Third-Party Automotive Websites Need to Satisfy New- and Used-Vehicle Shoppers

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

Third-party automotive websites with the highest overall satisfaction among both new- and used-vehicle shoppers have the highest advocacy and loyalty rates, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Third-Party Automotive Website Evaluation Study.SM

We find a high correlation between overall satisfaction with a third-party site and the likelihood of shoppers recommending and returning to that site in the inaugural year of  measuring the usefulness of automotive third-party automotive websites during the shopping process.

Specifically, a more satisfying experience results in shoppers who report that they “definitely will” return to the website when shopping for a vehicle and that they “definitely will” recommend the site to friends and family. These return visits and positive word of mouth help increase exposure to the revenue-generating advertising on these sites. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power’s O’Neill Sees Industry Revival with Rosier Sales in the U.S. Market

AutoForum- Fin O'Neill 1New-vehicle sales in the U.S. market have already recovered by more than 10% annually since 2010, Finbarr O’Neill, president of J.D. Power and Associates, said in remarks this week at the company’s 2013 Automotive Forum. The conference was sponsored with the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City before the New York International Auto Show* press briefings this week.

Total U.S. sales of cars and light trucks this year should surpass 15.3 million units, which is up from 14.4 million unit sales in 2012, O’Neill confirmed. He also said that new-vehicle sales are projected to surpass 16.4 million units by 2015.

O’Neill also told industry participants at the conference that retail light-vehicle sales are solid and increasing while the daily rental market and fleet sales are well under control, which is very different from the mid-2000 period, when manufacturers relied too heavily on discounts and fleets. At the same time, he said that J.D. Power’s data finds that the average transaction price of a new vehicle has increased by $3,500 since that period. Credit is looser, and leasing has risen to 23% of the sales mix, based on data collected by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN). Continue reading ›

AutoNation Branding Strategy Roll-Out Requires Planning

AutonationEarlier this year, AutoNation announced that the company is fulfilling a dream that “one day all of our stores can be AutoNation,” according to Mike Jackson, chairman and CEO of the largest public auto retailer group in the United States. On January 31, “We took the step because we think we are at an inflection point both as a company and as an industry,” Jackson said, as the company continues its strategy to brand its stores AutoNation from coast to coast during the coming months.

Since the announcement was made, the company has begun its rebranding effort with its 160 domestic and mass-market import-brand stores. The rollout began in Florida, which is AutoNation’s home territory. The group is based in Fort Lauderdale. However, news reports say that the German premium or luxury brands have been reluctant to rebrand their stores. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Asia Pacific Expert Considers Aftermarket Drivers in India

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Mohit Arora

Earlier this year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) served notice to 17 automakers in the country for what the Commission termed to be anti-competitive practices. The charge was that these automakers hold restrictive control on the sales of spare parts to their authorized service networks which, in turn, means high prices to consumers. Mohit Arora, executive director of J.D. Power Asia Pacific, addressed the current situation in an article that was published in Japan’s Nikkan Jidosha Shinmbun (Daily Automotive News) recently. The article, “Drivers of a Vibrant Aftermarket in India,” is excerpted:

“Under India’s CCI ruling, the 17 carmakers will be forced to supply parts in the open market and may have to limit sales to their own dealerships. There are key questions that the industry must face if this ruling holds.

• If this happens, would the authorized networks in the Indian automotive industry be ready to embrace a deregulated aftermarket industry akin to mature markets like the United States, Europe and Thailand?

• Can the two networks survive alongside each other profitably?

• How is consumer behavior likely to change once a reasonable aftermarket option is available to them? Continue reading ›

March U.S. Sales Pace Keeps Up with Solid Year-to-Date Pace

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John Humphrey

Through the first two weeks of March, the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) for both retail and total new-vehicle (retail and fleet) sales in the U.S. market matched the rates achieved in February of this year—12.1 million units for retail unit sales and 15.3 million units for total sales, according to the monthly forecast update from our Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. The 15.3 million-unit total selling pace in March is consistent with LMC’s forecast for the year.

