ARBOR, Mich. -- Within the Hutchins Building on Ann Arbor’s
University of Michigan campus Tuesday night, a gathering of auto
industry insiders overheard the recaps and anticipations of three
auto expert representatives heading into 2015. Hosted by the Ross
Auto Club and the Society of Automotive Analysts’ Young
Professionals Network, the 7 p.m. presentation kick off was overseen
by Michelle Krebs, Director of Auto Relations at AutoTrader and
U-M’s Tyler Finnegan.
began with Mark Strand of AutoTrader, who detailed the recent
strengthening of the market. “Really strong sales the last
couples have brought us back to trend. [The] unemployment rate
has dropped,” implied, guiding the audience through with
a supportive slideshow that would be matched by the following
two speakers. “In my opinion, the big story here though
is easy credit. So if you’re in the market for a car and
have wealth, this is a good thing. Vehicles are at an all-time
average high in age.” It’s an optimistic run-through
balanced by Strand’s reminder that another recession is
due to occur, the only question is when.
speak was Alec Gutierrez of Kelely Blue Book, who shared anticipation
of growing sales. “As we’ve seen the market recover,
we expect car sales to level. 2015 will mark the 6th consecutive
year of growth.” From there, he detailed the dimension of
thing I wanna point out is there are complete sales and sales
volume. Next year we’re on pace for 14 million sales. It
seems to me the manufacturers are finding success in stretching
their brands. Jeep’s found a lot of success catering to
the main brand. Subaru found themselves with a lot more excitement.
For the most part, there hasn’t been much of an impact.
Sales are still solid... A look [at] consumers shows a confidence
improvement because of GM’s recalls... Over the last several
years, the average was 32,000… The shift has been from compact
cars to trucks, SUVS, vans. We are seeing spend increase in a
Dave Sullivan stepped up to address the market in China and display
models expected to attract high interest. “Our prediction
for 2015 is $16.6 million.”
the questions asked in the closing session was the following:
Which OEMs are the best and worst prepared for a crisis?
replied straightforwardly. “In terms of an automaker who’s
poised to get through another downturn, the answer is a Honda
or Toyota. I don’t want perpetuate the stereotype that they
they’re more efficient, but…”
Sullivan, “I’m gonna say Honda first, because they
depend heavily on retail. If you wanna talk about smaller ones,
Subaru. That’s a cult following. That’s a brand that’s
grown a lot and weathered the storm.”
How do you see the role of the dealership evolving?
it was Gutierrez who was observational of the customer relation
environment: “We know that consumers more and more are depending
on us. Speaking as millennial myself, I think they’ll depend
on transparency before heading to the (dealer).”
SAA Automotive Outlook Conference will return to Cobo Center on
Sunday, Jan. 11. The topic will be "Examining the Thriving
and Evolving Luxury Vehicle Market." Tickets are $495 for
SAA members, $595 for non-members, $595 for SAA members with renewal,
$125 for student members, $60 for other students and a table of
8 for $2,495.
more information or to purchase tickets to future Society of Automotive
Analysts (SAA) events, visit www.saaautoleaders.org.