, and report significant market-penetration spikes in the Golden State, a pattern expected to continue when the industry reports February sales Thursday.
Ford expects “marked increase” in California Focus sales.
DEARBORN, MI –’s “Imported From Detroit” tagline appears to be widely resonating with California buyers, who long have scorned Motor City brands in favor of import rides.
Detroit-based, and report significant market-penetration spikes in the Golden State – a pattern expected to continue when the industry reports February sales Thursday.
“They’re embracing the domestics,” Ron Wheeler, general manager of L.A.-based dealership, Buerge, tells WardsAuto in a telephone interview.
February results will indicate “a marked increase” in demand for the Blue Oval’s new-for-’12 Focus C-car, says Erich Merkle, the auto maker’s top sales analyst.
Focus deliveries in California soared 86% in January, compared with like-2011, he tells journalists today during a roundtable discussion here at Ford world headquarters. “We’re hitting a new buyer. There’s no question.”
It has been a while since Detroit auto makers could make that claim. K.C. Habal, sales manager at Royal Motor Sales, a- franchise in San Francisco, stifles a chuckle when asked about Chevrolet’s presence in his market.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Habal says. “I grew up with Chevy.” But the bowtie brand is not on his competitive radar.
San Francisco does not have a Chevrolet dealership; the last one closed its doors 10 months ago.
However, GM North America President Mark Reuss has said the auto maker is working to re-establish the Chevy brand in California.
“Quite a few dealerships are in the process of revamping their facilities, and they’re doing so in a way that reinforces the brand’s image,” GM spokesman Tom Henderson tells WardsAuto.
Couple such investments with timely product introductions, and the world’s No.1 auto maker shows considerable promise. From the Chevy Spark B-car to the entry-level luxury Cadillac ATS, GM will have new or significantly freshened offerings in a range of segments that account for 70% of the California market’s sales volume, says spokesman Jim Cain.
As for Chrysler, which arguably triggered the increase in domestic-brand consideration with its “Imported From Detroit” 2011 Super Bowl ad, it has seen a surge in retail registrations. Seventeen new Chrysler dealerships and the auto maker’s newly established California business center also have contributed to the trend.
“California consumers are some of the most savvy, knowledgeable and demanding consumers in the world,” Jason Stoicevich, business center director, says in a statement. “We are focused on listening, learning, and delivering on what their unique needs are. We need to show consumers that we are a company of desirable, relevant brands.”