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Report: specialized vehicle clusters replacing traditional auto segments

Traditional automotive segments are being replaced by smaller, specialized vehicle clusters, according to research compiled by Visual Forecasts LLC, a Detroit-based automotive analysis firm.

The recent introductions of vehicles like the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Ford Escape and Honda Insight have helped accelerate the breakup of traditional vehicle segments, providing consumers with new vehicle definitions to choose from.

In addition, the research shows that selected manufacturers have established strong brand identities that may help them appeal to buyers in all life stages.

These findings are among those contained in the ModelMap 2001 report from Visual Forecasts.

The report examines more than 100 categories of automotive data, covering vehicle exterior, interior, drivetrain, and brand attributes.

Extensive statistical analysis is summarized in the 300-page report detailing the competitive relationships existing within the U.S. automotive market.

The results confirm that the market is continuing to fragment into smaller, more specialized product groups.

"We found 38 competitive clusters across 270 models," said Ken Cherven, Automotive Analyst at Visual Forecasts. "While fragmentation is certainly occurring, we also found that several clusters are dominated by a single brand. This confirms that strong, consistent branding can coexist with market fragmentation, and may even serve as a guide for consumers faced with ever expanding choices."

- Xpress Press

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