Test Drives are More Likely After a Satisfying Automaker Website Experience

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

Tablets are becoming a more frequent platform for consumers when they go online to shop for a new vehicle, according to our 2013 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study (MWES)—Wave 1. This is especially true since tablet ownership has risen by nearly one-fourth (+23%) among our sample of 10,006 new-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.

Since tablet ownership continues to expand*, automakers must accommodate online shoppers on multiple platforms, which means creating websites that work well on tablets along with desktop pcs and mobile devices. We are seeing that many automakers currently direct consumers on a tablet to a desktop version of their website, while many fewer direct to a mobile version. Shoppers on a tablet are able to access all of the shopping information when they’re directed to a desktop website.

Overall satisfaction among shoppers who have tablets and are directed to a desktop pc website is higher than for those directed to a mobile website—820 (on a 1,000-point scale) vs. 798. In addition, satisfaction is higher across all four measures evaluated (information/content, navigation, appearance and speed) when tablet users utilize a desktop website. Continue reading ›

Overall Auto Insurance Claims Satisfaction Improves with Faster Settlements

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Jeremy Bowler

The average time that a claimant waits to receive payment or a settlement in an auto physical damage loss dropped by 2.5 days to 13.9 days in the fourth quarter of 2012 vs. an average 16.4 days in the same period of 2011, according to our 2013 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study—Wave 1.*

As claims are being paid faster, satisfaction with the auto insurance claims process improves. According to the study, overall claimant satisfaction rose by 6 points to 861 (on a 1,000-point scale) from the fourth quarter in 2011—mainly due to an 11-point advance in settlement satisfaction. Slight increases in the ratings of two attributes of this factor—fairness of the claim settlement and timing of the settlement—contributed to the improvement. Continue reading ›

January’s Strong U.S. Retail Sales Pace Adds Clout to 2013 Auto Forecast

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John Humphrey

Retail new-vehicle sales in the U.S. market were robust in the first half of January, averaging a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.9 million units, which would be the highest retail pace in the month in five years and some 2.0 million units stronger than in January 2011, according to a sales update created by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.

The retail sales pace, which outperforms the calendar-year forecast of 12.4 million units for 2013, seems to build on the recovery of the industry during the past two years and remains on a path to return to near pre-recession levels within the next few years. Retail sales should reach 812,600 units, which is significantly ahead of 682,171 unit sales in January 2011.

Total light-vehicle sales, which include retail and fleets, are projected to surpass 1.027 million units—up 8% on a selling-day-adjusted basis from January 2012. The fleet share is likely to account for 21% of deliveries, which is lower than 25% in 2012. This sales forecast translates to a 15.0 million-unit pace, up from 13.9 million units in January 2012. Continue reading ›

China’s Automakers Eye India for Future Growth

Ammar Master

Ammar Master

The rapid emergence of India as a major automotive powerhouse coupled with the ambitions of China’s automakers to go global are the principal drivers behind the planned entry of China’s big automakers Beiqi Foton and Great Wall Motor.

Foton aims to become a key global player over the next decade, according to its 2020 Strategy statement. Under the truck maker’s “5+3+1” strategy, India is a key region in its growth plan along with Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Indonesia.

This is why Foton signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government in India last April to establish a manufacturing unit at an investment cost of $307 million over 5 years. It is currently in the process of setting up its plant in Chakan (near Pune) to build light-, medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Continue reading ›

Why do Shoppers Avoid Alternative Powertrain Vehicles?

More than one-third (36%) of new-vehicle shoppers avoid alternative powertrain vehicles—hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles—mainly because of cost/price, according to our 2013 Avoider Study, which is based on responses from nearly 31,000 new-vehicle owners who registered their new car or light truck in May 2012.

The second-highest percentage of owners (25%) who avoid . . . Continue Reading Why do Shoppers Avoid Alternative Powertrain Vehicles?

Shoppers Consider More New Models as Reliability Concerns Fade

Jon Osborn

Vehicle initial quality and vehicle dependability have been improving across the industry during the past few years, according to our studies, which has led to new-vehicle shoppers considering a higher number of models before making their purchase decision, our 2013 Avoider Study finds. This study examines why consumers decide not to consider a certain model when shopping for a new vehicle.

