Avoidance of Domestic Models in US Market Dips to Low Point

Jon Osborn

The percentage of new-vehicle buyers in the US market who avoided considering domestic models due to their origin has declined to just 6%—which is a historically low level, according to our 2012 Avoider Study, which includes responses from more than 24,000 owners who registered a new vehicle in May, 2011. At the same time, the study finds that the percentage of buyers who avoided imported models because of their origin has risen to 14% this year.

The lower level of avoidance of US domestic light-vehicle models due to origin reflects a “buy-American” sentiment that surfaced as the economic recession beginning in 2008 led to job losses in the US, which adversely affected major companies, such as the three Detroit automakers. In addition, the quality, dependability and appeal of domestic models has improved during the past several years as well, and this also may be a reason behind declining avoidance of these models. Continue reading ›

US New-Vehicle Buyers Avoid Certain Brands Due to Perception

Jon Osborn

New-vehicle buyers’ perceptions of a vehicle’s reliability have consistently been major reasons for avoiding a particular brand or model, according to J.D. Power research.

Our recent 2012 Avoider Study finds that, among buyers who avoid a specific model due to concerns about quality and reliability, some 43% say they based their avoidance on “the brand’s vehicles, in general, are known to have poor quality/reliability.”

A slightly smaller percentage—38%—based their decision to avoid a brand’s model on ratings and reviews, while an even smaller percentage—14%—relied on prior ownership of that model. Continue reading ›

Acura Earns Highest Score in Website Evaluation Study

Acura’s website ranks highest in usefulness in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study (MWES)SM—Wave 1. The premium brand website receives a score of 808 (on a 1,000-point scale), and performs particularly well in two of the four index measures: navigation and speed.* Continue reading ›

Many of the Most Useful OEM Websites Integrate Social Media Throughout

Arianne Walker

The most useful automotive websites tend to provide users with social media access from a variety of pages, including the home page, model pages, configurator tool and photo gallery, according to results in our 2012 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study (MWES)—Wave 1, which is based on evaluations from more than 9,400 shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.

We see that the widespread usage of social media has created an expectation of constant availability. By integrating links to social media platforms throughout several site features, automotive brand websites enhance convenience for users and also increase the possibility that website users will promote the brand within their social networks. Continue reading ›

US Auto Sales Retain Momentum in First Weeks of January

During the first half of January,* U.S. car and light-truck sales were stronger than in the same period of January a year ago, which is good news for the industry following last year’s robust finish, according to J.D. Power’s monthly sales update based on analysis of retail transaction data collected by our Power Information Network® (PIN) with LMC Automotive.

January retail new-vehicle sales are expected to rise 6% from January 2011 and reach 681,000 units, which translates to a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) of 10.9 million units—well above a 10.3 million-unit pace in January 2011, but below the 11.3 million-unit pace in December 2011. Continue reading ›

Foreign Partners Still Control Branding in China R&D and Lineups

Jenny Gu

Soaring demand for luxury vehicles in China has seen many premium brands make the country their second home. Land Rover may be the next premium brand to begin local production, following on the path taken by Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Even automakers without a strong foothold in China are increasingly eyeing the country as a key engine for future growth.

Localized Production is Key to Success in China Market

Automakers need to localize in order to truly establish themselves in this market. As some global automakers and their local partners are busy ramping up production of localized luxury models, many other foreign carmakers are seeking Chinese partners, as is required by the government, to set up new joint ventures. Lexus, Infiniti and Land Rover are among those considering localization in China in the near future.

Localization made slow progress before 2009. Between 2005 and 2009, the number of luxury models produced in China rose from just eight to nine. However, in 2010, the number of luxury models that were locally produced climbed to 11, and is expected to reach 15 by the end of 2012. By 2015, we expect 22 luxury models to be locally built, which will mean that those models will account for 60% of luxury sales, up from 56% in 2009. Continue reading ›

Internet Search: Key Focus in Replacement Tire Shopping in Japan

Vehicle owners in Japan shopping for replacement tires rely on the Internet for information nearly as much as they depend on recommendations from salespeople in tire stores, according to our 2011 Japan Replacement Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study.

In fact, the percentage of owners who rely on the Internet when selecting tires has risen by 10 percentage points during the past 3 years to an average 38% in 2011. During the same period, the percentage of owners who rely on salesperson recommendations has declined by 11 points, to 39%. Continue reading ›

2012 J.D. Power Roundtable: Adding Momentum to Auto Industry Recovery

In less than two weeks, members of the auto industry will get together for one full day of networking, idea sharing, gaining fresh insight, and discussing key issues affecting manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and customers at our J.D. Power International Automotive Roundtable at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

This year’s Roundtable, to be held on Friday, Feb. 3, includes a reception immediately following the event that is co-sponsored by the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). The one-day event, which precedes the annual NADA Convention and attracts industry participants from around the world, will feature insight and projections about the automotive industry from our own J.D. Power experts, in addition to perspectives from key executives representing major automotive manufacturers and dealer groups. Continue reading ›

Compacts, Crossovers Make Headway in 2011; Pickups in Demand

Three large pickups*, four midsize sedans and three compact models, including two compact conventional cars and one compact crossover (CUV), made up the 10 best-sellers in the US auto market in 2011. Three of the models, including the Ford F-Series, which was the top-volume model in the U.S. for the 30th straight year, were Ford products, while General Motors and Toyota Group each produced two of the 10 models with the highest sales volumes in the US market last year. Renault-Nissan Group and Fiat-Chrysler’s Ram brand each built one of the best-sellers, according to data collected by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.

Some highlights for the 20 best-sellers in the US auto market in 2011:

• Half of the 20 best-sellers were domestic-brand models. Continue reading ›

Females and Younger Owners More Apt to Switch Brands

Raffi Festekjian

Female new-vehicle owners and younger buyers—those between the ages of 23 and 47 years old—are less likely to choose the same vehicle brand for their next purchase in comparison with males and older owners, according to findings in our 2012 Customer Retention Study. Continue reading ›