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 ›

June U.S. Auto Sales Led by Demand for Replacement Vehicles and Pickups

Customer and Salesperson at Dealership shutterstock_52838524U.S. new-vehicle sales in June were bolstered by pent-up demand and the need for owners to replace older vehicles, as well as easier access to credit and a continuing surge in demand for large pickups, partly due to improvements in commercial sectors, such as in housing construction.

Automakers also report that they sold more smaller, fuel-efficient vehicles in June—sub-compact, compact cars and more compact crossovers (CUVs)—than a year ago, which may be partly due to sustained higher prices at the gas pump, which are averaging $3.48 per gallon this week across the country vs. $3.33 a year ago, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

In the latest update, J.D. Power and its strategic partner LMC Automotive said the month’s sales climbed 13.4% from a year ago on a selling-day adjusted basis* to 1.4 million unit sales, which translates to a stronger-than-anticipated 15.9 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual selling pace. A number of automakers said that their sales have hit higher sales levels than during the past five and even six years. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Expert Talks about Tires in Indian Market


Mohit Arora

Recently, Mohit Arora, executive director of J.D. Power Asia Pacific in Singapore, offered some insight, advice and tips on tire safety, cost efficiencies and ride comfort, based on J.D. Power tire customer satisfaction research in India. Some highlights from Mohit’s discussion related to analysis and research from the 2013 India Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Index (TCSI) Study are excerpted.

Arora begins by asking three key questions related to tires that customers in India should consider and then offers insight, tips and advice based on J.D. Power Asia Pacific tire studies and research.

Fuel Economy—Excessive fuel consumption has always been the top reported problem in our studies and will continue to be so in light of rising fuel costs. Does the average car owner in India know how to optimize fuel economy from their tires?

Importance of Tire Rotation—Some 40% of drivers report that they do not rotate their tires in an ownership period of 12 to 24 months. Tire rotation impacts fuel economy, tire durability and driving safety. Why is tire rotation important and at what frequency should it be done?

Run-Flat Tires—Nearly three-fourths of respondents say that run-flat tires are very important and express a need for them. Does the average driver actually know what run-flat tires are and why they are needed? Continue reading ›

Why do Shoppers Avoid Alternative Powertrain Vehicles?

More than one-third (36%) of new-vehicle shoppers avoid alternative powertrain vehicles—hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric vehicles—mainly because of cost/price, according to our 2013 Avoider Study, which is based on responses from nearly 31,000 new-vehicle owners who registered their new car or light truck in May 2012.

The second-highest percentage of owners (25%) who avoid . . . Continue Reading Why do Shoppers Avoid Alternative Powertrain Vehicles?

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 ›

Japan Vehicle Owners Who Downsize Find Smaller Models Less Appealing

New-vehicle owners in Japan who downsize to smaller vehicles because they want better fuel economy and lower vehicle maintenance costs rate their new vehicles as less appealing in comparison to owners who purchase replacement vehicles in the same segment as they previously owned, according to the 2012 Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

Among those owners who downsized, more than 80% indicate that maintenance costs and fuel economy were important considerations at the time of purchase, compared with a slightly lower 70% of buyers who purchased a vehicle in the same segment as their previous vehicle. The APEAL score for owners who downsized is 15 points lower than the score for owners who replaced their vehicles with vehicles in the same segment. Continue reading ›

Small-Vehicle Demand Bolsters September U.S. Sales

Consumers continued to replace their aging cars and trucks with more fuel-efficient new models in September—especially since higher gasoline prices* helped prime demand for sub-compact or compact new vehicles with smaller engines and even alternative powertrains, in particular hybrids. In addition, discounts on outgoing 2012 models plus excitement about new and redesigned models helped boost sales by nearly 13% from the same month last year.**

Total U.S. new-vehicle sales in September reached 1.187 million units, which translated to a relatively strong 14.9 million-unit seasonally adjusted selling rate (SAAR), according to J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. September’s sales pace was significantly stronger than last year’s 13.1 million-unit SAAR. Continue reading ›

Cross-Shopping Multiple Models Increases In India

Mohit Arora

More of India’s new-vehicle buyers are shopping around and looking at multiple vehicles during the car-buying process than ever before. This year, 28% of new-vehicle buyers in India considered one or more vehicles before making their ultimate purchase decision, which is up from just 23% in 2011, according to our 2012 India Escaped Shopper Study.

Repeat buyers tend to be driving this trend of cross-shopping. One-third of these buyers (those who are purchasing a second vehicle or replacing a household vehicle) considered one or more models during their shopping activity this year—up 9% from 2011. In contrast, first-time buyers tend to be more conservative and their cross-shopping rate remains largely unchanged from 2011 at 20%.

Our study also finds that repeat buyers are more involved in the shopping process and are more likely to visit a dealership and test drive new models before making their purchase decision. It appears evident that the increase in cross-shopping has also risen due to the launch of several new models and a wider range of vehicle choices in the market. Continue reading ›

Hino Ranks Highest in Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction

Hino, the Japanese truck brand, which is majority-owned by Toyota Motor Corp., ranks highest for a third consecutive year in customer satisfaction in the conventional medium-duty truck segment. Hino receives a score of 820 (on a 1,000-point scale) and performs particularly well on these factors*: warranty; cost of operation; cab and body; and ride/handling/braking, . . . Continue Reading Hino Ranks Highest in Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction

Medium-Duty Truck Satisfaction is Flat despite Better Quality and Fuel Economy

Brent Gruber

Advances in fuel economy and quality of medium-duty trucks were unable to offset increases in the cost of managing truck fleets, which negatively impacted overall satisfaction, according to results in our 2012 U.S. Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study, which is based on responses from principal maintainers of model-year 2011 class 5-7 conventional cab medium-duty trucks.

This year, customer satisfaction with medium-duty trucks* remains flat at 757 (on a 1,000-point scale), the same as in 2011, despite reported fuel economy improvements (up 12% from last year) and a step-up in quality with the number of problems per 100 trucks (PP100) declining an average of 18 PP100 from 141 PP100 in 2011 to 123 PP100 this year. Overall, Class 5 trucks continue to have the highest quality levels, averaging just 86 PP100.

Higher fuel and truck prices negatively impacted satisfaction this year, pushing principal maintainers to look at other cost savings options. However, our study results indicate that these fleet maintainers have concerns about new alternative fuel technology. Continue reading ›