Retail deliveries this month are anticipated to reach 1.158 million new vehicles, which is an increase of nearly 10% on a selling-day-adjusted basis from March 2012.* Total new-vehicle deliveries this month are projected to hit 1.465 million units, which would be up 8% from March 2012. Fleet sales are anticipated to rise 3.1% from a year ago, and share of the total sales mix is predicted to be 21%. Continue reading ›

Honda’s Mendel Outlines Growth Plans for Acura at J.D. Power Roundtable

NSX ConceptEveryone in our industry should be excited about Honda’s challenge to lead the development for a super car here in the U.S., John Mendel, senior vice president of automotive sales for American Honda Co., Inc., told participants at the recent J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Automotive International Roundtable. He further discussed how the Acura brand will fit into Honda Group’s future:

“I was excited to see the new Corvette Stingray in Detroit at the auto show. We provided an update of the 2014 Acura NSX Concept, showcasing the evolution of NSX from the concept model that we showcased last year. We’re heading toward production of that model. NSX is going to provide an exciting halo for the Acura brand when it comes to market in about two years.” Continue reading ›

India Automotive Customer Insights are Available on New Website

India Pg Region capture 1This month, J.D. Power Asia Pacific launched an India website to provide insights from automotive customer satisfaction research in one of the largest and most competitive markets in the global auto industry. Passenger-vehicle sales in India are expected to increase 9% this year, to 3.56 million units. India sales are expected to grow 200%, to 9.87 million units, by 2020, according to forecasts from LMC Automotive, J.D. Power’s strategic partner. This would make India the third-largest automotive market in the world, behind China and the United States.

J.D. Power’s India website, which can be accessed at www.jdpower.co.in, provides two destinations: one for consumers seeking product research to help them with their next car or light-truck purchase, and a second section that offers insight and information for automakers who want to understand the latest customer information to make improvements in products and services. Continue reading ›

India’s New Budget May Hamper Local and Foreign Automakers

Much to the chagrin of the auto industry in India, the country’s Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in his 2013 Budget raised duties for utility vehicles (SUVs and MPVs) and fully-imported luxury cars.

India02The changes mean that excise duties for SUVs and MPVs were increased from 27% to 30%, excluding vehicles that are registered as taxis. In addition, India’s government now defines utility vehicles to be over four meters in length (slightly more than 13 feet or 157.5 inches); with 2.5L engine capacity and a ground clearance of at least 170 mm (6.7 inches).

This definition, especially the new criteria for ground clearance, also will subject certain passenger cars, including the Honda Civic and Maruti Suzuki SX4 to the higher duty, while at the same time allowing utility vehicles like Mahindra’s Quanto or Renault’s Duster to be taxed a lower rate.

In preliminary analysis of this change in the taxes, the SUV sales forecast for 2013 may be cut by up to 5%, although the long‐term outlook for the segment remains positive. The only silver lining is that upcoming compact SUVs (of less than four meters) may help offset some of the impact of this new higher excise duty on larger vehicles. Continue reading ›

Honda Sets Ambitious Sales Goal; Will Launch More Compacts

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John Mendel

In a keynote address at last month’s J.D. Power 2013 International Automotive Roundtable in Orlando, FL, that was co-sponsored with NADA, John Mendel, executive vice president, automotive sales at American Honda Motor Co., said he is proud of the larger role that Honda’s North American R&D group will play in global product development—including development of the all-new generation Acura NSX halo sports car and in taking a lead in Honda’s new global compact car initiative. Growth plans from his talk are excerpted:

“We set a goal to achieve an all-time sales record this year in 2013, which would mean meeting or exceeding our previous best of more than 1.55 million units that we sold in 2007. Last fall, our CEO announced very aggressive growth plans for global Honda. By the fiscal year ending March 2017, we’re challenging ourselves to achieve global automotive sales of 6.0 million units. In perspective, that’s up from 4.0 million last year. Almost one-third of that volume will come from the U.S., meaning annual sales of somewhere between 1.8 and 2.0 million units here in North America. Continue reading ›

Lexus Remains Highest-Ranking Brand in CSI; GMC Places Highest among Mass-Market Nameplates

Lexus logo Picture 7For a fifth straight year, Lexus ranks highest in overall customer service satisfaction, and is also the highest-performing Premium brand, while GMC earns the highest score among Mass-Market brands, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2013 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, SM which is based on responses from 91,000 owners or lessees of one- to three-year-old vehicles who have taken their vehicle to a dealer for maintenance or repair service in the past 6 months.

At the industry level, both Premium and Mass-Market brands improve by 11 index points this year. Although Premium brands receive the highest scores and represent the top 10 brands in the overall industry rankings, some individual Mass-Market brands made strong strides forward this year. For instance, all four General Motors brands perform well: Cadillac ranks second-highest overall and among Premium brands, and among Mass-Market brands, GMC, Buick and Chevrolet are among the four highest-ranking nameplates, along with BMW Group’s Mini. Continue reading ›