Automobile manufacturers pull out all the stops a couple times per year to make the most of their sales potential. One of the most apparent marketing initiatives always comes during the Christmas holiday season. Lexus’ tag line is the “Lexus December to Remember” Sales Event. Chrysler’s is called the “Big Finish 2014.” A new study and our analysis conclusively prove that these year-end marketing promos do work.
Swapalease.com is a company that brokers leases. They help customers trade leases on-line. This is big business, and Swapalease has its own marketing research that often churns out interesting facts. This year, Swapalease looked back to 2013 and analyzed how much the automotive-search web traffic increased during the sales push at year’s end. Over 700,000 searches were analyzed to see which brands benefitted most from the holiday adverts. Lexus was number one among luxury brands. Lexus December inquiries by shoppers went up 0.6% compared to its activity level in November. Infiniti was second with a 0.3% uptick. Shockingly, Mercedes Benz inquiries dropped the most with a 6.9% decline. Cadillac, BMW, and Audi all saw declines in their customer web inquiries over that same November to December 2013 comparison. If you think these numbers mean there is not much of an uptick in sales, keep reading.
Chrysler was the non-luxury brand with the highest positive web inquiry result with a whopping 14.8% uptick. Mazda, Jeep, GMC, Ford and Chevy all had increases large than any luxury brand. This would lead one to assume that the non-luxury brands see higher sales results. However, the luxury brands do better.
We looked at the sales periods for both Lexus and Chrysler (all of Chrysler’s US brands combined). Chrysler’s sales were up about 9% for both cars and trucks in December compared to November. Last year, Chrysler’s car sales were running about 34,000 per month, and truck sales were at about 108,000 per month. In December of 2013 Chrysler sold 37,739 cars and 132,258 trucks. We looked at October and also January 2014 to ensure the results were not just “organically” growing sales. Indeed December 2013 was a much larger month for Chrysler than October 2013, November 2013 or January of 2014.
A ten percent uptick is always welcome, but Lexus earns its living during the holidays. Although Lexus’ has a smaller web traffic uptick, the company does sell more cars in December than any other month by a long-shot. Lexus cars were up 27% in December last year, and its SUVs were up 25%. Lexus’ car sales of about 13,900 per month jumped to 19,083. Lexus’ SUV sales of about 11,700 per month jumped up to 15,674.
So what explains the much smaller web traffic uptick by luxury shoppers? Perhaps luxury buyers have more disposable income and can simply decide to buy in a given month. Customers with a smaller budget may be shopping for incentives and deals more thoroughly than their well-heeled neighbors.