 Scion xB.
"It didn't look like a typical senior citizen car," Ms. Olsen said of the xB's boxy, low-slung design. "It looks young."
Appealing to the young has auto makers designing and marketing to the "millennial generation" -- that group of consumers in their 20s and 30s whose numbers could rival the postwar baby boom that has dominated the auto market for decades.
But senior citizens are making Swiss cheese of those efforts. Several years ago, for instance, Kia targeted youthful buyers with its Soul using commercials starring break-dancing hamsters. The Soul, which offers a sound system with light-ringed speakers that pulse to the beat of the music, is now one of the top 10 cars bought by baby boomers, according to Strategic Vision, a San Diego, Calif., research firm.
"My grandchildren love the pulsing speakers," said Brian Thulson, a 53-year-old handyman who bought his Kia Soul for work and personal use.
He said the car is more accessible that higher riding sport-utility vehicles. "I think that's some of the reason people my age like this car. It's easy to get in and out of," Mr. Thulson said.
Such unintended customers has prompted Kia to employ a two-track approach to promoting the Soul. It has marketing tie-ins with youth-oriented events, such as the Vans Warped Tour and the MTV Video Awards, and it has run newspaper ads highlighting features that appeal to older buyers, said Michael Sprague, U.S. marketing chief for Kia Motors Corp.
In recent years, auto makers have developed a bevy of pint-size models like the Chevy Sonic, Fiat, Ford Fiesta and Kia Soul, and promoted them using social-media, music festival sponsorships, and in some cases, daredevil stunts. To hype the new Chevy Sonic, General Motors Co. filmed the subcompact parachuting out of a plane for an online campaign aimed squarely at 18-to-30-year-olds.
But the largest customers for these cars, about 42% of buyers this year through May, are closer to retirement age, according to registration data compiled by car-shopping website Edmunds.com. The proportion is up from just 29% five years ago.
Meantime, the percentage of 18- to 34-year-olds buying new subcompact cars fell to 12% through May, down from 17% in 2008, according to registration data.
"It's a delicate line you walk between the market you'd like to grow, versus the market that is your cash cow," said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with Edmunds.com.
Of course, 50 and 60-somethings are some of the biggest buyers of all cars.
"The baby boomer generation is the largest cohort in the marketplace," Kia's Mr. Sprague said. "Just by virtue of their numbers being so large, we'll continue to see them skew the data for a long time."
Last year, buyers 55 and older accounted for more than 40% of all new car sales, up from 33% in 2008 while buyers between the ages of 18 and 34 represented only 12% of new-car purchases. And that is down from 14% five years ago, according to Edmunds.com.
One reason auto makers have developed youthful brands and products is to latch onto young adults in the hope of keeping their loyalty as they age and buy more expensive vehicles. However, they face an uphill battle. Some can't afford a new car or don't want one because they live in cities where they have public transit, says Michael Sivak, a professor with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
Auto makers' big prize is the "Millennial Generation" -- that group of consumers in their 20s and 30s whose numbers could rival the postwar baby boom that has dominated the auto market for decades.
In some cases they find the tastes and pocketbooks of 20-somethings similar to older buyers. Job- and cash-strapped millennials aren't too different from boomers living on a fixed income, marketers said.
Elsewhere, older buyers have fond memories of some brands. The tiny Fiat 500, which made its U.S.-debut in 2011, is targeted to young, urban customers with features such as two-toned interiors and bold colors with Italian names like "Rosso Brillante."
Marketing pamphlets show young people packed into the car "playing with their iPhones," said Richard Foley, general sales manager of Fiat of Lakeside in Macomb, Mich.
But retro-styling and the Fiat brand's name recognition among older drivers has made it a hit with their parents' generation. About 37% of Fiat 500 buyers this year through May were age 55 or older compared with only 12% that were under 34, according to Edmunds.com.
"If you ask a young person 'what's a Fiat?' and they wouldn't have a clue," Mr. Foley said. "The older crowd knows the car. They either had one in the past or knew someone who did. Few brands market directly to boomer-age buyers, despite their strength in numbers."
"Just because I'm a baby boomer doesn't mean I want my body to feel like I'm 55 or 65 years old," said Alexander Edwards, president of Strategic Vision. "So when marketing messages are for millennials, there are a lot of things that are attractive to the older generation."
One exception is a series of ads recently released by Toyota for its Venza crossover. The ads show parents out mountain biking or going to an outdoor concert, while their kids are at home or on the computer fretting if they're getting out enough.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal, 08/13/13)
||Study: Millennials Focused on Vehicle's Image, More Open to Imports
Younger people ages 16 to 32 are interested in driving but are delaying getting a driver's license more than previous generations. They are also more conscious of a vehicle's image and more open to import brands than older age groups, according to a study released last Friday.
