AutoPacific experts regularly contribute to publications such as Automotive News, Forbes, NBC News, AutoWeek, USA Today, and more. Here you will find articles with AutoPacific contribution as well as AutoPacific-issued news and press releases.
AUTOPACIFIC ANNOUNCES 2019 IDEAL VEHICLE AWARDS – Volvo Top Premium Brand; Volvo XC60 Highest Ranked Vehicle; Ram Top Popular Brand
September 12, 2019
Automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, Inc. today announced the 2019 Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA), recognizing vehicles that best meet owners’ expectations for the product. The 2019 awards are based on responses from more than 50,000 owners of new vehicles across all major manufacturers. Based solely on owner input, AutoPacific IVAs measure the fusion between owner expectations and reality. “IVA’s speak to a vehicle’s layout and design,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. “Giving owners a chance to tell us what they would change and how they would change it reveals which vehicles are best designed to meet their needs and expectations.” Read more about the award results here.
AutoPacific Announces 2019 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards: Nissan Has Most Winning Vehicles;Lincoln and Ram Top Brands
August 13, 2019
AutoPacific today announced the 2019 Vehicle Satisfaction Award (VSA) winners. Now in its 23rd year, the VSAs identify the most satisfying vehicles in the market based on responses from over 50,000 new car and light truck owners. For the third year in a row, Nissan has the most winning vehicles, this year with six wins: Maxima, Altima, Armada, Murano and Rogue for Nissan and Q60 for Infiniti. Read more about the award results here.
July 29, 2019
Nissan Motor has a global lineup that includes more than 60 nameplates across the Nissan, Infiniti and Datsun brands. CEO Hiroto Saikawa said last week that it will reduce its product portfolio by at least 10 percent by March 31, 2022, focusing on small vehicles. AutoPacific’s Ed Kim says Nissan has its "bases well covered," but there is "opportunity to trim the fat" from segments receiving less consumer interest. "There's not much of a market for entry luxury, two-door sporty coupes," Kim said.
July 25, 2019
Cadillac’s best-selling SUV, the XT5, has received a makeover for the 2020 model year. While just a “mid cycle refresh,” which traditionally means some modest exterior styling tweaks or the addition of new features, the 2020 model update is more than what meets the eye, according to AutoPacific president George Peterson. “What Cadillac is doing is making the product more competitive and giving it a more logical position within the expanding Caddy SUV lineup,” said Peterson after getting a first look at the vehicle. Cadillac director of product marketing says the XT5 will be a logical alternative to the bigger XT6 for buyers not needing a 3-row SUV. If he’s right, said Peterson, that should help the 2020 XT5 remain Cadillac’s bestselling product line. And it should make it an even more competitive alternative to imports like the Acura RDX and Audi Q5.
July 18, 2019
Audi’s first-ever electric vehicle, the $75,000 e-Tron, is already contributing nearly 5% of the automaker’s sales mix. In its first month of U.S. sales, e-Tron recorded 856 units sold. By comparison, the E-Tron’s closest competitors, the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace sold 1,000 and 228 units, respectively. AutoPacific’s Ed Kim considers the Audi E-Tron a credible competitor to current market offerings. “For several years now the industry has been working overtime to bring credible Tesla fighters to market, and the Audi E-Tron is among the first to meet Tesla head-to-head with a luxurious long range product,” said Kim. “The E-Tron has the usual levels of Audi fit and finish, something all Tesla products are lacking in, and it looks nice.” But, adds Kim, the E-Tron “definitely comes off as a first effort with some very real shortcomings relative to Tesla’s models.”
Tesla is facing mounting pressure as Audi, Mercedes, and Volkswagen ramp up their push into electric cars
May 19, 2019
Tesla is getting more competition in the U.S. market. American deliveries have begun for Audi's e-tron SUV, while pre-orders and production have started for Volkswagen's ID.3 sedan and Mercedes-Benz's EQC SUV, respectively. AutoPacific’s Ed Kim isn’t worried about Tesla’s position as the volume leader in electric vehicle sales, at least for the next two years. “But,” Kim said, "I do think that their volumes will certainly drop significantly, even if they remain the market leader, simply because there's going to be a lot more competition in that space."
