A strong relationship between automakers and their dealers is the core for success of any car brand in any market. A car model may receive rave reviews, have a good track record and advanced technology, but without an invested dealer to represent the brand well, the brand’s model will not flourish.
The joint venture between Tata and Fiat in India is one interesting example. While Tata Motors was experiencing strong growth in fiscal year 2011, Fiat was experiencing a double-digit decline in sales. In widely published interviews, Fiat officials said they felt that there was no real attempt at the dealerships to promote the Italian brand and therefore decided to end their venture of selling Fiat models at Tata dealerships.
While we don’t intend to assign blame of the breakup for the joint venture, and while it remains to be seen whether the dissolution of the partnership is a good long-term move for Fiat and Tata, the example does provide an important illustration about why automakers need to have strong alliances with their dealer networks. Continue reading ›
Hyundai is the only brand to improve among the 16 nameplates included in this year’s J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 India Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS). Fewer reported problems in three of nine vehicle categories*—HVAC; driving experience; and vehicle exterior—contribute to Hyundai’s 14-point improvement from 2011. In addition, three Hyundai models garner awards in their respective segments: the Santro; i20; and the Verna.
Hyundai’s performance in the 2012 study underscores sustained improvements it has made in consistently improving longer-term product quality over the past 3 years. Experiencing fewer problems than its key competitors over a longer term is likely to aid Hyundai in further strengthening its image of dependability and reliability among owners, which helps spread positive word-of-mouth advertising. Continue reading ›
Overall vehicle dependability with cars and light truck models that are between 2½ to 3 ½ years old declines this year mainly due to an increase in problems related to vehicle engines and the driving experience categories, according to our 2012 India Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). Among the nine categories* measured, engine and driving experience categories account for more than 40% of the problems reported by vehicle owners.
At the industry level, overall vehicle dependability in India in 2012 averages 225 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which is an increase of 30 PP100 from an average 195 PP100 in 2011. A lower PP100 score reflects higher quality and dependability in our study, which is based on evaluations from more than 7,800 original owners of new vehicles purchased in 25 cities in India between July 2008 and September 2009. Continue reading ›
It’s been 3 years since the German government eliminated scrappage program (2009) incentives to help encourage consumers in the German auto market to purchase new vehicles. In relation to the scrappage discount, we find that overall satisfaction among owners who purchased vehicles under the program is much lower than among owners who did not buy a vehicle through the discount program, according to the 2012 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS), which J.D. Power conducts jointly with German auto magazine, AUTO TEST. *
In fact, satisfaction among the new-vehicle owners who accepted cash back for scrapping vehicles that were at least 9 years old is 30 index points lower than among those owners who did not receive a discount. It’s likely that the owners who traded in their older used vehicles may have had high expectations for their new vehicle and anticipated that the new vehicle would be perfect and that the dealership experience would be stellar. Also, consumers who took the discounts tend to be price sensitive and, according to J.D. Power research, that means they are likely to be very critical. Continue reading ›
Several major nameplates have performed well in dependability, but still face challenges with customer perceptions of their models’ reliability, when analyzing results from J.D. Power’s 2008 Avoider and VDS Studies* in comparison with the same studies in 2012.
Although Buick, Cadillac, Ford, Hyundai and Lincoln have achieved consistently strong levels of . . . Continue Reading Perceived Reliability Still Lags Actual Dependability for Some Brands
During late 2008/early 2009, in the middle of one of the roughest recent economic recessions in the United States,* initial quality of new vehicle models (2009 model-year) was especially strong, based on results in our 2009 Initial Quality Study (IQS). This high initial quality for 2009 models has translated into high levels of vehicle dependability for 2009 models that are now three years old , according to our 2012 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).
This strong performance is encouraging because it means that the gap between new-vehicle initial quality and long-term dependability continues to narrow. Long-term dependability, as defined by original owners’ evaluations of problem incidence in their three-year-old vehicles**, averages just 132 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2012 and has improved by 13% from the 2011 average of 151 PP100—which is the lowest problem rate since the study was introduced in 1990. Continue reading ›
Three premium nameplates rank highest in long-term dependability, according to our 2012 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). At the individual brand level, Lexus ranks highest, receiving a score of 86 PP100, which is an improvement of 21% from 2011. In addition, the Lexus LS has the fewest problems in the industry, with just 72 PP100. . . . Continue Reading Three Premium Brands Rank Highest in Long-Term Dependability
At the corporate level, Toyota Motor Corporation continues to perform well in long-term dependability and garners eight segment-level model awards—more than any other automaker this year, according to our 2012 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), which is based on responses from more than 31,000 original owners of 2009 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership.
The Japanese automaker’s models with the fewest problems in their respective award segments are: the Lexus ES 350 (in a tie with the Lincoln MKZ); Lexus RX 350; Scion tC; Scion xB; Toyota Prius; Toyota Sienna; Toyota Tundra; and Toyota Yaris. Continue reading ›
The percentage of new-vehicle buyers in the US market who avoided considering domestic models due to their origin has declined to just 6%—which is a historically low level, according to our 2012 Avoider Study, which includes responses from more than 24,000 owners who registered a new vehicle in May, 2011. At the same time, the study finds that the percentage of buyers who avoided imported models because of their origin has risen to 14% this year.
The lower level of avoidance of US domestic light-vehicle models due to origin reflects a “buy-American” sentiment that surfaced as the economic recession beginning in 2008 led to job losses in the US, which adversely affected major companies, such as the three Detroit automakers. In addition, the quality, dependability and appeal of domestic models has improved during the past several years as well, and this also may be a reason behind declining avoidance of these models. Continue reading ›
New-vehicle buyers’ perceptions of a vehicle’s reliability have consistently been major reasons for avoiding a particular brand or model, according to J.D. Power research.
Our recent 2012 Avoider Study finds that, among buyers who avoid a specific model due to concerns about quality and reliability, some 43% say they based their avoidance on “the brand’s vehicles, in general, are known to have poor quality/reliability.”
A slightly smaller percentage—38%—based their decision to avoid a brand’s model on ratings and reviews, while an even smaller percentage—14%—relied on prior ownership of that model. Continue reading ›