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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

Redesigned U.S. APEAL Study: Engaging Vehicles Generate Enhanced Loyalty

David Sargent

David Sargent

When a new-vehicle buyer has a delightful experience owning and driving a new car or light truck, there are considerable positive connections and outcomes, such as faster sales at the dealership, higher transaction prices, and increased owner loyalty, according to our redesigned 2013 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

The completely revamped 2013 APEAL Study, which measures how gratifying a new vehicle is for buyers or lessees to own and drive, has been conducted online this year to capture much more detail and provides better diagnostics to understand current key areas of excitement and disappointment among consumers.

The study’s online results further address key concerns to automakers and consumers around some important factors, including:

• new technologies such as infotainment systems

• safety and fuel economy features

• the design of the interior or cockpit

Details from the redone study also help automakers develop and design products that are more likely to appeal to future consumers. Continue reading ›

Building Loyalty, Improving Service are Keys to Satisfaction in Germany’s Auto Market

Mark_Lendrich

Mark Lendrich

In light of a less-than-robust outlook for new-vehicle sales in Germany during the next few years, automakers and dealers need to focus on loyalty, awareness of crucial factors that influence the purchase decision, and they need to improve service business, according to our 2013 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS), a collaborative effort with AUTO TEST, the magazine in Germany for readers planning to buy a new car.

In 2013, overall satisfaction among owners of one- to three-year-old vehicles in Germany averages 789 points (on a 1,000-point scale). In the 2013 study, vehicle appeal, which accounts for 27% of the index weight, and ownership costs (25%) are the two key drivers of overall satisfaction. The remaining two factors evaluated and their weights are: vehicle quality and reliability (24%); and service satisfaction (23%). Continue reading ›

Chinese and U.S. EV Makers Face Good News and Challenges

EVSymbolIn recent months, several China-based electric vehicle makers have been making headlines with announcements of new EV contracts in the U.S. market, while several U.S. EV makers, based in California, have been facing new challenges.

Additionally, in May, Tesla Motors made an offer to raise capital and also paid off its government loan, while Fisker Automotive may have another chance to survive with news of a possible purchase bid from several suitors.

Meanwhile, Chinese vehicle maker BYD Automotive Co., which boasts Warren Buffet as a major investor, recently signed a contract in the United States with the city of Long Beach in California to build 10 electric buses at a former RV facility in nearby Lancaster, CA. This arrangement allows BYD (Build Your Dreams) to take advantage of buy-American subsidies for electric vehicles and public transportation. BYD reportedly has made 1,000 electric buses, most of which operate in China, and has completed a pilot program with Hertz, according to the company. Continue reading ›

White Gains Favor in Early 2013 as Popular Vehicle Exterior Choice

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Tyson Jominy

The Great Recession is over* and the U.S. economy’s slow but reasonably stable return to health may have had a slight impact on the change in exterior color choices among new-vehicle buyers. Neutral color choices still dominate: black, white, silver and gray. But white has gained favor from a year ago, at the expense of other choices—especially in the premium or luxury sales mix.

Although black (21.6%) remains the most popular exterior paint color choice for all model-year new vehicles purchased in the first four months of 2013, white (20.8%) has made inroads this year in comparison to the same 4-month period of 2012, according to Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data** from J.D. Power.

More than one in five new vehicles purchased or leased in the first four months of 2013 was black, and the same was true for white vehicles. However, the percentage of black new vehicles dipped 1.0 percentage points from 22.6% a year ago, while the percentage of vehicles selected with white exteriors rose by 1.5 percentage points from 19.3% in the first four months of 2012. Continue reading ›

British Brands Advance in UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study

Mark_Lendrich

Mark Lendrich

British automakers have made great strides in the past few years in terms of offering appealing product lines and improved service, which is something they’ve often struggled with in the past. Jaguar, for instance, ranks highest in vehicle ownership satisfaction for a second straight year, according to the 2013 UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS) that is a collaborative effort produced by J.D. Power and What Car?, a website and magazine owned by the Haymarket Media Group in the UK.

In the UK, current forecasts predict that new-vehicle sales will increase nearly 18% during the next five years, according to analysis from our strategic partner LMC Automotive. This puts British brands in a beneficial position to retain current customers and attract new buyers.

The 2013 UK VOSS, which is based on 16,104 online evaluations by original vehicle owners in the UK after an average of two years of ownership, examines customer satisfaction with vehicle and dealer service, based on the evaluation of four key measures. The measures and their weights in the overall index are: vehicle appeal (31%), which includes performance, design, comfort and features; ownership costs (25%), which include fuel consumption, insurance and costs of service/repair; service satisfaction (22%); and vehicle quality and reliability (22%). Continue reading ›