The apparent demand for fuel-efficient vehicles can be tracked using a new source. CarMax reported a dramatic change in search rankings for fuel-efficient vehicles compared to other vehicles on their CarMax.com website. According to AutoChannel.com, which reported the CarMax findings, vehicles with a higher MPG rating were searched for more frequently than other vehicles. Such findings reflect consumer attitudes towards rising gas prices.
For example, the Mazda3, with an estimated 24/32 MPG, rose 23 places to become the 16th most-searched vehicle in June. The Toyota Corolla jumped five places due to its 28/37 MPG rating, going from 9th to 4th over the same period. One of the largest jumps was the Volkswagen Beetle, sporting an estimated 21/28 MPG, leaping from 71st to 40th place from March to July.
Vehicle research trends obtained from companies such as CarMax can be extrapolated to the entire auto industry, suggesting future sales of fuel-efficient vehicles. According to Ann Yauger, director of the CarMax website, "With gas prices continuing to rise, fuel efficiency has increased in importance for many shoppers."
For SEMA’s members, opportunities arise as more of these small vehicles enter the market, not just from new-car sales, but from sales of used vehicles as well.
For more specialty-market research and insight, visit www.sema.org/research.