AutoTrader.com, a car shopping website, released its Millennial-focused "The Next Generation Car Buyer" study during the Automotive Press Association meeting in Detroit. By 2020, Millennials are expected to represent 40 percent of car sales.
"Millennials do care about cars and they do intend to drive," said Isabelle Helms, senior director of research and marketing analytics for AutoTrader.com. "They're just delaying their purchase and cars are a very important part of their lives."
Half of young Millennials ages 16 to 24 don't own a car, with most saying they can't afford it, AutoTrader.com says. But half of those without a car drive someone else's and three-quarters surveyed said they plan to buy a car in the foreseeable future, Helms said.
More than 70 percent of people ages 16 to 24 say infotainment features are "must haves" in vehicles. About 50 percent of Millennials want a car that reflects their personality, and nearly 40 percent said a car should reflect their accomplishments.
Chevrolet has seen its market share of buyers under age 35 double from 2010 to 2013 as the brand has three entries popular with Millennials in the Spark, Sonic and Cruze. Chevrolet Sonic Marketing Manager Dora Nowicki said features such as styling, fuel economy and technology are important to Millennials and are shown in the three vehicles.
Ford Motor Co. says more than 30 percent of sales of its new Fusion are to Millennials and it continues to see strong sales success among younger buyers with its subcompact Fiesta. Ford says 46 percent of Fiesta buyers are Millennials and buyers from Generation X.
"It's a small car, it's incredibly fuel efficient and it's loaded with technology so it provides that aspiration that Millennials are looking for, reflecting their personality, but in a way that's practical and they can also afford," said Amy Marentic, a Ford marketing manager.
All automakers are focused on how to attract more younger buyers to their brands. Just 11.5 percent of all new cars and trucks are purchased by buyers in the 18-34 age bracket, down nearly 3 percentage points from 2008, according to data from Polk.
Younger buyers like stylish and luxury brands and also praise innovation and sophistication, but are most likely to buy mainstream brands, the AutoTrader.com study found. They also are more likely to use word-of-mouth when shopping for vehicles than Generation X (ages 33 to 47), and Baby Boomers (ages 46 to 66). Millennials also are more likely than other generations to be introduced to a desired vehicle through family or friends instead of on a dealer lot.
"While Millennials may not be able to afford many of these brands now, the brand-fit metric is a good way to look at where the market is headed," Rick Wainschel, vice president of of automotive insights for AutoTrader.com, said in a statement. "Lower price-point vehicles like the Mercedes CLA, BMW 1 Series and Audi A3 are making luxury cars more attainable for Millennials earlier in life, which could help these brands establish long-term consideration and loyalty."
Keeping a Millennials' loyalty is also harder than with previous generations. AutoTrader says 30 percent of Millennials are loyal to a current brand compared to 41 percent of Generation X and 47 percent of the Baby Boomer generation.
The Audi brand was tops on Millennials' lists for overall brand fit, reflecting the buyers' personalities; that was followed by Honda, Mercedes, Toyota, BMW and Chevrolet. But while younger buyers may aspire to buy luxury brands, they are more likely to buy mainstream brands, with Honda topping their list, followed by Chevrolet, Toyota and Ford.
They are also are less interested than other generations in buying a vehicle made by U.S. workers, with just 38 percent of Millennials citing this as important compared to 53 percent of Generation X and 60 percent of Baby Boomers.
"It's important for the domestics to not hang their hat on 'Made in the USA' to the same degree that they may have in the past," Helms said.
The study, conducted online, also found 36 percent of younger Millennials, ages 16 to 24, were delaying getting a driver's license, with 23 percent citing that they are too busy with other things. Nineteen percent listed they are afraid of driving, while 15 percent said it's too expensive and 14 percent said they want more time to train.
(Source: The Detroit News, 08/23/13)
Daily Sales Tip: Shifting the Focus of Your Stories
Some sales professionals prepare for a sales meeting by getting all their facts in order -- their i's dotted and their t's crossed. In the process, they forget to talk to prospects in the most basic way that humans talk. They forget to tell stories.
It's a good idea to tie your stories into the benefits your product delivers. Part of the power of using personal stories in your presentations is that they reduce the information overload caused by a recitation of benefits and features. A good story captures the minds of prospects and takes them on a journey.
Some salespeople tell stories that focus on their companies, their products and how they will save their prospects time and money. The central character in those stories is their company and the product or service being sold.
These salespeople believe that if their prospects know as much about their company and its solutions as they do, they will buy. The problem with this type of story is that it's the same one being told by competitors.
Instead of telling your own corporate story, you need to tell prospects their story -- the one in which they achieve success.
It's a better idea to make the central character in your story your prospect. Your job is to take the story you tell and make it a story about your prospect that makes him or her feel that moving forward with your solution is the surest and safest way to go.
Source: Adapted from Conversations That Win the Complex Sale, by Erik Peterson and Tim Riesterer