Today In Math: Unsurprising Sales Stats

March 10, 2009
chart art

chart art

Shocking news from the pollsters today: when companies nix car models, customer loyalty suffers.

Yes, proving once again that we're in the wrong line of work, someone has presumably paid R. L. Polk & Co. big bucks to show that by 86ing, say, the PT Cruiser, Chrysler will lose many Cruiser owners to GM, Ford, and other automakers. Of course, it's completely logical to assume that car buyers will be pissed off if they feel like they picked a loser last time they roamed the lots; someone just wanted Polk to interview consumers to make sure that's correct.

Which is not to say that there aren't some interesting stats in the survey--only that the survey's most hyped findings are among the least intriguing. Here are a few that piqued our interest:

  • Around 45% of buyers choose to replace their cars with newer versions of the same model.
  • Put another way, that means 55% of car buyers have been completely put off their lunch by what they're driving.
  • In terms of vehicle class, compact car owners are most miffed by model cancellations, with an additional 12.7% defecting to other automakers.
  • Luxury car owners only registered a 5.9% increased tendency to make the switch, keeping them right around the 50/50 mark.
  • Folks who drive large cars and pickups don't seem to be affected by model cancellation.

We understand that in times like these, retaining every possible customer is important, but we also understand that companies need to know when to fold 'em and cut losses. The study didn't really delve into a cost-benefit analysis, but if it had, Polk might've found that losing a handful of PT customers is offset by cutting the cost of making a car that no one's buying.


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