A second quarter brand report shows that European auto brands in total showed the largest increase in consumer interest in the U.S. Ultimately this should lead to an increase in European vehicle sales, but it is difficult to track the conversion of awareness to actual purchase.
The report from NADA Guides released today attributes the surge in consumer interest in European brands was helped by the introduction of the new Fiat 500 and the Mini Countryman – both highly publicized small, fuel efficient vehicles that appeared as the supply of Japanese small cars disappeared because of a tragic Japan earthquake.
Data reveal that interest in Fiat increased by more than 168% during the second quarter of 2011 and MINI saw an increase in consumer interest of more than 206%.
Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota maintained position as the top three most researched brands on NADAguides.com, with Nissan and Honda trading spots and rounding out the top five, although interest in Ford decreased 15% when compared to the first quarter.
Ford accounted for 14.3% of consumer interest during the second quarter of 2011. Chevrolet and Toyota both stayed consistent during the second quarter of 2011 as compared to the first quarter, with Chevrolet at 11.8% of consumer interest (11.9% Q1) and Toyota at 9.6% (10.3% Q1).
Overall interest for domestic brands actually decreased by 4.4% while sales increased 1.9% during the second quarter of 2011 – which the NADA analysts think may be an indication that sales for the domestic brands may see a decrease in the near future. Consumer interest in Japanese brands increased by 1.8% in Q2, while sales numbers for the brands dropped 3.5% during the second quarter.