Art Spinella Brought Distinct and Valuable Resources to Automotive Analysts

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.



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