On balance, J.D. Power is optimistic about the auto market in the United States, John Humphrey, senior vice president, global automotive, told participants at the recent J.D. Power 2013 International Automotive Roundtable in Orlando, FL, that was co-sponsored with NADA. The industry is benefitting right now from an older fleet and pent-up demand that will continue to bolster the market for the next 3-4 years.
The rebound in the U.S. market is also being aided by a recovery in the housing sector, although this is still in its nascent state. Some risks to the U.S. recovery include the spread of fear due to the Euro debt crisis—whether real or psychological—and whether the United States has truly resolved its own fiscal crisis, or merely delayed it. In addition, geo-political risks in the Middle East, East Asia and North Africa need to be monitored. Continue reading ›
Auto industry panelists discuss mobility with Joe White, senior editor, The Wall Street Journal (right) at the NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive conference.
Mobility is a term that has been gaining attention in the auto industry. The current focus is on the viability of alternative vehicles—especially electric vehicles (EVs)—and the future focus explores mobility technology including smarter, semi-self-driving vehicles. Joe White, senior editor at The all Street Journal, led a panel discussion with auto executives and a California dealer principal at the NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference with an objective to look at mobility and to separate reality from fantasy.
Moderator: Joe White, senior editor, The Wall Street Journal
Al Castignetti, vice president and general manager, Nissan Division, Nissan North America, Inc.
Mark Del Rosso, COO, Audi of America Inc.
John Mendel, Executive Vice President, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
Peter Hoffman, Dealer Principal, Sierra Autocars, Inc.*
*Sierra Autocars, Inc. is s a family-owned dealer group based in California’s San Gabriel Valley, and includes seven stores and 10 franchises: Acura, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Honda, Jeep, Mazda, Ram and Subaru.
Panelists’ comments on the need to have a balanced portfolio that includes fuel-efficient vehicles, including those with alternative powertrains, and their ideas about consumer interest in EVs, alternative powertrains and semi-self-driving cars are excerpted.
Joe: Let’s start with the here and now. By 2025 the auto industry’s fleets have to average 54.5 mpg—you are not waiting until 2024 to start this process. How are customers receiving the technology and the engineering ideas that you are putting into the marketplace to move toward that goal?
Al: No car manufacturer is going to get to 54.5 mpg without alternative fuel vehicles—whether it’s electric, fuel cell, or whether it’s natural gas. Nissan is heavily involved in the electric vehicle (EV) and that is one of the platforms moving forward that is going to have a big presence in the auto industry. I would say that from an electric perspective for us, our customers love it. The one limit right now is the range. As the technology expands, and you get greater range from the same power packs, I think it will open up a tremendous audience that isn’t there today. Continue reading ›
J.D. Power Asia expert Tim Dunne provides a perspective for members of the auto industry, especially automakers in Japan, on the U.S. market and offers a glimpse at issues and concerns and changes that are likely to impact the world’s manufacturers in the future. Excerpts from an article published recently in Japan’s Automotive Daily Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun are featured in this post.
As 2012 draws to a close, light-vehicle sales in the United States are expected to finish the year strongly. Vehicle manufacturers estimate total sales will top 14.4 million units for the year, which translates to a healthy 14% increase vs. 2011’s total of 12.7 million units. The 14.4 million-unit total would be the highest annual sales in the United States since the industry reached 16.1 million units in 2007, and represents nearly a 40% increase over 2008, when industry sales tumbled to an anemic 10.4 million units at the lowest point of the recent “Great Recession” (December 2007–June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research).
For many Japanese brands operating in the United States, 2012’s final results will be even better than the industry average. Sales of Toyota Group vehicles (Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands) are currently up a combined 29%, and are on track to reach 2.05 million vehicles for the year; Honda Group sales (Honda and Acura brands) are currently up 24%, and are expected to top 1.4 million units for the year; Subaru sales are up 29%, and are expected to top 330,000 units for the year. Continue reading ›
Customer satisfaction with Canadian auto insurance companies improves this year in each of the three geographic regions evaluated, mainly due to fewer premium increases in addition to higher satisfaction with policy offerings, according to results in our 2012 Canadian Auto Insurance Study. This year’s study is based on responses from 11,620 auto insurance policyholders. Some findings from each of the regions are highlighted below:
Satisfaction in the Quebec region increases by 17 points (based on a 1,000-point scale), which is the largest increase in score among all three regions from 2011. Satisfaction increases significantly in two of the five factors* that make up the overall customer satisfaction index: billing and payment (+21 points) and price (+19 points). In addition, only 11% of customers in the Quebec region say they experienced an insurer-initiated rate hike—the lowest percentage in all three regions.
La Capitale ranks highest in customer satisfaction among Quebec’s auto insurance companies with a score of 850 (on a 1,000-point scale). In fact, La Capitale receives the highest index score among carriers in all three regions this year. Continue reading ›
The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM finds that dealership service advisors are not providing basic service processes to younger customers as frequently as they are to older, more established customers. While younger customers may have a tendency to “rate lower,” customer feedback suggests that younger customers have solid reasons for these lower customer satisfaction ratings.
When working with Gen Y customers (age 35 and younger), service advisors are less likely to perform a walk-around; review a technician-performed inspection; or to review the work done on the vehicle. In addition, service advisors are less likely to notify Gen Y customers when their vehicle will be ready or to keep them informed of the status of their vehicle service. Continue reading ›
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.
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 ›