February generated spectacular near record Canadian auto sales...a Wow moment.
Lets take a closer look at the results, and while most folks compare numbers. This morning we are taking a different perspective.
Its was a record year in Canada with 1.85 M vehicles sold a truly remarkable achievement.
The executives at the various manufacturers in the waning months of 2014, looking ahead to 2015 are reflecting on how to improve on a record year. Its an auto business mantra that you always have to achieve higher numbers.
To make it interesting there is increased volatility in the air, with a tinge of uncertainty.
How much more do you improve on 1.85 M? At best probably a few percentage points (< 5%).
The astutes are grasping that mobility at a monthly payment is surpassing ownership.
Financial services (free flowing money) will continue in 2015.
The weak players (manufacturers) will adhere to their tried and true (stale) play book. The stronger players will need to displace "someone" in one fashion or another to increase sales. Other players have fortresses and moats around their market segment.
Hopefully all manufacturers condensed their voluminous big data to uncover market segments with a strategic advantage.
We could keep on going but you surely grasp that for any manufacturer planning for 2015 offered opportunities and posed challenges.
Strong Start - In the auto business its a given that you start strong, in drag racing its known as a "hole shot" a strong start in January provides an advantage and creates quick momentum. Especially with increased volatility in the Canadian landscape.
Conquer New Customers - If one manufacturer conquers another loses, need we say more.
The Migration to SUV/CUV - Which manufacturer will generate a "utilities" strategy to provide a quick start, and advantage.
February 2 Months Into 2015
Its an understatement to say that the auto business is competitive and unforgiving. If anyone misses a month its a salvageable situation. If anyone misses 2 months especially if they blinked due to a competitor its an arduous challenge and task to overcome a 2 month miss.
"The climate was just awful in eastern Canada we held back on programs till March, watch us now." Its a good PR line to deflect reality that they are in deep yogurt.
At the end of February sales in Canada are ahead by 3% a stunning achievement especially after a record 2014, and a strong December.
Who Caught Our Attention
MerBimAu - we would have been shocked if Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi did not continue increasing their sales.
Toyota - made it clear from the start of 2015 that they are more aggressive.
Korea - these folks have enjoyed their windows of opportunities a few years ago, and are facing unrelenting competition.
Detroit - they are collectively waiting for March to overcome the Alberta effect.
Subaru - the niche is expanding.
Nissan - the Micra effect endures.
Honda - a serious blink after only 2 months.
VW - the momentum continues.
It will be interesting to see how March and the first quarter develops.