By Jon LeSage, Editor, Used Car Market Reports
My Automotive Digest colleagues and I were very sad to hear about the passing away of Art Spinella. The president of CNW Research, based in Bandon, Oregon, died from congestive heart failure at the age of 68. Spinella has been well known in the auto industry for several years as an analyst tracking consumer car buying decisions and retail auto sales trends through CNW Research and its Retail Automotive Summary newsletter.
Our colleagues Janice Sutton and Mike Sheldrick of Fleet Management Weekly visited Spinella at his Oregon home in the summer of 2013, where he agreed to conduct a video interview. It was an honor and privilege to stream those video segments in Used Car Market Reports – and to have some of my questions answered by him. One of these topics was how CNW Research has been tracking and counting new vehicle sales – and how they’ve broken out by fleet and retail. As you watch this video segment, Spinella addresses how CNW Research reporting sometimes differs from other auto market analysts. That’s always been one of the reasons I’ve read the reports regularly – the data and analysis is comprehensive and can’t be found anywhere else.
Another interesting perspective on Spinella’s influence on auto industry analysis comes from Dale Pollak, founder of vAuto. “Spinella had a unique view of the industry, and his monthly reports about vehicle buyer preferences and market supply/demand dynamics in new and used vehicles were must-reads for me,” Pollak wrote in his blog on Monday. I suspect that one of the reasons Pollak read Spinella’s work regularly was its focus on retail used vehicle sales. I think that’s one of the contributions CNW Research has made to the auto industry; most of the industry reports from other sources have been auction and wholesale market value-based. In recent years, as Pollak knows very well, dealers have played an important role in used vehicle values and volumes through inventory management, trade-ins, online sales, and opening up their own chains of branded used retail stores.
If you scan through the January edition of Retail Automotive Summary, you’ll get a sense of perspective on the data analytics – such as in the lead article, “Length of Lease Contracts Trims Longest and Shortest.” There’s also a sense of style and humor to the newsletter, including its monthly Jitters Index report.
You may have noticed that there’s been trading of information between analysts in the field, which has been another recognition of CNW Research’s contributions. Tom Kontos of ADESA Analytical Services and Spinella have been publishing segments of each other’s monthly reports in their newsletters. The Manheim Used Vehicle Value Index monthly report has been citing CNW Research lately, as well. Art Spinella will be missed.