Shorter Delivery Times in Japan Increases Sales Satisfaction Levels

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Taku Kimoto

Customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales experience in Japan has improved as delivery times are nine days shorter on average than in 2012 when there were longer delays in delivery due to the initiation of an eco-car subsidy program, according to our 2013 Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.

This year, the average time for delivery to buyers of non-hybrid vehicles declines to 28 days from 34 days in 2012, and the delivery time for hybrids drops by 23 days and averages 50 days instead of 73 days. Among Japan’s domestic brands, Toyota—the largest seller of hybrid vehicles in Japan—and Honda, which had its production in 2012 negatively affected by flooding in Thailand, achieve notable reductions in delivery times. Continue reading ›

Clean Diesel Makes Inroads in the U.S.; Sees Slowdown in Europe

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Tim Dunne

As clean diesel powertrains become more prevalent and popular in the U.S. market, especially in VW and Audi brand product lineups sold here, it appears that diesels are becoming less attractive in the world’s largest diesel market: Europe, according to a recent article, “Are Diesel Cars in Europe Starting a Long Slow Decline?” in Green Car Reports as well as J.D. Power research.

The current reduction in diesels in Europe may be mainly due to new regulations that have been passed by the EU and/or are being considered in individual European countries.

As recently as 2012, the diesel share in the European market was 46.0%, according to Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrain at LMC Automotive, J.D. Power’s strategic partner. In 2013, LMC Automotive projects the diesel share to edge down by slightly more than 1 percentage point to 44.9%, and the outlook for 2014 is for a 44.0% diesel share in Europe—down 2 points from 2012. Continue reading ›

Seat Material Can Negatively Impact Owner Satisfaction

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Mike VanNieuwkuyk

The most commonly reported seat problem identified by new-vehicle buyers or lessees in the U.S. market after the first 90 days of ownership is that their vehicle seat material—fabric or leather— scuffs or soils easily, according to our 2013 Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study.

This soil/scuff problem averages 2.3 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which is nearly twice the problem count average for the second-most-reported seat problem in our study—related to headrest adjustment (1.2 PP100). Continue reading ›

August May Be Best U.S. Retail Sales Month Since 2006

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John Humphrey

The robust pace of auto sales during July in the U.S. market has continued through the first half of August, according to a monthly sales forecast update from J.D. Power and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

August new-vehicle sales may reach the highest level in seven years—since before the Great Recession (December 2007-June 2009). Additionally, J.D. Power anticipates that consumer spending on new vehicles in August will be close to $36 billion, which would be the highest level on record.

Retail new-vehicle deliveries are set to reach 1.27 million units for the month, which is up 12% from August 2012, based on analysis of retail transaction data during the first 15 selling days of the month.* This translates to a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) of 13.1 million units, which means that this would be the third straight month that the retail SAAR has averaged above 13.0 million units. In comparison, the retail SAAR in August 2012 was 12.6 million units. Continue reading ›

What Dealers, OEMs Can Do to Offset Sluggish Market in India

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Mohit Arora

A slowing economy in India is creating more pressure on the country’s auto industry. In light of dimmer economic conditions, Mohit Arora, director and country manager at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, discussed the outlook for India’s dealerships and auto sales in a column in India’s Businessworld magazine. Excerpts from the column titled “Is it All Doom and Gloom at Car Dealerships?” are highlighted in this post:

Economic Front

A slowdown in GDP growth, industrial production and a decline in the value of the rupee against the U.S. dollar have observers jittery about India’s future growth prospects. Anticipated increasing pressure on inflation from higher fuel costs also is expected to negatively impact household expenses. It’s not surprising, then, that the automotive industry is feeling the pressure, with year-over-year new-vehicle sales down in double digits as fewer consumers visit their local showroom to buy a new vehicle.

What Do Dealers Anticipate?

