Higher Dealer Finance Satisfaction Boosts Provider Business

Higher levels of dealer satisfaction with the lender experience are more apt to increase a financial provider’s share of preferred loan applications from dealer networks, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study.SM Higher levels of dealer satisfaction also appear to increase share of business in comparison to the . . . Continue Reading Higher Dealer Finance Satisfaction Boosts Provider Business

User-Friendly Websites are Key to Vehicle Shopper Satisfaction

Honda Website

Automaker websites that focus on user friendliness—usability—in addition to promoting their brand and interesting design features, are the most successful in satisfying vehicle shoppers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Manufacturer Website Evaluation StudySM (MWES)—Wave 2.

The most recent semi-annual study, which is based on responses from 10,621 new-vehicle . . . Continue Reading User-Friendly Websites are Key to Vehicle Shopper Satisfaction

Redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer Meets the Future

2011 Ford Explorer

Ford Motor Company recently announced big changes for its Explorer midsize utility vehicle (SUV), including moving from a traditional body-on-frame truck platform to different car-based architecture that is commonly used for crossovers (CUVs), in addition to offering new fuel-efficient engine choices—including a turbocharged 4-cylinder option. Two J.D. Power experts offer . . . Continue Reading Redesigned 2011 Ford Explorer Meets the Future

Toyota and Tesla to Develop Battery-Powered CUVs

2010 Toyota RAV4

Toyota Motor Corp. and partner Tesla Motors Inc. plan to use the Toyota RAV4 and Lexus RX crossovers (CUVs) as their first jointly developed battery-powered test models, according to a recent statement (July 16) from the largest Japanese automaker. Plans are to begin selling the electric version of the RAV4 in 2012. Toyota will receive two prototypes this month, Tesla said. Toyota also aims to test an electric version of the Corolla, although an unidentified source told Automotive News that the RAV4 and Lexus RX are better suited to the weight of Tesla’s battery pack. Mike Omotoso, senior director of global powertrain forecasting at J.D. Power and Associates, answers questions and provides insight about Toyota and Tesla joint EV plans.

Q: This seems like a smart plan because crossovers are such hot sellers—and the RAV4 is one of the three best-selling compact CUVs in the U.S. market, while the RX Series is the top-volume midsize premium CUV. Do you agree, and are there drawbacks?

A: Crossovers are one of the fastest-growing light-vehicle segments, so it makes sense to develop electric versions of Toyota and Lexus CUVs. The Lexus RX 450h and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid were two of the top 10 best-selling hybrids in the first half of this year, and battery-electric versions of the same vehicles would probably be best-sellers in the future. The fuel economy standards for light trucks are getting more stringent every year, so it will be necessary to develop hybrid, plug-in and electric versions of CUVs and other trucks over the next 5 years to meet future CAFE [corporate average fuel economy] regulations without sacrificing safety and comfort. Continue reading ›

July Retail Sales Rebound Following June Slowdown

In its latest monthly sales update, J.D. Power and Associates expects retail new-vehicle sales in July to bounce back from weaker results in May and June 2010 due to positive factors, including an increase in consumer cash incentives in connection with the usual end-of-model-year sales. Highlights from Automotive Forecasting‘s outlook for July, based . . . Continue Reading July Retail Sales Rebound Following June Slowdown

Five All-New Models Set the Pace in APEAL Study

2010 Chevrolet Camaro

Five all-new vehicle models receive the highest scores in their segments for delighting and pleasing their owners during the first 3 months of ownership, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.SM Sandra Brummett and Jonathan Sundberg, automotive product researchers at J.D. Power . . . Continue Reading Five All-New Models Set the Pace in APEAL Study

Observations about Selling Fiats in the United States

Fiat 500 subcompact

Chrysler Group, which is now 20% owned by Italy’s Fiat Group, recently announced plans to set up Fiat dealerships in as many as 125 U.S. markets that target smaller-car segments in up to 41 states, according to Automotive News and other media reports. Actual locations are to be announced in . . . Continue Reading Observations about Selling Fiats in the United States

Sales Slowdown a Concern, but Automakers Maintain Discipline with Inventories

New Vehicle Inventories

Some analysts are lowering their calendar-year 2010 forecasts for light-vehicle sales in the U.S. market, according to media reports, which have suggested that consumers still are looking for bargains and sales events. Major programs such as zero-percent financing offers from Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. to boost sales following a wave . . . Continue Reading Sales Slowdown a Concern, but Automakers Maintain Discipline with Inventories

All Premium Nameplates Perform Above APEAL Industry Average

 

2010 APEAL Brand Rankings

All 12 of the Premium brands in the U.S. market rank higher than the industry average, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.SM Porsche, for a sixth consecutive year, ranks highest among all brands, with an index score of 877 . . . Continue Reading All Premium Nameplates Perform Above APEAL Industry Average

Domestic Models Outpace Imports in Delighting New-Vehicle Owners

2010 Ford Taurus

For the first time in 13 years (since 1997), domestic brands, collectively, have surpassed their import counterparts in delighting new owners after the first 90 days of ownership, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.SM

Domestic brands have been improving steadily in . . . Continue Reading Domestic Models Outpace Imports in Delighting New-Vehicle Owners