“Retail 3.0” Presents Wider, Tougher Landscape for Dealers

Aimee Canlas

The future of automotive retailing is being shaped by evolving consumer needs and by changing technology, spurred by the increasing adoption of mobile devices in addition to the entry of younger consumers into the market, suggests John Humphrey, J.D. Power’s senior vice president of global automotive operations.

Humphrey discussed both opportunities and challenges that will face automotive retailers now and in the future during his global automotive outlook that kicked off our 2012 International Automotive Roundtable held at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas last week.

He pointed out that the proportion of Generation X and Generation Y vehicle buyers* in the U.S. market has been steadily increasing since 2000, and is expected to reach 42% of the market in 2015. These two demographic groups display characteristics that may make it particularly challenging for dealers to build customer relationships, loyalty and retention. Continue reading ›

Recalculating…What are Vehicle Owners Saying about Your Navigation System?

Automakers and suppliers need to do a better job of listening to vehicle owners’ difficulties in interacting with their increasingly complex factory-installed navigation systems, according to the analysis of data in J.D. Power’s recent 2011 U.S. Navigation Usage and Satisfaction Study.

“Routing—the primary function of a navigation system—is still a major issue and will continue to be problematic until the industry listens to how owners want to interact with their systems,” said Andrew Bernhard, automotive research director at J.D. Power and Associates. He also points out that nearly one-third of reported problems by system owners relate to challenges in using the navigation system. “The trend to integrating the controls of different systems in the vehicle—such as audio, climate control and phone—only adds to frustrations of owners with their navigation systems,” Bernhard adds. Continue reading ›

New-Vehicle Owners in Japan Less Satisfied with Hybrid Quality

Atsushi Kawahashi

Owners of new hybrid vehicles in Japan indicate that their “green” vehicles meet expectations about fuel economy, but also say they have problems with the design of their hybrid vehicle controls and displays, according to our 2011 Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS), which is based on responses from more than 8,700 new-vehicle buyers during the first 2 to 9 months of vehicle ownership. The 2011 Japan IQS identifies problems in two distinct categories—quality of design, and defects and malfunctions—as measured by the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles (PP100).*

In this year’s study, 13% of new-vehicle owners in Japan say they own a hybrid. In addition, among owners of midsize models, nearly 50% own hybrids. As expected, almost 40% of hybrid-vehicle owners say they “strongly agree” that fuel economy is the most important factor when choosing a vehicle, which is twice as high as the percentage of non-hybrid-vehicle owners that puts fuel economy at the top of their list.

However, hybrid-vehicle owners also say they experience more problems than non-hybrid owners in two of the nine initial quality categories measured— audio/entertainment/navigation and features/controls/displays. Many of these hybrid owners reported problems related to design flaws in controls and displays and also said that features/controls/displays were not user friendly. Since a significant percentage of hybrid-vehicle owners are middle-aged and older, it will be critical for manufacturers to develop features, controls and displays that owners across a wide age range can operate without problems. Continue reading ›