It seems like an appropriate time, with six months of 2011 new vehicle registrations available, to look at model-level performance and determine which ones are doing well. "Doing well" would involve more than mere year-over-year improvement; it also includes helping the make move forward.
Here are my lists of the five most successful models so far in 2011 for each of the non-premium and premium spaces.
Note: These results would most likely be different if the Japanese earthquake/tsunamis of March 11 had not occurred. The resulting inventory shortages for Toyota and Honda have greatly impacted the June 2011 CYTD retail results for these brands.
The data shown after each model name are June 2011 CYTD year-over-year improvements in new retail registrations.
- Hyundai Sonata (+32%) – The Sonata's improvement is less than that of several other models on this list, but the Sonata's success reaches further than the model itself. The new Sonata is the first Hyundai with the flowing, ground-breaking styling that has resonated so much with the retail consumer, and it has paved the way for the subsequent launches of the similarly-styled Elantra and Tucson. More individuals have purchased or leased a Hyundai Sonata in the first six months of 2011 than any other midsize car except the Camry and Accord.
- Volkswagen Jetta (+69%) – The redesigned Jetta has proven the effectiveness of Volkswagen's new, more aggressive posture in the U.S. Priced thousands below its predecessor and somewhat de-contented, the new Jetta has been criticized by the media, but not by the retail buyer. Jetta accounts for almost 60% of all Volkswagen retail deliveries for June 2011 CYTD, up from 44% a year ago, and it has propelled Volkswagen's retail share of the U.S. industry up a tenth of a point to 2.6%.
- Ford Fiesta (not on sale in 2010) - Ford dealers have delivered 36,441 Fiestas to individuals in six months, more than the total for any other sub-compact including the Fit and the Versa. The Fiesta's success suggests the domestics can seriously compete in the sub-compact space, which according to most light vehicle forecasts will be an increasingly important category going forward.
- Chevrolet Cruze/Cobalt (+178%) – The year-over-year improvement of the combination Cruze/Cobalt is among the highest in the industry, and Cruze has more six-month retail registrations than any other compact non-premium car except the Civic. The data suggest Chevrolet is now, for the first time in a while, a serious competitor in this major segment.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee (+170%) – The redesigned Grand Cherokee is one of the first products launched under the auspices of the new Chrysler/Fiat team, and the flagship SUV’s success injects the team with a dose of confidence as it moves forward. The Grand Cherokee's success, along with that of its smaller siblings Patriot and Compass, has carried the brand to a 59% year-over-year jump and a share gain of eight tenths of a point to 3.0%.
Other exceptionally successful non-premium models in the first half of 2011 include the Optima, Regal, 200/Sebring, Durango, Elantra and Equinox.
- Cadillac CTS (+54%) – The CTS has benefited from the launch of the coupe body type (28% of total CTS retail registrations for June CYTD vs. 0% a year ago). Six-month CTS retail registrations of 24,949 exceed those of any other small premium model except the 3-Series. The CTS' surge is the primary driver of Cadillac's 26% year-over-year growth.
- BMW 5-Series (+56%) – The redesigned 5-Series' 2011 retail registrations are 84% of the segment-leading E-Class tally, up from 54% year ago, and the new 5-Series' success has helped the BMW make register a 16% year-over-year gain.
- Jaguar XJ (+273%) – The 2011 XJ is the first complete redesign of the Jaguar flagship XJ since 2004, and its styling both inside and out is a substantial departure from its predecessor. The new XJ now outsells the lower-priced XF, and the XJ has helped stabilize Jaguar deliveries as the make awaits new products now in the pipeline.
- Porsche Cayenne (+178%) – The Cayenne for 2011 has been redesigned for the first time since the model was launched in the U.S. in 2003. Its exterior and interior have been re-styled and it now comes as a hybrid as well. Cayenne's growth has helped the Porsche brand increase its retail registrations 40% versus a year ago.
- BMW X3 (+276%) – The X3's success this year has made it the most popular small premium crossover and follows a lengthy changeover during which virtually none were available. With looming CAFÉ requirements, this segment will get more and more attention from both OEMs and retail customers going forward according to light vehicle forecasts.
Another premium model that has performed well so far in 2011 is the Volvo S60.
Posted by Tom Libby, PolkInsight Advisor, Polk (09.01.2011)