Issue: Jun 2003


Windecker



Product Depth Can Judge Automakers

by Ray Windecker

Sport writers use position-depth analysis to judge the basic strengths of sports teams. The same concept can be applied to automotive corporations. Corporate product depth and strength can be detailed through the answers to two questions. One, does a corporation field a vehicle in a particular segment? Two, how well do they do within segments where they do compete?

The product depth of the six leading market- share corporations selling vehicles in the United States during the first quarter, 2003, can be deciphered from the numbers buried within the accompanying table.

General Motors data trail will provide an entry point. On the red line GM is shown holding 26.6 percent of the total industry, followed by the other five companies in declining order. The second line details the largest segment, upper mid car, as earning 15.6 percent of all industry sales (the blue line), and is typified, for segment identification purposes, by the segment-leading Camry.

Moving back to General Motors, it has a 26.5 percent share of the upper mid car segment, roughly matching its industry share, indicating decent depth within this important segment, although gained by the cost of multiple entries.

General observations include the visible conclusion that the greater the coverage, the higher the share. GM is in all segments (but is vacating the small sporty car group) while Nissan, the weakest of the leading corporations, is absent from 10 of the 21 segments.

Nissans interest in large pickup trucks is understandable considering its current absence from that lucrative market, where 95.6 percent of the volume is held by the three largest corporations.

The other 20 column contains interesting bits of information. The lower mid car segment is prime ground for the lesser players, as they hold a 42 percent share. This is a segment that should see some activity from one of two of the major players. Also notable: in segments containing the words small and lower, the other 20 companies are very active (or, the majors are inattentive).

Other oddities: marketing the best-selling vehicle in the segment does not always bring segment dominance. Camry is the leading nameplate in the segment, yet GM sells many more upper mid car vehicles. Another example: The BMW 3-series is the segment leader but Ford sells more prestige small cars than does BMW.

































































































































































































































































Corporate Product Depth (first quarter 2003)
CORPORATE OF INDUSTRY SEGMENT  GM   FORD   DCX   TOYOTA   HONDA   NISSAN  THE OTHER 20 SEGMENT % OF INDUSTRY SEGMENT
LEADER
Total Industry 26.6 21.2 15.0 10.7 8.2 4.7 13.6    
Upper Mid Car 26.5 17.1 5.3 17.9 15.5 11.3 6.4 15.6 Toyota Camry
Basic Small Car 20.3 12.4 6.0 17.0 13.5 4.3 26.5 14.1 Honda Civic
Large Pickup 36.6 38.4 20.4 4.2 - - 0.4 12.5 Ford F-Series
Mid SUV 25.2 24.1 17.9 13.1 6.2 5.0 8.5 9.9 Ford Explorer
Mid Van 18.2 13.9 38.9 7.0 13.9 0.8 7.3 6.6 Dodge Caravan
Small SUV 12.5 15.4 21.5 7.4 14.1 5.9 23.2 6.1 Jeep Liberty
Lower Mid Car 44.0 14.0 42.0 5.8 Chevrolet Malibu
Small Pickup 21.9 31.5 15.8 19.4 7.8 3.6 4.6 Ford Ranger
Large SUV 48.9 36.2 14.9 3.1 Ford Expedition
Prestige Mid Car 12.7 16.0 22.8 15.2 15.1 4.3 13.9 2.9 Lexus ES 300
Prestige Small Car 8.0 19.8 17.8 3.4 14.4 36.6 2.6 BMW 3-Series
Prestige Mid SUV 9.1 23.6 7.5 27.3 14.3 7.2 11.0 2.5 Lexus RX 300
SUV/Wagon 28.5 36.2 17.9 17.4 2.3 Chrysler PT Cruiser
Small Sporty Car 1.3 41.9 23.9 5.3 7.7 19.9 2.1 Ford Mustang
Large Car 47.0 53.0 2.0 Buick Le Sabre
Large Van 37.6 55.1 7.3 1.8 FORD Econoline
Heavy Truck 9.5 2.2 33.2 0.7 45.6 1.5 Freightliner
Prestige Large Car 43.6 26.4 11.1 8.1 1.2 9.6 1.5 Cadillac DeVille
Prestige Sports Car 15.2 12.0 9.6 5.7 4.5 24.7 28.3 1.0 Nissan 350Z
Heavy SUV Wagon 85.9 14.1
1.0 Chevrolet Suburban
Prestige Large SUV 60.5 39.5 0.5 Cadillac Escalade


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