What sells is whats new
Buyers increasingly want whats new.
As a result, first- or second-year sales of a product often are the strongest.
This is especially true of luxury models and innovative designs.
Consider that the sales of every BMW model are down this year except for the new 6 Series and X3, both of which are up from zero sales last year.
Every Jaguar model is down except for the new XJ | every Audi model is down except for the new A8 | every Buick except for the new Rainier | every Mitsubishi except for the new Endeavor | every Mazda except for the new Mazda3, Mazda6 and RX-8.
If a brand didnt introduce a new product, such as Lincoln and Saab, there was little to pull up its sales; both brands showed decreases for every model they carry.
Because whats new is what sells, we may be entering an era in which manufacturers launch more new vehicles, more often and in smaller numbers.
In other words, we could see a lot more niche products as automakers strive to keep their product lineups fresh.
So instead of trying to sell 400,000 models in a year such as a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Ford Explorer we might see manufacturers sell three or four different vehicles with a volume of 100,000 units each. Or fewer.
That may be the strategy GM is employing with the Kappa platform it introduced at the beginning of the year, which will be used to produce distinct Pontiac, Chevrolet, Saturn and perhaps other models two- and four-door models, sedans, coupes, station wagons and roadsters.
Taken to an extreme, manufacturers someday might produce one-of-a-kind or built-to-order models.
Come to think of it, thats somewhat of the approach being taken by Scion, with dealer add-ons allowing buyers to customize their vehicle with accessories such as a colored steering wheel and LED interior lights.
Look for this keep-it-fresh trend to accelerate, with product introductions occurring more often and increasing numbers of models on the market.
The $16,500 (as shown) Scion tC looks to be a strong niche player...