Quiet Cars Influence OE Tire Satisfaction in Japan Market

Vehicle owners in Japan expect the tires that come with their vehicle from the factory to be perfect and without problems, according to our 2013 Japan Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study. As vehicles become quieter, especially hybrids and electric vehicles, owners become more sensitive to noise and vibrations caused by their vehicle tires—a problem that is more prevalent than traction and handling issues.

The 2013 study, which examines problems that owners experience with their original equipment (OE) tires in the Japan market, finds that the two most frequently experienced problems owners have are pebbles or stones getting caught in the tire tread and road and vibration noise, which negatively affect ride, quietness and, ultimately, tire satisfaction. Continue reading ›

Seat Material Can Negatively Impact Owner Satisfaction

VanNieuwkuykM

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 ›

Shorter New-Vehicle Owners are Less Satisfied with their Seats

VanNieuwkuykM

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

VanNieuwkuykM

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 ›

Defects can be Fixed; Design Problems Remain Obstacles to Initial Quality

Dave_Sargent

David Sargent

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the problems that buyers and lessees identify in their new vehicles during the first 90 days are related to poor design and technology-related issues rather than manufacturing defects or malfunctions, according to the newly revamped J.D. Power 2013 Initial Quality Study (IQS).

In addition, this year’s IQS determines that defects, which account for a much smaller percentage (34%) of the problems in the redesigned study, are more likely to be fixed at the dealership, whereas design problems may last the lifetime or life cycle of the vehicle, which could be five or more years.

Revamped Initial Quality Study (IQS) Details Owners’ Feedback

Completely recast for 2013, the new IQS captures design-related problems and defects or malfunctions experienced by buyers and lessees in their new vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. The new IQS survey is conducted online rather than by a mail-in questionnaire, which means there is an opportunity to gain more detailed feedback from new-vehicle owners.

A year ago, in the 2012 IQS, we observed that technology challenges were responsible for a majority of initial quality problems. In 2013, issues with technology continue to be the bane of both new-vehicle owners and manufacturers and adversely affect the auto industry’s overall initial quality index in 2013, which averages 113 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Although the number of problems cannot be compared with past years’ results due to study redesign, some of the same problem areas identified in the previous year’s study remain in the 2013 study’s results. Continue reading ›

Interest Grows for In-Vehicle Connectivity through Smartphones

VanNieuwkuykM

Mike VanNieuwkuyk

The level of purchase interest among vehicle owners with smartphones for device/application link technology to connect and integrate their smartphones with their vehicles infotainment systems continues to rise for very practical reasons, according to our 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study.

Vehicle owners’ interest in connectivity and, in particular, the smartphone device/application link feature, is all about functionality. Research conducted by J.D. Power’s Consumer Insight and Strategy Group to track social media discussions about new technologies, including device/application link, suggests that consumers believe their in-vehicle infotainment systems lack the technology that their smartphones and tablets have.

Consumers also desire more mobile apps and want the capability to control their own software updates to integrate with their vehicle systems. Another interesting discovery from social media conversations on this topic is that consumers want their vehicle infotainment systems to be powered by their smartphone in order to avoid an additional monthly charge as well as to keep their technology up to date. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Expert Talks about Tires in Indian Market

MohitArora

Mohit Arora

Recently, Mohit Arora, executive director of J.D. Power Asia Pacific in Singapore, offered some insight, advice and tips on tire safety, cost efficiencies and ride comfort, based on J.D. Power tire customer satisfaction research in India. Some highlights from Mohit’s discussion related to analysis and research from the 2013 India Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Index (TCSI) Study are excerpted.

Arora begins by asking three key questions related to tires that customers in India should consider and then offers insight, tips and advice based on J.D. Power Asia Pacific tire studies and research.

Fuel Economy—Excessive fuel consumption has always been the top reported problem in our studies and will continue to be so in light of rising fuel costs. Does the average car owner in India know how to optimize fuel economy from their tires?

