Hyundai Improves in India VDS; Garners Three Segment Model Awards

Hyundai is the only brand to improve among the 16 nameplates included in this year’s J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 India Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS). Fewer reported problems in three of nine vehicle categories*—HVAC; driving experience; and vehicle exterior—contribute to Hyundai’s 14-point improvement from 2011. In addition, three Hyundai models garner awards in their respective segments: the Santro; i20; and the Verna.

Hyundai’s performance in the 2012 study underscores sustained improvements it has made in consistently improving longer-term product quality over the past 3 years. Experiencing fewer problems than its key competitors over a longer term is likely to aid Hyundai in further strengthening its image of dependability and reliability among owners, which helps spread positive word-of-mouth advertising. Continue reading ›

India Vehicle Owners Report More Problems with Vehicles

Mohit Arora

Overall vehicle dependability with cars and light truck models that are between 2½ to 3 ½ years old declines this year mainly due to an increase in problems related to vehicle engines and the driving experience categories, according to our 2012 India Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). Among the nine categories* measured, engine and driving experience categories account for more than 40% of the problems reported by vehicle owners.

At the industry level, overall vehicle dependability in India in 2012 averages 225 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which is an increase of 30 PP100 from an average 195 PP100 in 2011. A lower PP100 score reflects higher quality and dependability in our study, which is based on evaluations from more than 7,800 original owners of new vehicles purchased in 25 cities in India between July 2008 and September 2009. Continue reading ›

Southeast Region Achieves Highest-Ranking Auto Insurance Satisfaction Scores

Customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies in the seven regions of the U.S. varies from the highest regional industry average of 814 (on a 1,000-point scale) in the Southeast region to a low of 784 in the Northeast region of the country, according to results of the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Auto . . . Continue Reading Southeast Region Achieves Highest-Ranking Auto Insurance Satisfaction Scores

Switching Remains Hot Topic in Online Auto Insurance Chatter

J.D. Power’s Consumer Insight and Strategy Group* has discovered that a significant percentage of social media comments on the topic of personal auto insurance rate hikes suggest a strong desire among consumers to switch insurers, or to begin the shopping process. In addition, discussions ask whether others have experienced similar results with a specific . . . Continue Reading Switching Remains Hot Topic in Online Auto Insurance Chatter

Satisfaction with U.S. Auto Insurance Providers Sets New Record

Jeremy Bowler

Overall customer satisfaction with auto insurance companies has reached an all-time high, mainly due to increases in satisfaction with policy offerings, which are differentiated in the packaging of offerings and discounts advertised, as well as in improvements in billings and payment, according to our 2012 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, which is based on nearly 35,000 responses from auto insurance customers.

At the industry level, satisfaction with auto insurance companies climbs to 804 (on a 1,000-point scale), up 14 points from 2011. Customer satisfaction rises significantly in four of five factors measured, with the largest improvements in policy offerings and interaction with the provider. Satisfaction with price, the fifth factor measured in our study, remains consistent with its score in 2011.

This year’s study finds that 20% of customers have experienced an insurer-initiated rate increase from 2011, with nearly two-thirds (63%) of customers experiencing an increase of $50 or more. Satisfaction among customers whose premiums increased by at least $50 is 735, which is 62 points below the average of those respondents experiencing an increase of less than $50. Continue reading ›

Healthy Retail Sales in June Bode Well for Summer Selling Season

John Humphrey

We’re seeing healthy retail sales growth in June as we head into the summer selling season, and as automakers change over to the 2013 model-year vehicles. Through the first 14 days of June, retail car and light-truck sales in the U.S. market are approaching a 12 million-unit sales pace—the strongest pace since February, according to our monthly sales forecast update from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.*

Many major manufacturers are posting year-over-year retail sales gains this month, while maintaining strong new-vehicle prices. Although average incentive levels are up 9% from a year ago, incentives are down 5% from May. All indicators point toward an industry that continues to get healthy.

Retail light-vehicle sales in the U.S. during June are expected to reach 994,800 units, which translates to an average annual selling rate (SAAR) of 11.9 million units—up from last month’s 11.4 million-unit pace and considerably stronger than a year ago, when the sales rate averaged just 9.5 million units. Retail sales volume is anticipated to rise 15% from June 2011, when selling-day-adjusted.** Continue reading ›

Challenges in In-Vehicle Technology Rise despite Stellar IQS Results

David Sargent

Although there are year-over-year gains in nearly all areas of new-vehicle initial quality, there is one notable exception—in-vehicle technology—according to the  J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), which is based on evaluations of more than 74,700 new-vehicle buyers and lessees after the first 90 days of ownership.

This year, problems with audio, entertainment, and navigation systems have increased by 8% from 2011. Since 2006, we have seen that problems in the in-vehicle technology category have risen by 45%, while problem incidence in other categories has improved by 24%, on average.

We also observe that for the first time in the 26-year history of our IQS, new-vehicle owners report more problems related to audio, entertainment, and navigation systems than in any other vehicle area. This is due in part to the rapid increase in equipping mass market models with new technology, such as voice recognition. In 2012, a majority, or more than 80%, of owners indicate that their new vehicle has some form of hands-free technology. Continue reading ›

Lexus Ranks Highest in Industry; Porsche 911 Records Fewest Problems Score

Patrick Snyder

Lexus is the most problem-free nameplate in the U.S. auto industry—with a score of 73 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS). Among the top-performing nameplates, Jaguar posts the largest improvement in the study and ranks second in a tie with Porsche (75 PP100).

Cadillac (80 PP100) and Honda (83 PP100) round out the top five rank positions. In addition, Honda, which is the highest-ranking Non-Premium brand in the industry, has improved its initial quality score in each of the past four years. Also, Honda has ranked among the top 10 nameplates in the IQS since 2006. Ten additional brands receive scores that are better than the industry average. In rank order, they are: Acura, Infiniti, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Mazda, GMC, Nissan, Ram and Chevrolet. Continue reading ›

U.S. Initial Vehicle Quality Reaches Record Level in 2012

David Sargent

The U.S. auto industry is on a path of recovery this year with stronger year-to-date car and light-truck sales (up 12.5% from 2011*) and now can celebrate more good news after experiencing the highest improvement in initial vehicle quality since 2009, according to results in our 2012 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). Overall initial quality for the auto industry improves by 5% from 2011—which represents a reduction of 5 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) to an average of 102 PP100 from 107 PP100 in 2011.

A few highlights from this year’s IQS include:

• Among the 34 brands ranked in the 2012 IQS, 26 improve from 2011, five have declined, and one earned the same score as in 2011. Two brands were not included in the 2011 study. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Auto Insights Reach 1 Million China Mobile Users

Helen Rong

Over 1 million smartphone users in China can now browse J.D. Power’s automotive insights on their mobile handset. Highlights from the company’s consumer surveys are now available as content to smartphone users who have a subscription to Auto Broadcast on China Mobile’s 12580 information portal.

Earlier in June, J.D. Power collaborated with 12580 to send consumer survey and polling results—via text message news bytes—to China Mobile’s Auto Broadcast subscribers. The first news bytes were sourced from a survey conducted with Tencent.com, China’s largest internet service portal, in April 2012.

12580 is the digital portal providing information services for users of China Mobile, the largest telecom carrier in the country. The information portal features “Lifestyle Magazines” with content ranging from tips for healthy living, to available discount coupons for services and products. Automotive and technology news also is offered as part of the mobile information services. Continue reading ›