If you feel like you’ve started to see a lot of Mini Coopers parked in lots and driveways wherever you turn, you’re not going crazy. According to top vehicle researcher NADAGuides, a company offering blue book pricing and more, the drive toward MINI is part of what’s causing European brands to gobble up market share in 2011. News out of Costa Mesa shows that car makers from the European Union are gaining ground on Korean manufacturers, namely Hyundai and Kia, that got so much consumer interest going into this year. The Brit-style MINI Cooper (all caps to show BMW ownership of the new models) is only one example of how new customers, especially younger buyers, are going for Euro-style cars that often get better mpg through smaller design. Another is the Fiat 500, a car that’s doing quite well on the North American market, despite the fact that it doesn’t look much like the sedans of the past. Although more traditional styled cars like the Hyundai Sonata and Elantra and the Kia Rio still appeal to many buyers, the smartcar-styled European cars are getting popular, and NADAGuides predicts bigger sales for these models through the end of the year.
According to NADA’s brand report this month, Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota continue to be the three top-searched brands on the North American market, though in other news, it seems Nissan has edged ahead of Honda, at least for the moment. Successful campaigns for cars like the Nissan Rogue and Nissan Juke, along with incentive spending, may have something to do with this, while the car maker still hawks its flagship Altima and Sentra models pretty actively.
In compiling reports like the July market share resource, NADAGuides uses a large collection of “data points” from dealerships and real-life transactions to establish its guidance for the car buyer. New or used car buyers can take advantage of price guides, market guides and much more from NADA and other sources to do their homework on models and marques before visiting the lot. This, plus thorough research on car financing, interest rates and credit models can have you driving away in a new or late model car with less debt for the future. Make sure you do a quick market check before heading out to select your next ride.