On average, new-vehicle buyers actually shopped 3.3 models at the dealership in 2013, which is up from an average 2.9 just two years ago (in 2010). This average includes the purchaser’s selected model. In addition, 79% of shoppers cross-shopped the vehicle that they purchased compared with 74% in 2012 and 71% in 2009.

This year, only 17% of new-vehicle shoppers avoided a model based on its reputation of reliability, compared with 19% in 2012 and 21% just four years ago. Continue reading ›

In 2012, the Best News Comes for Small Vehicle Segments

Small cars were in demand with consumers in 2012.

Small vehicles resonated with new-vehicle buyers in 2012, partly due to higher prices at the pump during the year (prices reached $4 per gallon in some states) and due to the attraction of new models and more fuel-efficient powertrains.

Compacts accounted for some 5.97 million unit sales, or 41.3% of the market in 2012, up from 5.08 million unit sales in 2011 or 39.9% of the U.S. auto market. This represents a 1.43-percentage point share gain in 2012, according to data collected by J.D. Power and AssociatesPower Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

Among the compact segments,Compact Sport and Sub-Compacts were the best performers in 2012, achieving a 39.3% and  33.1% increase over 2011, repsectively. More than 571,400 sub-compacts were sold and market share rose by one-half point to slightly less than 4% (3.95%). Two new models joined the category for 2012—Chevrolet Spark an, Toyota Prius C . The best seller in the segment was the Nissan Versa, followed by the Chevrolet Sonic and the Hyundai Accent. In addition, Fiat 500 sales more than doubled, and even the tiny Smart car sold nearly twice as many units in 2012 as in 2011. Continue reading ›

Large Pickups and Cars Remain Best-Selling Models in 2012

2012 Ford F-150 SVT RaptorThe Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado LD and HD versions were the best-selling models in the U.S. auto market in 2012. Together, more than 1 million of these two truck models were sold last year. In addition, another truck, Chrysler Group’s Ram pickup (LD and HD) ranked seventh among all models sold, with deliveries of more than 293,300 units.

On the car side, the Toyota Camry, which was redesigned for the 2012 model year, remained the top-volume car and best-selling midsize sedan in the U.S. market. It also was the third-best-selling model overall in 2012, with sales of more than 404,000 units. Two additional redesigned-for-2013 midsize sedans—the Honda Accord (No. 4) and Nissan Altima (No. 6)—were among the 10 best-selling models in 2012. Continue reading ›

Smartphone App Use Challenges Satisfaction with Factory-Installed Navigation Systems

Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Nearly one-half (47%) of owners of new vehicles with factory-installed navigation systems indicate they use a downloaded app on their smartphone to receive driving directions in their vehicle, which is up from 37% in 2011, according to our 2012 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study.

We also find that 46% of the 20,704 respondents, who purchased or leased a new 2012 model-year vehicle with a factory-installed system, say they “definitely would not” or “probably would not” buy another factory-installed navigation system if their smartphone navigation could be displayed on a central screen in their vehicle.

Factory-Installed Nav Systems: Better than Previous Systems but Frustrate Owners

Even though new-vehicle owners say their current factory navigation system is better than their previous system, they are frustrated by complex menu systems and voice control commands, and they indicate having difficulty inputting destinations. For these reasons, among others, this year’s industry average satisfaction with factory-installed navigation systems declines to 681 points (on a 1,000-point scale)—a drop of 13 points from 694 in 2011. Continue reading ›

Western Auto Conference Industry Panelists Discusses Self-Driving Cars

 Today’s post follows up our earlier post, Western Auto Conference Panel Talks about Mobility—Now and in the Future and includes excerpts from a panel of auto industry executives about alternative vehicles and car sharing with perspectives on smarter, semi-self-driving vehicles and a few comments about the future of mobility and selling electric vehicles. Joe White, senior editor at The Wall Street Journal, led this discussion with auto executives and a California dealer principal at the NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference. Continue reading ›