May 6, 2019
On April 2nd, Mercedes-Benz announced that it will discontinue its Smart brand in the U.S. and Canada at the end of 2019. AutoPacific’s Ed said, “The product "is simply unfit for American tastes…as Americans tend to equate size with value, small, premium-priced vehicles can be a tough sell in this environment. Fuel is still cheap enough for premium customers that there is no perceived advantage in downsizing to a small premium model."
April 27, 2019
Light trucks and SUVs account for more than half of vehicle sales in the U.S. but that hasn't stopped several automakers from producing new models and aggressively advertising the benefits of sedans. Genesis, Alfa Romeo and Maserati to name a few. Bob Broderdorf, director of Alfa Romeo North America said, “You will always have enthusiasts who want to have that exhilaration and feel of driving a car. There are a lot of people out there who prefer to drive cars. I am one of them." AutoPacific’s Ed Kim does not expect the ironclad grip SUVs have on sedans to loosen in the future. "A lot more people are buying luxury SUVs than luxury cars," he told ABC News. "The coolest features and technology are going into SUVs. They have adopted all the high-end luxury car features."
January 21, 2019
AutoPacific’s Ed Kim says auto sales will be on the decline in 2019 but isn’t quite ready to say the auto sector will cause the next recession. Watch Fox Business as Ed and Wall Street Journal auto reporter Tim Higgins discuss the auto industry and the problems surrounding Tesla.
November 1, 2018
Despite plummeting luxury car sales, Porsche is planning two new six-figure Panamera models to add to its extensive Panamera portfolio. The Panamera GTS fastback and GTS Sport Turismo wagon will arrive in dealerships late 2019 with prices starting at $128,300 and $134,500, respectively. About the GTS, AutoPacific’s Ed Kim says, “The affluent luxury consumer expects a high degree of personalization in general, and by offering a specialized GTS model, it addresses the needs of its choosy customer. As long as Porsche has ensured that the GTS has a very different drive personality than the 4S, it should be able to find its place within the Panamera lineup.”
October 31, 2018
“I don’t see how it can survive,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson about battery-electric car company Faraday Future. After numerous financial setbacks that have forced repeated delays in the rollout of the FF91, an all-electric, autonomous supercar, Faraday is in need of another financial backer. Faraday co-founder Nick Sampson recently resigned, as have several other ranking managers and executives. Peterson says the environment has changed dramatically since the beginning of the decade when a number of potentially promising start-ups targeted the battery-car market. The odds aren’t looking particularly good for Faraday, or any other electric car start-up.
YAK Radio with Dave Stall - George Peterson Talks ideal vehicle Awards
October 8, 2018
Listen to George Peterson talk Ideal Vehicle Award winners, crossover SUVs, sedans, and everything in between with Dave Stall on YAK Radio. From the overall winner Chevrolet Suburban to Tesla, George covers it all. AutoPacific’s 2018 Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA) recognize vehicles whose owners want the least amount of change across 15 categories when asked what changes they would make if they could.
First Drive: All-new 2019 BMW X5 Gets Bigger and Tougher
October 3, 2018
The fourth generation BMW X5 gets a much needed redesign. Competing against rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi, the new X5 is an important vehicle for BMW, whose SUV sales were up 17.2 percent for the first eight months of 2018 compared with the same period last year. AutoPacific’s Ed Kim agrees: “This is a higher-priced model with a lot more margin compared with BMW’s entry-level models. Being both high volume and high margin, its importance to the brand cannot be overstated.”
