It is never easy to run a government in a socially and economically sensitive society, especially when that government is dependent upon a number of allied partners with diverse and often different viewpoints on almost every issue.
This is the precarious position of India’s government, which is led by Manmohan Singh, United Progressive Alliance (UPA), after his administration decided to implement a number of long overdue reforms including a 14% hike in diesel fuel prices in mid-September.
A multi-party coalition has broken apart after a major partner, the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, decided to withdraw its support for the current government. Ms. Banerjee is the same leader who protested against the construction of Tata Motors’ Nano car plant in her home state of West Bengal, which forced the automaker to abandon its production plans in the state.
Admittedly, Ms. Banerjee is not alone in this latest disagreement. Several other opposition parties have also criticized the government for its decision to not only increase the price of diesel, but also to allow foreign direct investment in the retail sector. On the streets, opposition parties and trade unions have protested across India against the government. Schools were shut, while road and rail transport were disrupted in several areas. Continue reading ›
Honda receives three model awards for ownership satisfaction in the 11 vehicle award segments, while Audi and Mazda each receive two model awards at the segment level in the J.D. Power de Mexico 2012 Mexico Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction StudySM (VOSS).
In addition, Honda’s premium Acura brand also receives a model award at the segment level for its MDX Premium SUV and the Honda Pilot is one of the top three models in the Midsize SUV segment. Only one domestic brand, Ford, receives a segment-level model award for the Lobo, which is sold as the F-Series in the U.S. market.
In addition, brands with models ranking among the top three in each award segment are, in alphabetical order: BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Ram, Renault, Suzuki and Toyota. Continue reading ›
The overall industry index in the 2012 Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study improves from 2011 by 3 points to an average of 691 points (on a 1,000-point scale), although the segment averages for two of the five segments—compact and mini-car segments—are below industry average, according to the recently released study.
At the . . . Continue Reading Luxury Brands Rank Highest in Japan’s APEAL Study
The mini-car segment in Japan continues to gain share and attract more attention, accounting for one-third of total industry sales. Traditional mini-car brands—mainly Daihatsu and Suzuki—are competing in a tight market with Japan’s six mass-market brands—Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi. Some, including Honda, are launching their own tiny models with engine sizes of 660 cc or less.*
The competition between mini-car brands and mass-market brands is presenting a severe challenge to satisfying customers with after-sales service—especially among those vehicle owners who have switched from domestic mass market brands to mini-car brands, according to our 2012 Japan Customer Service Index (CSI) Study.
This year, overall customer satisfaction with service performed at automotive dealer facilities averages just 617 index points (on a 1,000-point scale), which is down from 623 in 2011. Continue reading ›
Although new-vehicle owner satisfaction with service at authorized service centers in Malaysia—especially for national makes Perodua and Proton—increases 22 points (on a 1,000-point scale) from 2011, satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales and delivery process declines by 18 points from a year ago, to an average of 781, according to our 2012 Malaysia Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.
Highlights of findings from the 2012 Malaysia SSI Study, which is based on responses from 2,451 new-vehicle owners who made their purchase between August 2011 and April 2012, are as follows:
• Fewer new-vehicle owners are highly satisfied with their purchase experience in 2012, in spite of an increase in the implementation of sales standards across the industry.
• Satisfaction is down especially for first-time new-vehicle owners, and these owners account for a majority of new-vehicle owners. Continue reading ›
Overall customer satisfaction with the authorized dealer service experience among new-vehicle owners in Indonesia declines 12 points from 2011, to 740 points (on a 1,000-point scale), partly due to a strain on the dealership service infrastructure caused by strong new-vehicle sales growth during the past 5 years, and hence more customers visiting dealer service centers, according to our 2012 Indonesia Customer Service Index (CSI) Study.
This year, satisfaction is lower across all five study factors,* with the largest declines in service initiation and service advisor. According to the study, only 37% of service customers received advance notice from their dealership that vehicle service was due—down 14 percentage points from 2011. In addition, the percentage of customers who scheduled a service visit in advance declined to 22% from 27% in 2011. Continue reading ›
Retail light-vehicle sales in August climbed 21% from a year ago to 1.094 million units, which translated to a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) of 12.6 million units—3.0 million units ahead of last August’s 9.6 million-unit pace, according to data and analysis by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.*
A robust sales finish in the final days of the month added unexpected strength to retail numbers, according to J.D. Power and LMC Automotive experts, especially since fleet deliveries in August declined 8.6% from a year ago and were down 7.4% from July’s numbers on a selling-day-adjusted** basis. Continue reading ›
Honda and Toyota Groups led U.S. light-vehicle sales gains in August with high double-digit increases—53.6% and 40.2%, respectively—from a year ago when inventories were curtailed by production setbacks following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Volkswagen Group also sold more than one-third more vehicles in August than it did in the same month of 2011, with a hefty portion of VW Passat deliveries bolstering the brand’s gains. VW brand sales were the best for any August since 1973, according to the company. Continue reading ›
Editor’s Note: Last week, while in China for a plant groundbreaking, Ford Motor Co. President and CEO Alan Mulally announced future plans to launch the Lincoln luxury brand in China. The first Lincoln models to be sold will be built in North America and distributed through an independent dealer network. Jim Farley, group vice president, Global Marketing Sales and Service, said in a statement that Lincoln will be differentiated in China with more individualized and personally tailored products.
Our Asia expert, Tim Dunne, offers a few observations and insight about Ford’s plans:
It’s About Vision and Commitment
Is it too late for Ford in China? Were Honda and Toyota too late to the American market when they started building cars in the United States in the 1980s? Was Hyundai too late when they started building cars in the U.S. in the 2000s? Their results provide the answers: Today, Japanese- and Korean-made vehicles account for roughly half of all sales in the U.S. market. Anything is possible with vision and commitment.
That said, the Ford brand does have its work cut out for it in the world’s most competitive auto market, which plays host to some 95 brands in the passenger-vehicle segment. The Ford brand currently holds a 2.5% share of the world’s largest market and ranks 13th overall in brand sales, trailing most of its major global competitor brands such as Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Honda. Ford’s total brand sales in China in 2011 were 323,000 units, and 2012 sales are on pace to reach 350,000. By comparison, the Ford brand sold 2.06 million vehicles in the United States in 2011, or six times as many vehicles as it sold in China last year. Continue reading ›