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.
Nissan’s 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|
|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|
|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|