RAV4 challenges F-Series for retail leadership

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Any discussion of the most popular vehicles in the US must include the Toyota RAV4(TM). As of January 2019, this compact utility is among the top five most popular vehicles in the country. for thirty-nine of forty-four months (see summary below). Additionally, the RAV4 ranked second in retail registrations in 11 of those 44 months, and first this past February.

RAV4 challenges F-Series for retail leadership

So it’s no surprise that in August 2022, the most recent month for which new retail registration data is available, more retail customers opted for the RAV4 than for any other model except the Ford F Series (F) pickup, and the gap between the two was just 230 units.

RAV4 has several strengths. One is its longevity in the market: The RAV4 launched in the US in 1996, before any other compact car-based crossover on the market except the Kia Sportage, which arrived a year earlier. (Honda CR-V and Subaru Forester hit the market in 1997.) And while the RAV4 has obviously gone through numerous restylings and upgrades, it has carried the same name throughout its 26-year history, earning coveted fairness at the car level. model. with American consumers. In fact, 31% of RAV4 households purchase another, up from industry-wide model loyalty of 25% in the first eight months of 2022.

The compact utility also benefits from being part of a strong brand: 57% of Toyota owners who returned to the market so far in 2022 purchased another Toyota, the most brand loyalty in the mainstream market after Ford; this obviously provides a bountiful source of sales for the RAV4.

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RAV4 challenges F-Series for retail leadership

The RAV4 is also attracting competitive owners at an impressive rate. Looking again at the first eight months of 2022, the RAV4 capture/defection rate of 1.04 not only indicates a net influx of customers (for every 104 households conquered by the RAV4 from other models, 100 RAV4 households convert to other models), it also beats Toyota’s average ratio of .88 and is second highest among Toyota’s volume models after the Tacoma. However, it should be noted that the RAV4 does battle against several competitors, with a ratio of less than 1.0 (net output) with the Jeep Wrangler, Mazda CX-5, VW Tiguan, Sportage and Hyundai Tucson, among others.

RAV4 challenges F-Series for retail leadership

Since vehicle prices remain high for many consumers, it is important that the actual RAV4 monthly payments are very competitive. Monthly payments for a new RAV4 with a 60-month (or longer) loan averaged $550 in the August 2022 CYTD, less than the compact utility segment’s average payment of $580 during the same period. The RAV4’s payout is 10th lowest among the 23 compact utility vehicles for which S&P Global Mobility has sufficient financial data, but it’s still above payouts from competitors such as the Forester, CX-5, Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Escape, Tucson and Tiguan.*

RAV4 challenges F-Series for retail leadership

The RAV4 also benefits from a choice of powertrains, including both the traditional internal combustion engine and a hybrid gas/electric offering (Escape, CR-V, Tucson, Wrangler, Sportage and Nissan Rogue also offer these two options). ). RAV4’s hybrid installation rate has been on the rise, reaching 58% in the second quarter of 2022, exceeding 50% for the first time (in part driven by the hybrid’s impressive combination of fuel efficiency and performance).

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RAV4 challenges F-Series for retail leadership

Importantly, a hybrid RAV4 buyer will pay only $39 more per month (with a 60+ month loan) than a gas RAV4 customer ($569 vs. $530), but the hybrid buyer now has an “electrified” vehicle. , very fashionable these days. In contrast, if the customer purchased the Toyota BZ4X, the RAV4’s electric counterpart, his monthly payment of $810 would be $280 above his monthly gas payment.

RAV4 challenges F-Series for retail leadership

RAV4 hybrids also bring indirect benefit to the Toyota brand. Across the industry, when a hybrid home returns to the market, around 13.4% will migrate to an electric vehicle; in contrast, when a gasoline household gets a new vehicle, only 4% will migrate to an EV (see chart below). In this sense, the hybrid serves as a bridge to a fully electric vehicle, the final destination of the entire US auto industry.

RAV4 challenges F-Series for retail leadership

Note: S&P Global Mobility loyalty data cited in this report is derived from the Household Methodology, in which the newly purchased vehicle is not necessarily a replacement for the original vehicle, but may be an addition to the household fleet.

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Publisher’s note: The bullet points in this article were chosen by the editors of Seeking Alpha.

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