Importance of Tire Rotation—Some 40% of drivers report that they do not rotate their tires in an ownership period of 12 to 24 months. Tire rotation impacts fuel economy, tire durability and driving safety. Why is tire rotation important and at what frequency should it be done?

Run-Flat Tires—Nearly three-fourths of respondents say that run-flat tires are very important and express a need for them. Does the average driver actually know what run-flat tires are and why they are needed? Continue reading ›

Autonomous Driving Attracts Small Interest; Semi-Autonomous Features Prevail

VanNieuwkuykM

Mike VanNieuwkuyk

The concept of a self-driving system in a car, or what is termed autonomous driving mode, is no longer considered “outside the box” for vehicle owners. In fact, Google’s pilot self-driving vehicles are legal in Mountain View, CA, near Google headquarters. In addition to California, self-driving cars are also now legal in two other states: Nevada and Florida.

We see that awareness of this new technology is higher than a year ago. In spite of a $3,000 suggested market price, we see that “probable” and “definite” interest in equipping an owner’s next vehicle with this new technology is slightly higher, according to the results from our 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study, than it was last year—21% vs. 20% in 2012.

Both “probable” and “definite” interest in having this emerging technology in an owner’s next vehicle rises to 39% before a market price is introduced.

Interest in some of the other “advanced” emerging technologies takes a back seat to autonomous driving mode when market pricing is introduced. For instance, the percentage of vehicle owners interested in having biometrics (including finger print car locks and stress level monitors for heart rate or blood pressure) in their next vehicle falls from 52% before a price is presented to just 20% after a market price of $350 is shown. Additionally, interest in customizable home screen technology that provides consumers options on information to be displayed on the vehicle’s center stack screen plummets from 72% to just 17% when a $1,250 market price is provided. Continue reading ›

Fuel Efficiency Features are Most Popular New Technologies

VanNieuwkuykM

Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Although U.S. drivers may see a drop in the average price of gas at the pump in the next few months vs. the same time frame a year ago*, new-vehicle owners have fuel economy on their minds when it comes to their interest in advanced features and emerging technologies to consider when they purchase their next vehicle, according to our 2013 U.S. Automotive Emerging Technologies Study.

Two of 22 features evaluated in the study with the highest percentages of vehicle owners who “definitely would” and “probably would” want a certain feature enhance fuel economy. Higher interest among owners this year may be because these technologies are already available in many non-premium vehicles; they are lower-priced than some technologies and owners are already familiar with them.

Energy Feature: Highest Interest among 22 Emerging Technologies

The fuel economy indicator feature has the highest overall interest before a suggested price is provided (79%) and also after an estimated market price of $50 is introduced (72%). In addition, the percentage of vehicle owners who “definitely would” want the feature in their next vehicle actually edges up from 28% to 30% after a price is revealed. Also, as expected, non-premium brand vehicle owners are even more interested in this feature than are premium vehicle owners. Continue reading ›

Owners Report Fewer OE Tire Problems; Run-Flat Tire Satisfaction Dips

GruberB

Brent Gruber

Although customers cite fewer problems with their original equipment (OE) tires for a fourth consecutive year, satisfaction is lower among customers whose vehicles are equipped with run-flat tires, according to our 2013 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Satisfaction Study.SM

A major reason that automakers are equipping vehicles—mainly luxury and performance sports segment vehicles—with run-flat tires and low-rolling resistance tires is that they are trying to find ways to meet tougher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. One way to improve fuel efficiency is to equip vehicles with these run-flat tires instead of supplying a spare, or by using low-rolling resistance tires.

In our latest study findings, which are based on responses from more than 30,835 new-vehicle owners after two years of their ownership experience, customers with run-flat tires are much more likely to replace their tires as are customers with standard tires. Nearly one-third (31%) of customers whose vehicles are equipped with run-flat tires have needed to replace at least one tire in comparison to only 19% of those customers whose vehicles are equipped with standard tires. Continue reading ›