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 ›

Ownership Costs Most Important in 2013 Brazil VOSS

Jon Sederstrom-Final

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 ›

Chevrolet Achieves First-Half Global Sales Record

General Motors’ flagship Chevrolet brand this week said it delivered a record 2.5 million new vehicles worldwide in the first half of 2013—up a slight 1.4% vs. the same six-month period in 2012. Total deliveries for all GM brands in the first half were up nearly 4% from last year’s same period to 4.85 million units, from 4.67 million units a year ago.

2013 Chevrolet Spark

2013 Chevrolet Spark

Chevrolet sales topped 1.02 million units in the U.S. market—a 5.6% gain from last year, with a combined 25% increase in demand for the mass-market brand’s smaller models, including—Sonic, Spark, Cruze and Volt plug-in hybrid. Large truck sales also rose in double digits.

J.D. Power data from the Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive indicates that Chevrolet’s U.S. deliveries on a selling-day adjusted basis rose 8.7% in the first half from last year, which was slightly ahead of the industry’s 8.4% increase. The brand’s share in the U.S. market edged up to 18.17% from 18.15% a year ago. Five of Chevrolet’s models ranked among the 20 best-sellers—respectively, include: the Silverado, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu and Impala. Continue reading ›

Will Datsun Return as a Low-Cost Brand?

Tim Dunne

Editor’s note: Recently, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn and other company executives told The Wall Street Journal and other media outlets that the company has plans to revive the Datsun brand as the marque for a line of low-priced cars in emerging markets. As many as six Datsun models could be introduced in 2014, according to a Journal article, “For Datsun Revival, A $3,000 Gamble,” which points out that Nissan is hoping to set new lows for pricing, and will offer the cheapest Datsun model for about $3,000 to $5,000. This price range is below all but a handful of models available in China, India and Mexico markets. Tim Dunne, J.D. Power global analyst and Asia expert, offers some insight on the project:

A Perspective on the Datsun Venture for Emerging Markets

In the past, Datsun was a much-loved sports car brand. However, it’s been 30 years since the Datsun brand has been marketed, so the number of people familiar with the brand is relatively low. So, how much value is there to resurrecting the Datsun name? No one really knows. Second, adding another brand imposes all types of extra cost and complexity to a company. It means forming complete new teams in every department to oversee and carry out operations.

Still, the idea could be a good one if Nissan can deliver a bare bones vehicle that is bulletproof in quality and easy to maintain—and available at an inexpensive price. But it is difficult to engineer quality on the cheap. And it’s difficult to do it profitably—that is the big thing. Nissan may be able to offer quality Datsun vehicles, but can they make money while doing it?

In addition, it could easily cost Nissan one billion dollars to launch a new car if there is a new engine, transmission, greenfield plant, production tooling, design and engineering. Perhaps the strategy is to move buyers up the automotive brand chain from Datsun to Nissan and then to Infiniti, but we cannot be sure that strategy will be successful. If price is the key selling point for Datsun, Nissan doesn’t hold that same advantage when you move up to its target segment—where everyone is priced relatively the same, and quality and accessories also are similar. Continue reading ›

Honda, Audi, Mazda Receive Multiple Model Awards in Mexico VOSS

Honda receives three model awards for ownership satisfaction in the 11 vehicle award segments, while Audi and Mazda each receive two model awards at the segment level in the J.D. Power de Mexico 2012 Mexico Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction StudySM (VOSS).

In addition, Honda’s premium Acura brand also receives a model award at the segment level for its MDX Premium SUV and the Honda Pilot is one of the top three models in the Midsize SUV segment. Only one domestic brand, Ford, receives a segment-level model award for the Lobo, which is sold as the F-Series in the U.S. market.

