Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

Ford, Hyundai, Audi Gaining Interest

Parked new cars at Long Beach Port, California.

In the auto world, everyone is searching for the "Big Mo" - momentum. It's elusive and some of the best-laid plans rarely wind up producing it.

But for three companies, the latest report from Kelley Blue Book shows Audi,Ford and Hyundai are generating more interest with potential buyers.

In other words, they are winning the battle to attract prospective buyers.

KBB monitors the amount of traffic on the web sites of automakers, and among new car shoppers, interest is up 39% for Audi, 30% for Ford, and 6 % for Hyundai — impressive gains that should not surprise us.

Audi has been getting plenty of praise for its Q5 and Q7 models. And rightfully so. Those in the market for a luxury SUV/CUV are increasingly realizing Audi is worth checking out. In Fact, KBB says the percentage of potential SUV/CUV buyers looking at Audi has more than doubled.

Ford's success has been well documented for some time. Its new models are spot on and getting the attention of mass-market buyers. For months I have heard the repeated chatter in Ford and also within the industry that the automaker is getting more consideration from buyers because the company did not take a government bail out. That's ridiculous. At the end of the day, it comes down to having the models people want. If Ford assembly lines were cranking out uninspiring and poorly designed models sales would be down.

As for Hyundai, this KBB report is one more sign the automaker is making all the right moves. From well-designed new models like the Genesis to marketing campaigns that have cut through the clutter (lose your job, they'll make your payments) to improved quality in manufacturing Hyundai is on target. Not surprisingly Hyundai is one of only two automakers (Subaru is the other) to grow sales this year.

Audi, Ford, and Hyundai — three automakers with momentum in a tough auto market.

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