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Wave of Nostalgia Hits the New York Auto Show

28 April 2000

Wave of Nostalgia Hits the New York Auto Show
   Sixth Report in a Series From the New York International Auto Show Floor

    NEW YORK, April 27 The Polk Company today released the
sixth in a series of trend reports direct from the New York International Auto
Show (NYIAS) floor at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
     Today's report details the survey responses Polk captured at NYIAS 2000
during the five days the show has been open to the public (April 22-26) and
includes more than 4,800 respondents.  It also provides a sampling of
additional questions being asked at the Polk Auto Trend Centers, along with a
Top 5 listing of favorites from the show displays.  The Polk Auto Trend
Centers will be used to collect NYIAS attendee opinions throughout the 2000
show and reports will be issued on a regular basis, providing more in-depth
analysis as the show progresses.
    Polk is a global company, delivering multi-dimensional marketing
information solutions to the automotive industry to enhance the relationships
consumers have with brands.  Through lifetime understanding of individuals,
Polk helps its clients maintain current customers, win new ones and build
their brand loyalty.  The company has served the automotive industry for 78
years and is the longest-standing steward of automobile records in the United
States.  Founded in Detroit in 1870, Polk launched its motor vehicle
statistical operations in 1922 when the first car registration reports were
published.  It now serves nearly every segment of the motor vehicle industry
as an analytical consultant and statistician, a provider of database-marketing
services, a supplier of vehicle histories and a data enabler for geographic
information systems.  Based in Southfield, Mich., Polk is a privately held
firm that employs more than 2,500 people worldwide, currently operating in
Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Holland, Spain, the United Kingdom
and the United States.

    Will Wave of Nostalgia Drive the Automotive Market?
    Even as dramatic futuristic designs are displayed at the 100th Annual New
York International Auto Show, a wave of nostalgia among consumers is turning
several vehicles into major success stories.
    With the introduction of the New Beetle in 1998, Volkswagen became the
first to capitalize on consumers seeking a taste of their youth, even as they
move solidly into middle age.  The New Beetle has continued to experience
strong sales, and in the span of just two years has become one of the top five
small car choices among consumers.
    Other recent introductions are capitalizing on nostalgia in various ways.
The Audi TT, Jaguar S-TYPE, and Ford Thunderbird all borrow heavily from the
designs of their ancestors, while the boom in roadsters owes a debt of
gratitude to the British sports cars of the 1960s.  Meanwhile, the Chrysler PT
Cruiser and Plymouth Prowler look back to the free-spirited design of the hot
rods of an earlier age.
    Many of these vehicles are a hit at NYIAS 2000.  Both the VW Beetle and
the Chrysler PT Cruiser are hands-down leaders in the "vote for your favorite"
within their respective categories.  In the concept vehicle category, models
combining futuristic features with classic roadster or hot-rod type styling
are also popular, receiving many of the favorite votes among consumers.

    Nostalgia Vehicles                       Voting for Favorite Vehicle
    at NYIAS 2000                            (Ranking  within Category)

    Model                 Category            Overall      Males       Females
    VW  New Beetle        Small Car              1           1            1
    Chrysler PT Cruiser   Minivan/
                          Full Size Van          1           1            1
    Jaguar S-Type         Luxury Car             1           1            1
    Audi TT               Sports Car            10           9            5
    Jaguar F-Type         Concept Vehicle        3           3            3
    Chevrolet SSR         Concept Vehicle       10           9           11

    Nostalgia Vehicles                       Voting for Favorite Vehicle
    at NYIAS 2000                            (Ranking  within Category)

                                               Gen-X    Baby Boomers    Market
    Model                 Category            (18-34)      (35-54)       (55+)
    VW  New Beetle        Small Car              1            1            1
    Chrysler PT Cruiser   Minivan/
                          Full Size Van          1            1            2
    Jaguar S-Type         Luxury Car             1            5            1
    Audi TT               Sports Car             7            4           15
    Jaguar F-Type         Concept Vehicle        3            3            2
    Chevrolet SSR         Concept Vehicle        9            8           --

    The popularity of these vehicles is also evidenced at the dealership where
a 4-6 month wait for many of the new nostalgia vehicles is not unusual.
Consumers who want to drive away with the Z8, BMW's newly introduced classic
roadster, may have to wait up to three years.

