ATLANTA — Echoing the trend seen in the recently released New Car Insights Report, the notable increase in gas prices in January also sent used car shoppers searching for fuel-efficient cars on AutoTrader.com. In January, the national average for a gallon of fuel rose to nearly $3.40 per gallon, a 30 cent increase over the same time last year. With that increase in gas prices came a jump in interest for more fuel-efficient compact and midsize sedans from December 2011 to January 2012, in both the certified pre-owned (CPO) and used (non-CPO) arenas.
This trend was most evident in the lists of Big Movers, which include vehicles that have generated significantly more interest in one month compared to the month prior. Analysts at AutoTrader.com keep a close watch on the big movers, as they illuminate interesting early trends in consumer shopping behavior.
“Car shoppers are heavily influenced by economic factors, and the price of fuel has a strong correlation to the specific vehicles shoppers are considering,” said Rick Wainschel, vice president of automotive insights at AutoTrader.com. “With the spike in gas prices in January combined with forecasts for even higher prices, interest in fuel-efficient vehicles will very likely increase in the coming months.”
In the CPO arena, five fuel-efficient cars showed increases in consumer interest on the list of Big Movers:
- Kia Optima moved up 35 spots to No. 155
- Chevrolet Cruze moved up 19 spots to No. 85
- Ford Focus up 15 moved up spots to No. 115
- Hyundai Elantra moved up 14 spots to No. 89
- Volkswagen Eos moved up 11 spots to No. 142
For Used (non-CPO) vehicles, five fuel-efficient cars also showed increases in consumer interest on the list of Big Movers:
- Kia Optima moved up 19 spots to No. 113
- Chevrolet Cruze moved up 17 spots to No. 160
- Volkswagen Beetle moved up 17 spots to No. 201
- Toyota Prius moved up 10 spots to No. 78
- Dodge Caliber moved up 10 spots to No. 106
The increasing interest in fuel-efficient vehicles was enough to buoy the compact and midsize car segments from December to January—for both CPO and late model used (non-CPO). Month-over-month, the CPO compact car segment experienced an increase of 0.7 share points, while the CPO midsize car segment experienced an increase of 0.5 share points. These were the two biggest increases in share for segments.
On the late model used (non-CPO) side, the compact car segment increased 0.5 share points month-over-month, and the midsize car segment increased the same. Again, these were the two biggest increases in share for any of the 13 segments.
Full Report Available Online
The Used/CPO Car Insights Report, brought to you by the AutoTrader.com Trend Engine, provides analysis of pre-owned car shopper behavior on the AutoTrader.com site. In addition to the trend seen with fuel-efficient vehicles, analysts also noted sustained and growing interest in two popular models from the Chrysler Group: the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler. For more information on this topic, view the full report here.
Atlanta-based AutoTrader.com, created in 1997, is the Internet’s ultimate automotive marketplace and consumer information website. AutoTrader.com aggregates in a single location millions of new cars, used cars and certified pre-owned cars from thousands of auto dealers and private sellers and is a leading online resource for auto dealers, individuals and manufacturers to advertise and market their vehicles to in-market shoppers. The company also provides a robust suite of software tools for dealers and manufacturers to help them manage and market their vehicle inventory and display advertising on the Internet. AutoTrader.com continues to grow key business metrics, including revenue, profitability and site traffic. Today, AutoTrader.com attracts millions of unique monthly visitors who utilize the site to review descriptions, photos and videos of vehicles for sale; research and compare vehicles; review pricing and specials; and read auto-related content like buying and selling tips and editorial coverage of major auto shows and automotive trends. AutoTrader.com operates one other auto marketing brand, AutoTraderClassics.com. AutoTrader.com also owns used vehicle management software company vAuto, Kelley Blue Book (Kbb.com), HomeNet Automotive, a leading provider of online inventory management and merchandising solutions for the automotive retail industry and VinSolutions, a leading provider of end-to-end solution platforms for dealers. AutoTrader.com is a majority-owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises. Providence Equity Partners is a 25 percent owner of the company and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers is also an investor. For more information, please visit www.autotrader.com.