As the US economy slowly emerges from recession, one encouraging sign of recovery is in-market shopper demand* for new cars and trucks. Thus far in 2010 the number of new vehicle shoppers has increased to levels not seen for at least two years. In May 2010, new vehicle demand totaled 2.8 million shoppers, its highest level since February 2008. Given overall market trends, most brands have seen more shoppers. However, the ones really making waves are those that are outpacing market gains. Hyundai is without question one of those brands leading the way based on several measures.
Since the beginning of 2010, Hyundai has been on fire, gaining more than four points in Share of Market Interest (SMI), a brand’s percentage of all shoppers market-wide. In fact, Hyundai demand reached an all-time high 324,000 shoppers in May 2010 which drove SMI to 11.6%, up from 7.4% in December 2009. That growth propelled Hyundai past Nissan (11.2%) and has them knocking on the door of Honda (12.9%) and Toyota (14.2%), both of whom have had well documented struggles of late.
The source of Hyundai’s demand success can be traced directly the successful launches of the new 2010 Tucson and the red-hot 2011 Sonata. Since the beginning of the year, demand for both new models has tripled from pre-launch levels, putting both among the most shopped models market-wide. In fact, in May 2010, Sonata was the #1 shopped model across the entire market, making the list of more than 130,000 shoppers. That’s more than Camry or Accord or Civic or Fusion. And Tucson, despite a leveling off in demand in recent months, remains one of the top vehicles shopped as well.
While both models have taken off it’s the Sonata that really steals the show. The new model was introduced during the Super Bowl and the official launch didn’t take place until May. But it’s clear that new vehicle shoppers didn’t wait until May to shop. Demand took off right out of the box following its introduction and has stayed red hot right through May.
Sonata, as well as Tucson, are helping Hyundai change the automotive landscape. Not only are prospects putting them on their shopping lists in record numbers but the brand is competing, and winning, against the best Honda and Toyota have to offer. Not only is Hyundai adding more shoppers they are doing a good job converting those shoppers to buyers. May sales of nearly 50,000 were 33% higher compared to a year ago with Sonata sales in particular nearly doubling year-over-year.
Hyundai is now more than a viable alternative to the market leaders, they are the one to beat. The competition would be wise to take note as new products successfully move the brand to new heights and compete among segment leaders for the shopping attention of new vehicle prospects.
*Compete measures new vehicle demand from observed shopping behavior on the top 30+ 3rd party automotive sites, such as Edmunds, KBB and Autotrader.
Jackie is a marketing consultant for Compete with over 10 years client service and consulting experience in automotive, travel and youth marketing. Jackie holds a Master’s from Northwestern University in Integrated Marketing Communications and has been part of the Compete team for longer than she can remember. When she isn’t writing for Compete, Jackie spends her time running around after her kids, sampling organic wines and pondering life’s questions like…’can I throw this away without anyone noticing?’ You can connect with Jackie on LinkedIn or Twitter.