    A Growing Market for Nostalgia
    A critical factor driving the introduction (and success) of these vehicles
is the age and income distribution of potential buyers. The ideal target
consumer for these vehicles will generally meet the following criteria:

    -- Household income more than $50,000;
    -- Age between 40 and 55;
    -- Children that are older or out of the house entirely;
    -- Male head of household.

    The extraordinary shift in the U.S. population dynamic can be seen in the
following table:

    Year       40-54 Male            40-54 Males      Potential Sales Volume
         (% of U.S. population)     (in millions)   (10% of target population)
    1990        8.4%                    20.9                2.09 million
    2000       10.7%                    29.5                2.95 million

    The number of potential male buyers in the 40-54 age category has
increased by nearly 9 million in just 10 years, creating a prime opportunity
for manufacturers to develop products for the changing needs of this
influential group.  Prior to this population shift, entries into this market
niche were frequently driven by positioning and image, and not by economic
feasibility.  However, if even 10% of these buyers choose to shop the
"nostalgia" models, potential sales volume would approach 3 million units.
This could make entry into the nostalgia category an attractive investment for
    As with other recently evolving segments (such as crossover vehicles), the
nostalgic models cross many of the traditional vehicle category lines.
However, unlike the crossover segment, buyers of these vehicles may well be
swayed more by form than by function.  Styling is likely to be the primary
driver of the purchase decision for these vehicles, and will be the criteria
for success as the market grows more competitive.  Manufacturers who
successfully merge nostalgic design elements with modern technology will be
the beneficiaries of this expanding niche.

    Top 10 New York Personalities
    NYIAS attendees were asked to choose one name from a list of New York
personalities that best describes their driving personality.  Look out New
York ... nearly everyone on the road thinks they are a comedian!

     1.  Jerry Seinfeld            22%
     2.  Howard Stern              20%
     3.  David Letterman           11%
     4.  Rosie O'Donnell            9%
     5.  Rudy Giuliani              7%
         Regis Philbin              7%
     7.  Donald Trump               6%
         George Steinbrenner        6%
     9.  Sarah Jessica Parker       4%
         Katie Couric               4%

    April 22-26, 2000   *Top 5 leaders based on voting at the Polk Auto Trend

    Concept Vehicle:                         Minivan/Full-size Van:
    1.  BMW Z9                 16%       1.  Chrysler PT Cruiser           17%
    2.  Dodge Viper Concept    12%       2.  Mazda MPV                     12%
    3.  Jaguar F-Type Concept   9%       3.  Mercury Villager               9%
    4.  Hummer H2               7%           Dodge Caravan                  9%
        Chrysler 300 Hemi       7%       5.  Ford Windstar                  8%

    Exhibit:                                 Pickup Truck:
    1.  BMW                    11%       1.  Toyota Tundra                 19%
    2.  Hummer                  6%       2.  Ford F-Series                 17%
        Mercedes-Benz           6%       3.  Dodge Ram Pickup Truck        12%
        Porche                  6%       4.  Toyota Tacoma                 10%
    5.  Hyundai                 5%       5.  Chevrolet Silverado            7%

    Sports Car:                              Prestige Luxury Car:
    1.  Dodge Viper            13%       1.  Mercedes-Benz S-Class         16%
    2.  Chevrolet Camaro       10%       2.  Jaguar XJR                    12%
    3.  Porsche 911             8%       3.  Rolls Royce Silver Seraph      9%
    4.  BMW M5                  5%       4.  Jaguar XJ8                     8%
    5.  BMW Z3                  4%           BMW 7 Series                   8%

    Luxury Car:                              SUV:
    1.  Lincoln LS              9%       1.  Hummer                        11%
        Jaguar S TYPE           9%       2.  BMW X5                         7%
    3.  Lexus GS400             8%       3.  Lincoln Navigator              6%
    4.  Mercedes-Benz CLK       7%       4.  Jeep Grand Cherokee            5%
    5.  BMW 528                 6%       5.  Mercedes-Benz M-Class          4%

    Midsize/Large Car:                       Small Car:
    1.  Honda Accord            9%       1.  Volkswagen New Beetle         23%
        Volkswagen Passat       9%       2.  Honda Civic                   14%
    3.  Volkswagen Jetta        8%       3.  Ford Focus                    10%
    4.  Volvo S40               6%       4.  Volkswagen Golf                7%
    5.  Ford Taurus             5%       5.  Saturn SL                      4%
        Toyota Camry            5%