Recently, we asked more than 600 auto dealers in India about their business and how satisfied they were with the support they were receiving from the manufacturer. The results from the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 India Dealer Satisfaction with Automotive Manufacturers Index  Study (DSWAMI) showed that one in five dealers expected to report a loss in the financial year (2012-2013), which is up from 9% in the previous year. In addition, less than one-half (44%) of dealers anticipated that they would make a profit—down from nearly two-thirds (62%) in the prior year. Continue reading ›

Shorter New-Vehicle Owners are Less Satisfied with their Seats

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Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Seat height and headrest adjustments can be especially troublesome to new-vehicle owners who are shorter than average height (under 5 feet 5 inches), according to our 2013 Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study*.

These shorter height owners experience nearly twice as many problems with their seat height adjustments than taller new-vehicle owners—1.2 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) vs. 0.7 PP100.

One-third of the shorter new-vehicle owners say seats do not adjust high enough. In addition, overall satisfaction with the driver seat among these shorter owners is significantly lower than among those who do not have a seat height adjustment problem. Continue reading ›

Power Seats with Manual Lumbar Support Hampers Seat Satisfaction

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Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Although a small percentage (less than 5%) of new vehicles are equipped with power seats that have manually adjustable lumbar support, new-vehicle owners with those seats experience more problems with the lumbar support adjustment than do owners of vehicles equipped with all-power seat controls, according to our 2013 Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study.

Problem incidence of power seats with a manual lumbar support averages 1.9 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) vs. just 0.4 PP100 for owners with all-power seat controls. Satisfaction among owners of vehicles equipped with power seats that have manual lumbar adjustments also is slightly lower on average—8.2 (on a 10-point scale)—compared with 8.4 for owners of fully powered seats.

Even those new-vehicle owners with all manual seat controls experience a lower average number of lumbar adjustment problems (1.1 PP100) compared with owners with power seats and manually adjustable lumbar support. However, overall satisfaction for owners with seats with all-manual seat controls is lowest (7.9 on a 10-point scale). Continue reading ›

Tesla Plans to Enter China Luxury Car Market Later this Year

Tim Dunne

Tesla is building its first electric car store in Beijing, China, in spite of two major challenges: a very limited charging infrastructure and intense competition in the luxury segment from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

The new Tesla “lifestyle store,” which is slated to open later this year, is located in an exclusive . . . Continue Reading Tesla Plans to Enter China Luxury Car Market Later this Year

Ownership Costs Most Important in 2013 Brazil VOSS

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Jon Sederstrom

Overall vehicle ownership satisfaction in Brazil averages 733 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to our 2013 Brazil Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS), and ownership cost satisfaction—which accounts for the highest importance weight in the study’s overall satisfaction index—receives the lowest average score among the four measures that are examined.

The 2013 study, based on evaluations of 8,387 online interviews with new-vehicle owners in the country after 12 to 36 months of ownership, evaluates four measures of satisfaction across the new-vehicle ownership experience. In order of importance, these measures are: ownership costs (42%); service satisfaction (23%); vehicle appeal (19%); and vehicle quality/reliability (16%).

Among all countries in which J.D. Power publishes the Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study, owners in Brazil place the most importance on the cost of owning a vehicle. In part, this is due to spending a larger percentage of their income on vehicle service and repairs, fuel, taxes, and insurance. Continue reading ›

Sales Satisfaction in Taiwan Remains Flat Even with Market Inducements

TaipeiWEBA majority (85%) of new-vehicle buyers in Taiwan indicated that they received discounts on price, and a higher percentage of buyers also received free accessories and extended warranties from their selling dealer this year compared with 2012, according to our 2013 Taiwan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. At the same time, sales satisfaction in 2013 averages 890 points (on a 1,000-point scale), which is unchanged from 2012.

Inducements appear to be more popular this year as new-vehicle sales declined during the first half of the year, mostly driven by an uncertain economic climate, which caused customers to defer their purchase and wait for price cuts and possible government incentives. This year, satisfaction with the deal, one of the seven factors* contributing to satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase and delivery experience that are examined in this study, has increased the most—up 12 points from 2012. Continue reading ›