Blog: Dave LeggettYesterday's JD Power-LMC conference

Dave Leggett | 23 April 2004

Yesterday I was in London for JD Power-LMC’s Global Automotive Outlook conference. I was reminded how useful events like that are for getting a quick handle on what’s going on around the world. I like to call it The BPS (Big Picture Situation). I managed to find time during the morning tea break to file a quick news item on the latest European forecast (see below link).

How did the item get on to the just-auto website? Laptop connected by cell phone to the Internet? Hooked up by Wi-Fi? E-mailed by Blackberry wireless device? Some other clever technology, surely? Nope, but it worked.

I didn’t have a laptop with me (I prefer to travel light, if at all possible). The process began when I wrote out the text using pen and paper (ah, the vanishing art of handwriting). But I was then faced with the need to get that text to my colleague Graeme Roberts. He wasn’t in the office, but was working remotely, so he could input it into our web-based content management system. But he wasn’t near a fax machine, so I couldn’t just fax my scrawl to him. Only one thing for it: it was dictation time via a telephone. Graeme wrote it down and then he typed it into our input system. But that only took ten minutes, so it was a very workable solution. Cutting edge!

I had quite a long chat with Power’s Bob Schnorbus about the psychology of incentives in the US marketplace from the point of view of consumer expectations and manufacturer behaviour. JD Power’s data indicates that when incentives are turned off, consumers hold off from buying, in the expectation that incentives will be back in the near-term. The market stalls. And sooner or later, someone’s nerve cracks. Maybe the first-mover is looking at stealing a share gain, but others can’t afford not to follow. Incentives are back. Bob reckons that after a lull, GM is now reigniting the incentives war in earnest, starting with offers on trucks. Something to watch over the coming weeks. 

As well as listening to some highly informative presentations, yesterday was also a good chance to catch up with some old colleagues, long-time industry contacts and friends. Cocktails after the day’s formal business were followed by a Thai restaurant and a pub, in the easy company of people I’ve known for many years. It was an agreeable end to a packed day.


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