September 26, 2018
Lincoln’s MKX got a makeover and a new name. Now called the Lincoln Nautilus, this rebranded and revamped midsize SUV completes Ford Motor Company’s revival plan for its luxury brand. “Lincoln simply needs to bring down the age of its customer,” says AutoPacific’s Ed Kim. AutoPacific’s annual New Vehicle Satisfaction Study reveals the median age of a Lincoln buyer is 69, beat only by Cadillac and Buick, whose owner median age is 70 and 71, respectively.
September 16, 2018
Elon Musk recently announced Jerome Guillen’s promotion to President, Automotive. AutoPacific’s Ed Kim comments, “It’s no secret that Musk has been overstressed and overworked…Guillen, as an eight-year veteran of Tesla, knows the company’s operations inside and out and should be more than able to oversee the company’s day to day activities. This should give Musk more bandwidth.”
AUTOPACIFIC ANNOUNCES 2018 IDEAL VEHICLE AWARDS – CHEVROLET RECEIVES MOST BRAND WINS, SWEEPS PICKUP SEGMENTS; TESLA RETURNS TO THE TOP
August 30, 2018
AutoPacific IVAs, recognize vehicles that best meet owners’ expectations for the product. The 2018 awards are based on responses from more than 58,000 owners of new vehicles across all major manufacturers. U.S. brands receive fourteen IVA vehicle wins, up from eleven last year, plus the top overall vehicle and top popular and premium brands. European brands receive eight vehicle wins, up from six in 2017. Asian brands receive five wins, down from six in 2017.
August 25, 2018
About Ford's new subcompact EcoSport SUV, AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan said, “The EcoSport is one of those instances where global products don't necessarily work for all markets." The 5-passenger EcoSport starts at $19,995 and competes mainly against Honda's HR-V and the Chevrolet Trax.
August 15, 2018
Automotive Market Forecast to Drop by 9% from 2017 to 2023 While There Will Be 26% More New Vehicle Lines to Sell
Over the past decades, the American auto industry has “atomized” with more and more new car and light truck models being added to the lineups each year. Consumers demand more and more focused products, and current product development techniques allow vehicles to be developed more quickly and efficiently than in the past. So, why not develop a vehicle targeted at each well-defined buyer group? AutoPacific forecasts 80 more nameplates between 2017 and 2023. AutoPacific explores what this means for sales per nameplate based on our sales volume forecast.
June 19, 2018
AutoPacific Announces 2018 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards: Genesis Most Satisfying Premium Brand; Nissan Earns Most Wins; Top Score Goes to Chevrolet Traverse
AutoPacific today announced its 22nd annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSAs), identifying the most satisfying vehicles in the market. “VSAs provide consumers with insight into which vehicles are giving owners a satisfying ownership experience,” says AutoPacific president George Peterson. AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Awards objectively measure owner satisfaction with 40 separate attributes ranging from seating comfort and interior quality to driving performance.
May 10, 2018
Early on the morning of May 2, a series of explosions occurred at a Meridian Magnesium Products of America plant in Eaton Rapids, MI, leaving the plant badly damaged and halting Ford's production of the F-150 as key parts provided by the supplier were unavailable. AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan talked to NPR about the effects that go far beyond an individual automaker. "It's very stressful for the entire supply chain," says Sullivan. "As Ford shuts down its factories, the orders going to suppliers dry up within a few hours ... that's how efficient things have become."
May 8, 2018
The Jeep Wrangler has sold exceptionally well so far this year and a new 4-cylinder turbo engine will be available soon. With a 20% increase in fuel economy over the currently available 6 cylinder engine, will buyers opt into it? AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan says, "Given the small increase in fuel economy and the requirement for premium fuel, I can’t gather that too many people would be willing to opt into that. I think a 2-liter turbo is a very nice powertrain in the Jeep Cherokee for a premium, but Wrangler buyers are just a different animal. I think the V6 is going to be far more successful, and I think they probably know that.”
