October U.S. Auto Sales Revive after U.S. Government Shutdown

Cars on LotDespite the disruption of the 16-day U.S. government shutdown (Oct. 1 – 16), new-vehicle sales climbed in the second half of the month for nearly all automakers. More than 1.205 million new vehicles were delivered in October, according to J.D. Power and its strategic partner LMC Automotive.

October total sales were up 6.4% from October 2012 on a selling-day adjusted basis (there was one more selling day in October 2013 than in October 2012*). However, deliveries were down 9.7% from September 2013. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) translated to 15.2 million units—a million units stronger than last October’s 14.2 million pace, but slightly below the 15.3 million unit rate in September of this year.

Positive factors that benefited new-vehicle sales in October included declining average gas prices at the pump; continued availability of credit for financing and leasing vehicles—including low interest rates; and a slow but continuing recovery in commercial industries where trucks are needed—such as the energy and housing sectors. Continue reading ›

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 ›

Reliability and Price are Key Priorities for Mexico’s New-Vehicle Owners

Gerardo Gomez

New-vehicle owners in Mexico say the most important reasons for choosing their car or truck are a vehicle’s durability and reliability and its purchase price, according to our 2013 Mexico Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS). Fuel efficiency is the third most important, according to the study.

The 2013 Mexico VOSS, which is based on responses from 5,497 vehicle owners in major auto markets throughout Mexico, finds that consumers want extra assurance that their vehicle will be dependable. More than one-half (60%) of owners say their 2011 and 2012-model year vehicles are covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. Another 16% of owners say their vehicle is covered under an extended warranty, and 9% say their vehicle is covered under a pre-paid service agreement.

Price is particularly important to Mexico’s vehicle owners since, on average, the purchase price of a new vehicle may be equal to 1-2 years of disposable household income. In addition, the average annual price of insurance may be high for many consumers in Mexico—sometimes it may be equal to as much as a month’s salary. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power’s Dunne Discusses Global Green Move and Automotive Engineering

Tim Dunne

Tim Dunne

Reducing and even eliminating harmful exhaust emissions from cars and trucks and improving average fuel economy for vehicle fleets remain key challenges for global automakers, according to a recent J.D. Power paper, “The Changing Landscape of the Global Automotive Industry; A Global Shift in the Balance of Power.”

 Tim Dunne, director of global automotive industry analysis at J.D. Power, discusses some of the changes in the powertrains and architecture of future vehicles that are in process and are projected in the future as part of a global automotive industry paper that has been published in several Standard & Poor’s publications. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Expert Offers Insight on the Shift in the Global Automotive Industry

Tim Dunne

The global auto industry is in flux with dramatic changes and growth in emerging markets—especially in the Asia-Pacific region, according to J.D. Power’s Tim Dunne, director of global automotive industry analysis.

In a recent paper that has been published in several Standard & Poor’s publications, including CreditWeek®, Dunne discusses some of these changes and provides future forecasts and an outlook for the industry in terms of auto production, changes in technology and engineering, and the impact of these changes on the environment and the economy.

A few highlights about the Asia-Pacific market are excerpted from “The Changing Landscape of the Global Automotive Industry; A Global Shift in the Balance of Power:”

• In 2013, LMC Automotive (J.D. Power’s strategic partner) expects the Asia-Pacific region to account for 36 million light-vehicle sales, representing 43% of the world’s total. Continue reading ›

China Rolls Out New Green-Vehicle Subsidies and Awareness Campaign

China Bustle and Street TrafficChina’s urban air quality has long been a source of concern for China’s government and citizens, as the country’s relatively environmentally unregulated factories spewed harmful emissions into the air. Now that the country has become the global leader in annual light-vehicle sales—and the number of light vehicles in operation has exceeded 120 million units, more than triple the number from 2000—China’s air quality challenges are an even greater concern.

Early this year, air pollution in China’s major cities, such as Beijing, was so challenging that residents stocked up on face masks and air purifiers. This kind of smog incidence is partly behind several modest programs that China’s government administrators rolled out recently.

These include another incentive program for buying fuel-efficient vehicles and a “No Car Day” campaign to help curb increasing levels of vehicle pollution in large cities, according to news reports in The Wall Street Journal and China Global Times. Continue reading ›

Initial Quality in Japan Rises with Improvements in Fuel Efficiency

japan map-72Overall initial quality of new vehicles in Japan  improves slightly from 2012, partly due to improvements in engine and transmission performance, including fuel efficiency, according to our 2013 Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS), which is based on responses from 11,210 new-vehicle owners after the first two to nine months of ownership.

Overall initial quality averages 100 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2013, which is slightly better than 101 PP100 in 2012. Although the incidence of defect/malfunction problems increased in seven of the nine factors measured ( 2.4 PP100 increase), the number of design-related problems—such as windows fogging, transmission, excessive fuel consumption—declined by 4.7 PP100 from 2012. Continue reading ›

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

Tim_Dunne

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 ›

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

MohitArora

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

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 ›