In addition, brands with models ranking among the top three in each award segment are, in alphabetical order: BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Ram, Renault, Suzuki and Toyota. Continue reading ›

Fuel Economy is Top Purchase Priority in 2012 Mexico VOSS

Gerardo Gómez

New-vehicle buyers in a number of Mexico’s largest auto markets* indicate that fuel efficiency is the single most important factor in selecting one model over another, according to our 2012 Mexico Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS). In fact, fuel economy trumps safety and interior comfort for new-vehicle buyers mainly due to a steady rise in gasoline prices—now averaging the equivalent of $3.10 per gallon (10.45 pesos per liter) of premium.

Since gas prices in Mexico have surpassed the threshold of 10 pesos per liter, consumers are more sensitive to fuel economy and are making more practical decisions when buying a vehicle. As gas prices are not expected to decrease in the near future, the primary consideration among many consumers is fuel efficiency, while considerations such as interior comfort, styling and performance are secondary. Continue reading ›

North American Production Posts Double-Digit Year-to-Date Increase

Through the first seven months of 2012, North American light-vehicle production volume has climbed 23% (up by nearly 1.7 million units) from the same period in 2011, mainly due to major increases in production for Honda and Toyota Groups, post-recovery from setbacks related to the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. Honda’s . . . Continue Reading North American Production Posts Double-Digit Year-to-Date Increase

J.D. Power’s Humphrey Offers Brighter Outlook for Global Auto Market


Leslie Cocco

The global automotive industry, including North America, is better able to keep production in line with demand than in the past, according to John Humphrey, senior vice president and general manager of J.D. Power’s global auto operations. John told participants at our 2012 International Automotive Roundtable today that J.D. Power is largely bullish about the auto market in the near future, projecting global sales of 79.2 million light vehicles in 2012, and rising to 99 million unit sales in 2015.

Humphrey stated that more than half (55%) of global auto sales in 2015 are projected to be in emerging markets, and he pointed out that drivers of this growth include the return of sub-prime-credit customers to the market, decreasing credit restrictions, and increasing demand.

John Humphrey

Humphrey also said there are risks to this growth: geopolitical tensions in the Mideast Gulf region; the negative impact of the Euro debt crisis; unemployment; the economic slowdown in China; and the lack of infrastructure in emerging markets.

Humphrey also discussed the inevitable change in the market in relation to Gen Y consumers. Changes that he mentioned are technology-driven, and relate to the way that young shoppers expect to do their shopping—online, via mobile, and Apps—and the expectations they have for technology in vehicles. A majority, or 79%, of shoppers are going to third-party sites, rather than OEM or dealer sites, which makes brand management and messaging a challenge, he said. Continue reading ›

Hyundai Production Up Most; Detroit 3 Post Significant Gains

Through the first 10 months of 2011, production in North America has risen by 9% from a year ago—or by 920,000 units, based on research from LMC Automotive.

Hyundai Group production was up by nearly half (+48%) with higher output of existing models and the fact that more models are being produced locally in . . . Continue Reading Hyundai Production Up Most; Detroit 3 Post Significant Gains

Mazda Moves Ahead with Monotsukuri (Innovation) and Improvements

During a welcome address at this week’s first day of the L.A. Auto Show press previews, Mazda Motor Corp. President and CEO Takashi Yamanouchi spoke about the trials that Japan’s automakers have endured since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and recent setbacks in obtaining parts after major floods in Thailand. He said Japan’s automakers joined together and formed a task force to work with Tier-1, -2 and -3 suppliers to share inventories of parts.

Yamanouchi also said that Mazda has been on the road to production recovery since June, and pointed to the “stylish, insightful, spirited” lineup, including the new 2013 Mazda CX-5 compact crossover (CUV) with the automaker’s new SkyActiv engine, transmission and architecture design strategy that sets Mazda apart from rivals. He said during the next 5 years, Mazda plans to introduce six new SkyActiv models, and these models will be promoted with Mazda’s next-generation version of a “sustainable” Zoom Zoom ad tagline. The new CX-5, which launches early in 2012, has a lighter-weight all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with stiffer suspension, and it will offer information and entertainment system connectivity with nine speakers. Continue reading ›