May 2, 2018
Elon Musk shared Tesla's earnings report for the 1st quarter of 2018. The conference call started strong, with Musk forecasting an end to Tesla's cash-burning days. However, investors cringed and stocks were down as much as 74 percent after Musk berated analysis for asking "boring" questions about the company's capital requirements. AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan shared his thoughts saying, “The boring questions can also be categorized as the tough ones. I hope the Tesla fans know how to swim, because without the answers to the tough questions, it looks like Musk is leading them straight into the water.”
April 17, 2018
Tesla is temporarily suspending production of the Model 3 sedan for a period of four to five days to improve automation and address bottlenecks that have hindered the production process. This is the second time Tesla has halted production in about two months. According to AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan, "Traditional automakers adjust bottlenecks on the fly during a launch. This is totally out of the ordinary.” Tesla expects the shutdown to ultimately boost production and plans to make three or four times as many Model 3 cars in the second quarter.
April 12, 2018
With a median buyer age of 66 years, the Toyota Avalon aligns with the general market for large sedans and falls between the Buick LaCrosse, with the oldest buyer (median age 75) and the Kia Cadenza, with the youngest buyer (median age 57). But the Avalon's 2019 makeover gets some millennial-fitting features such as AppleCarPlay and Amazon Alexa connectivity, a smartphone-shaped cup holder, a tablet holder and four USB ports. AutoPacific's Ed Kim said, "The new Avalon is quite expressively styled, and keep in mind that its older Baby Boomer audience isn’t necessarily hankering for boring vehicles." Perhaps the new model will keep the boomers while adding the millennials.
March 29, 2018
Japanese automaker Nissan and French automaker Renault are reportedly weighing a deal to fully merge after years of close cooperation and ownership ties. The deal may be necessary to help them afford the increasing costs to develop future technologies, such as electric cars and self-driving vehicles. "The future looks bleak for the small players left without bigger partners," said AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan. "Nissan and Renault really need to move past the engagement and get married in order to force the kind of changes they need to make to take on Volkswagen and Toyota."
March 22, 2018
AutoPacific's George Peterson had fun driving Hyundai's new Kona small crossover SUV on the Kona coast of Hawaii in March. The Kona wades into the fray of an insanely competitive segment that has 45 small XSUVs on sale now. Hyundai is a bit late to the game with this XSUV, but better late than never. Watch for an even smaller XSUV from Hyundai next year, as well as a larger, 3 row, 7 passenger XSUV.
March 7, 2018
AutoPacific's Ed Kim sat down with CNN to discuss Uber's spending and future financial success. How does Uber, at this point in its lifespan, make money and why are people willing to be patient with Uber? "I don't know that there's a short term path to making money," says Kim. "There's the long-term vision of Uber which is revolutionizing transportation partly through autonomous vehicles, but all that stuff is still years away...autonomous cars are really key to Uber turning a profit." Watch Ed's full interview here: http://www.snappytv.com/tc/7334869
AUTOPACIFIC FORECASTS 16.9 MILLION U.S. LIGHT VEHICLE SALES IN 2018 AS AUTO SALES RETURN TO 'NORMAL'
February 22, 2018
Automotive consulting firm AutoPacific today officially announced its forecast for 2018 U.S. light vehicle sales. Down approximately 300,000 units from 2017 sales, AutoPacific forecasts 2018 will see 16.9 million units sold. “As the market continues to return to ‘normal’ after years of pent-up demand and economic recovery, a steady decline in auto sales is expected,” explains Ed Kim, AutoPacific Vice President of Industry Analysis.
February 13, 2018
AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan shares his thoughts on General Motors' closure of an under-performing plant in Gunsan, South Korea. “There appears to be no part of the business that is safe from the microscope,” said Sullivan. “If you’re working at GM and your part of the business isn’t contributing to the company, you can be sure someone is noticing.” Sullivan also notes the difficulty of reducing capacity in Korea due to strained labor relations: “It’s certainly a bold move for GM that sends a clear message that things have to change if plants are going to survive there.”
