Some noticeable trends among U.S. Hispanic consumers across the economic spectrum have emerged over the past couple of years that are helping to drive the current automotive market recovery. Chief among them is the fact that the purchasing power of U.S. Hispanics continues to rise and they're spending it on new vehicles from small gas-saving cars and light-duty trucks to luxury sedans and sport-utility models.
The Hispanic contribution to U.S. Personal New Vehicle sales from January-June 2012 was $13.8 billion, said Marc Bland, head of diversity and inclusion for automotive data and research firm Polk. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Chevrolet and Ford were the top five makes preferred by Hispanic consumers during that time period.
Granted, there have been market-share gains and losses among the list. Toyotas market share among Hispanics is a few percentage points lower than it was a few years ago; specifically, 0.41 percent higher than last year. Although several other brands experienced modest gains or losses, Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia have made significant gains in recent years.
Although there has been a reported 8 percent decline in Toyota new-vehicle purchases among U.S. Hispanics, Toyota still has a 17.4 percent market share to lead all brands, followed by 13 percent for Honda, 12.1 percent for Nissan and 10.2 percent for Chevrolet, he added.
Dodge saw a 0.82 percent market-share gain last year, the largest of any automaker in the top 10.
The most popular vehicle segments for Hispanics purchasing General Motors brands are compact cars, midsize cars, compact crossovers and pickup trucks, said Tia Hardeman, a marketing manager for GM. These key segments are setting the stage and opportunity for the redesigned Malibu, a brand-new platform for the Chevrolet Silverado and the Chevy Cruze, Ms. Hardeman reported.
Although not among the top five most popular model categories with U.S. Hispanics this year, Chrysler Group has seen significant gains in its Hispanic consumer base, particularly with midsize vehicles, said Justin Byrd, head of multicultural marketing and advertising for Chrysler. The automaker's Ram, Wrangler, Challenger, Charger and Grand Cherokee continue to be popular among Hispanic consumers. Other brands rounding out the top 10 include Dodge, Volkswagen and Jeep.
HispanicBusiness.com staff assisted in writing each of the articles featured in the 2012 Annual Automotive Report.
10 NISSAN ROGUE
The 2012 Nissan Rogue turned heads with its stylish design and super-affordable price range. The front-wheel drive 170-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder model starts at $22,070 and gets an estimated 23-28 mpg. The all-wheel-drive version drops to an estimated 22-26 mpg. The $29,710 2012 Rogue delivers a long list of features from extra-large tires and 4-wheel independent suspension to heated leather seats, stability and traction control, to rear-window defroster and rear mono-wiper blade.
The 2012 Sentra speaks volumes about Nissan's commitment to value and reliability. The Sentra starts at $16,430 for the 135-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, which delivers a reported 24-31 mpg. The 200-hp 2.5-liter Sentra SE-R sedans range from $20,490 to $20,990 and offer an average estimated 21-30 mpg. The Sentra seats 5 passengers and comes standard with 4 doors. Other features include tilt steering wheel, CD player, front and rear beverage holders and power-operated exterior side mirrors.
The Silverado has established itself among pickup enthusiasts as a "classic," and the 2012 model is no exception. The style is up front and bold while retaining the elegant curves that make it at home on the range or uptown. The price starts at $22,195, but for power lovers, the 6.2-liter V-8 provides 403 hp at maximum torque of 417 pounds per foot. The Z82 Trailering Package has a 9.5-inch rear axle, and the 5.3-liter V-8 1500 model offers 21 mpg/highway and 15 mpg/city.
The 2012 Honda CR-V is the kind of automobile that commutes on weekdays, goes out to dinner in the evening and heads out to the countryside on weekends. Price ranges from $22,695 for the 2WD LX, to $23,945 for the 4WD version, to $27,445 for the 2WD EX-L. The standard LX is equipped with a 185-hp 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that delivers an estimated 23-31 mpg. With its sleek look and forward-thrusting headlights, it's easy to see why Honda's CR-V was among the top-selling 2012 vehicles.
The 2012 Ford F-series trucks tout an Integrated Trailer Brake Controller and a Trailer Sway Control system. Advanced Trac with Roll Stability Control selectively reduces power while providing electronic wheel braking to assist drivers on rough terrain. The pickup is available with Electronic Locking Rear Differential to provide traction for both axles. The 2012 F-series comes with different engines and drivetrains, ranging from the 302-hp 3.7-liter V-6 to the 411-hp 6.2-liter V-8. Pricing starts at $21,495 for the F-150 XL and goes up to $42,130 for the F-150 Platinum.
The 2012 Nissan Altima begets a more expensive sedan. The 2.5 model starts at $20,550; the 2.5S ranges from $22,710 to $25,570. The Altima delivers an impressive 175 hp from a 4-cylinder engine, while the V-6 3.5-liter SR churns out 270 hp. Nissan offers standard electronic safety, steering, drivetrain and braking systems. Option packages focus on music sound systems, Bluetooth access, large aluminum alloy wheels, folding heated outside mirrors and other luxury features. The Altima 4-cylinder model is rated at 23/city and 32/highway.
The 2012 Honda Accord satisfies buyers who want performance, style and safety and resale value. The 2012 Accord LX-S belies its $23,080 price. It is available with a 4-cylinder engine that delivers 190 hp, or a 271-hp 3.5-liter V-6 with automatic or 6-speed manual transmission. The 2012 Accords, available as the EX ($24,755), EX-L ($27,405) and EX-L V-6 ($30,030), deliver impressive fuel efficiency. The 4-cylinder Accord Coupe with 5-speed auto transmission is rated at an estimated 33 mpg average.
Drivers continue to find value in the Camry, one of the best-selling vehicles of all time. The $22,055 2012 L model's standard safety features include 10 airbags, while the $22,600 LE adds Bluetooth technology; the $24,775 XLE offers integrated fog lamps, a power-slide moon-roof, climate-zone system and 8-way power driver's seat. The Camry, available with electronic Blind Spot sensor, has a standard 4-cylinder engine that delivers 25 mpg/city and 35 mpg/highway; the 6-cylinder Camry engine achieves 21 mpg/city and an estimated 30 mpg/highway.
The 2012 Toyota Corolla is a study in stylish engineering and standard features that exceed expectations. The Corolla starts at $16,230 for the L series and comes with 6 airbags, power windows and door locks, a split fold-down rear seat and "available" Bluetooth technology. The S Corolla ($18,230) comes with rear spoilers, a tilt steering wheel and a USB port for iPods. The Corolla is equipped with anti-lock brakes, and the 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine offers an estimated range of 27-34 mpg.
The 2012 Honda Civic is still a favorite among fuel-conscious consumers. The 4-door access and roomy interior give the Civic the feel of a much larger sedan, but the 1.8-liter engine offers exceptional fuel economy, rated at 28 city/39 highway mpg. The 2012 Civic comes with standard front and side airbags, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes and an electronic Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Pricing starts at $15,955 and ranges up to $23,601 for the EX-L with linked navigation and voice recognition.