Owners very loyal to big sport-utes AGOURA HILLS, Calif.—The loyalty of owners of full-size sport-utility vehicles has doubled, from 30 percent in 1996 to nearly 60 percent last year.
A buyer retention report issued by J.D. Power and Associates, the Agoura Hills-based research firm, also noted that despite the overall popularity of SUVs, the high loyalty rate seen among full-size SUV owners has not spread to the newest variant in the market, the mini SUV. Fewer than 20 percent of mini SUV owners currently are buying the same type vehicle when replacing theirs—down from three in 10 in 1997, Power said.
Thad Malesh, senior consultant at Power, speculated that mini SUVs are not living up to what owners expected. ``However, people seem to be very satisfied with their full-size SUVs and, more importantly, a record number of these owners are replacing their current vehicle with another full-size SUV, despite the fact that they are big, expensive and lack fuel efficiency.''
Annual aftermarket symposium in May
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C.—Top industry leaders will discuss the global business outlook for the next century during the upcoming Global Automotive Aftermarket Symposium (GAAS).
The annual educational conference is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 25, through 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 26, at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare Hotel in Chicago.
Keynote speaker will be Roger D. Blackwell, Ohio State University professor and president of Blackwell Associates Inc., who will discuss ``Global Economic Trends.'' He will be followed by David Cole, director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation at the University of Michigan, who will address technology challenges for the 21st century.
John M. Reiss, Gates Rubber Co. president, will speak about global manufacturing.
GAAS luncheon speaker will be retired Chrysler Corp. vice chairman Robert A. Lutz, current chairman, president and CEO of Exide Corp.
Among other speakers will be J. Michael Hochswender, president and CEO of Smithers Scientific Services, who will discuss future trends in the tire industry.
The symposium will conclude with a panel discussion: ``Where is the aftermarket headed?''
Sponsoring associations for the program include the Tire Association of North America and the Specialty Equipment Market Association.
For registration information, contact Michael Barratt, Automotive Parts & Accessories Association, at (301) 654-6664 or via e-mail: [email protected]
Hunter joins SPX in marketing effort
KALAMAZOO, Mich.—SPX Corp.'s Vehicle Service Solutions division and Hunter Engineering Co. have entered a North American Business Cooperation Agreement involving Hunter's U.S. service organization and the field operations of both firms in Canada.
Under the agreement:
SPX said it will continue to provide field service and support to its U.S. wheel service customers through its existing network, in addition to using Hunter's 240-person field service organization.
SPX Canada will become the exclusive agent of Hunter wheel service products in Canada, while Hunter's existing sales organization will be consolidated with SPX's.
Hunter will be licensed to use SPX wheel alignment patents and trademarks related to wheel service in the U.S. and Canada.
SPX Vehicle Service Solutions markets equipment and technical information services for the global motor vehicle industry. Hunter provides computer-based under-car service and wheel alignment equipment.