Michelin Top Brand, Uniroyal, Yokohama and Nitto Surge Upward in AutoPacific’s 2017 Replacement Tire Owner Satisfaction Awards
January 16, 2018
Tire brands Michelin and Pirelli returned to the top two spots in AutoPacific's 2017 Replacement Tire Owner Satisfaction Awards, after being edged out by Goodyear and Bridgestone last year. The study, now in its 7th year, identifies the most satisfying replacement tire brands using owner ratings for 17 different tire attributes. Uniroyal (+8), Yokohama (+8) and Nitto (+5) had the biggest improvement in rankings compared to 2016, while GT Radial (-6), Nexen (-6) and Continental (-6) shared the biggest drop.
January 7, 2018
It's not a matter of if, but when. AutoPacific's Ed Kim talks driverless cars, from the coming years to the coming decades, in an interview with CNN. "We're going to start seeing a lot of autonomous tech in the coming years," says Kim. "By early next decade we'll have several automakers doing pilot programs." A few decades from now Mr. Kim also envisions a consumer movement from private auto ownership to autonomous ride-hailing cars. Click here to watch the complete interview.
January 3, 2018
Palo Alto electric car maker Tesla claimed “major progress” in resolving production bottlenecks for the Model 3, but added another three-month delay to its production target for the car. AutoPacific President George Peterson comments on the delay. “It’s Tesla normal — they’ve had a history of delays,” said Peterson. "Tesla needs to avoid having too many new Model 3 owners acting as beta testers for the car. They need to have all the bugs worked out that they can before they put it on the market."
December 29, 2017
General Motors has received a patent for an airbag on the outside of vehicles designed to "provide protection to a pedestrian." AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan comments on this new development: "GM is looking at the big picture. The company has made a big deal about some of their small cars having 10 airbags to prove they're safer, and break the stereotype of small cars not being safe. GM continues to implement airbag technology in ways we haven't seen from other automakers."
September 27, 2017
Automotive industry research firms IntelliChoice and AutoPacific today announced the winners of the 2017 Motorist Choice Awards. Toyota and General Motors lead; Subaru scores big wins in the important mid-size car and crossover SUV segments. MCA's recognize vehicles that deliver the compelling combination of high consumer satisfaction and lower-than-expected ownership costs.
September 12, 2017
A recently released study by AutoPaciific found 54% of vehicle owners think self-driving vehicles are a "good idea" and 23% are interested in owning one. According to the study, consumers who reject autonomous vehicles do so mainly because they are uncomfortable not being in control of the vehicle and have concerns over reliability.
August 3, 2017
AutoPacific president, George Peterson discusses atomization and the challenges automakers will face with increased nameplates on the market. AutoPacific is forecasting 16,200,000 sales in 2022, but there are 377 nameplates. In an even industry, this would amount to 42,971 sales per nameplate. But...this isn't an evenly distributed industry...
August 1, 2017
July auto sales fell 7% from a year earlier, paving the way for deals on small and mid-size cars as automakers automakers try to clear out excess inventory. AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan says "consumers are going to start to see better incentives, lower financing, possibly more zero-percent-interest rates, more cash on the hood to move these vehicles. You’re not necessarily going to find significant sums of cash to move crossovers right now."
August 1, 2017
Tesla CEO Elon Musk warned that his company could face a half-year of “manufacturing hell” trying to ramp up production of the new Model 3 battery-electric sedan. With a history of falling short of expectations, uneven quality, and Model S issues, AutoPacific's Dave Sullivan explains, "Owners of the more expensive Models S and X are generally more willing to tolerate problems because they have other vehicles they can drive while their Tesla is in the shop. Model 3 owners are likely to have only the Tesla to drive, so any quality issues could pose a serious headache."
June 6, 2017
AutoPacific announces its 21st annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. Lincoln is the most satisfying premium brand, regaining leadership from Tesla and nosing out domestic luxury competitor Cadillac. The newcomer Genesis brand from Hyundai ranks third - close behind Lincoln and Cadillac. GMC is the top ranked popular brand, retaking the lead from 2016’s top popular brand, Kia.