Luxury Brands in India Must Reinforce a Premium Image During Sales Experience

Mohit Arora

Mohit Arora

The luxury vehicle market in India has grown in recent years, with premium sales reaching 26,000 units in 2013. This number is expected to triple to 84,000 units by 2020, according to our strategic partner LMC Automotive. In addition, an increase in the number of luxury models available in India, coupled with attractive financial options that enhance affordability, has helped the luxury market to grow.

Success, however, brings with it additional challenges for premium brands. Sales growth adds pressure for luxury brands to differentiate themselves from the mass market brands. According to findings in our 2013 India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, overall satisfaction with the sales experience in the luxury segment averages 873 points on a 1,000-point scale. Although the luxury segment average is 31 points higher than the massmarket segment average (842), this index score is not a major differentiator for these brands, based on study results.

The price of luxury vehicles is much higher than the price of mass market vehicles. We see that customers expect luxury brands to provide a truly differentiated experience to enhance the value of ownership of these vehicles. The current network of dealers does not provide the level of differentiation expected to reinforce the premium image of luxury brands among these more demanding customers. Continue reading ›

Maruti Suzuki, Toyota Earn Most Segment Awards in 2013 India VDS

Maruti Suzuki and Toyota each earn two awards for producing models with the fewest problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in their respective segments, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 India Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS). Other nameplates earning segment-level model awards for vehicle dependability are: Honda, Chevrolet and Ford.

Although there are 11 . . . Continue Reading Maruti Suzuki, Toyota Earn Most Segment Awards in 2013 India VDS

Overall Vehicle Dependability in India Dips, Repair Visits Rise

Mohit Arora

Mohit Arora

For a second straight year, overall dependability of vehicles that are 30 to 42 months old in India declines, according to our 2013 India Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), with a 24% increase in problems across all problem categories and for all models.

The study, now in its sixth year, measures problems experienced by 7,032 original owners in 25 cities who purchased a new vehicle between July 2009 and September 2010. Some 169 different problem symptoms are probed in nine problem categories* to calculate the overall vehicle dependability index.

In 2013, overall vehicle dependability in India averages 280 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), compared with 225 PP100 in 2012, with a lower score reflecting higher long-term vehicle quality. We should note that the increase in problems this year cannot be attributed to a major increase in one or more of the areas evaluated, nor to all-new models included in the study. Continue reading ›

Honda Goes After Share in India with Diesel Entries

Honda Group is getting ready to renew its competitive position in India’s passenger-vehicle market by introducing a slew of diesel models, starting with the soon‐to‐be‐launched Amaze sedan and Brio hatchback.What’s notable is that most Honda models will be equipped with a diesel engine. The only exceptions may be the Civic compact car and Accord midsize sedan.

Ammar Master

No doubt, Honda expects sales to improve in a big way with the launch of its diesel versions. However, LMC Automotive is more cautious since the government has sent a strong signal towards eventual deregulation of diesel prices in India. Admittedly, India’s government has not announced a price increase in diesel fuel, but it has put the onus on oil marketing companies to raise rates gradually in small proportions to bring them in line with global prices. As a result, the 40% price difference between petrol (gasoline) and diesel will slowly change over the course of the next year.

Diesel Amaze and Brio Hatchback to Launch in India Market

Having said this, we agree that having a diesel option is a must in India. Honda, therefore, is on course to correct a major disadvantage in India. We think combined sales of diesel versions of the Amaze and Brio models could make up about 60% of overall volume. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Asia Pacific Expert Considers Aftermarket Drivers in India

MohitArora

Mohit Arora

Earlier this year, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) served notice to 17 automakers in the country for what the Commission termed to be anti-competitive practices. The charge was that these automakers hold restrictive control on the sales of spare parts to their authorized service networks which, in turn, means high prices to consumers. Mohit Arora, executive director of J.D. Power Asia Pacific, addressed the current situation in an article that was published in Japan’s Nikkan Jidosha Shinmbun (Daily Automotive News) recently. The article, “Drivers of a Vibrant Aftermarket in India,” is excerpted:

“Under India’s CCI ruling, the 17 carmakers will be forced to supply parts in the open market and may have to limit sales to their own dealerships. There are key questions that the industry must face if this ruling holds.

• If this happens, would the authorized networks in the Indian automotive industry be ready to embrace a deregulated aftermarket industry akin to mature markets like the United States, Europe and Thailand?

• Can the two networks survive alongside each other profitably?

• How is consumer behavior likely to change once a reasonable aftermarket option is available to them? Continue reading ›

J.D. Power International Roundtable Provides Future Industry Outlook

HumphreyJ

John Humphrey

After a successful 2012, the outlook in 2013 for the automotive markets in the United States and China remains optimistic, according to John Humphrey, senior vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. He gave projections for the global auto industry during a presentation at the recent J.D. Power 2013 International Automotive Roundtable in Orlando, FL. Some 500 auto industry members—including dealers, marketers and executives from automakers—attended the one-day conference that was co-sponsored with the NADA. Some highlights from the presentation:

Auto Sales Shift to Emerging Markets

In 2013, the global automotive industry faces a somewhat mixed economic bag; the average GDP of mature markets will grow at about 1.4%, while the world’s largest emerging markets will grow by 5.5%, on average.*

Clearly, the United States and China are the bright spots to watch in 2013 and thereafter, in terms of sales and production potential. That said, there are pockets of overcapacity in the global industry that need to be addressed. In 2012, total global capacity for light vehicles reached 116 million units, against total global sales of 81 million units. This roughly translates to a utilization rate of 70%—well below the 80% threshold that most automakers need to reach to achieve financial breakeven. While utilization rates can vary widely by market—and impact the health of individual industries—the overall rate for the global industry can positively or negatively affect automakers with global operations.

Looking toward the end of the decade, the global automotive industry is plainly being driven by the largest emerging markets. In 2012, Asian markets accounted for 41% of the 81 million light vehicles sold globally—primarily China and India. By 2019, Asian markets will account for 49% of the 115 million vehicles forecast to be sold globally.

Continue reading ›

China’s Automakers Eye India for Future Growth

Ammar Master

Ammar Master

The rapid emergence of India as a major automotive powerhouse coupled with the ambitions of China’s automakers to go global are the principal drivers behind the planned entry of China’s big automakers Beiqi Foton and Great Wall Motor.

Foton aims to become a key global player over the next decade, according to its 2020 Strategy statement. Under the truck maker’s “5+3+1” strategy, India is a key region in its growth plan along with Brazil, Mexico, Russia and Indonesia.

This is why Foton signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Maharashtra government in India last April to establish a manufacturing unit at an investment cost of $307 million over 5 years. It is currently in the process of setting up its plant in Chakan (near Pune) to build light-, medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Continue reading ›

Western Auto Conference Panel Talks about Mobility—Now and in the Future

Auto industry panelists discuss mobility with Joe White, senior editor, The Wall Street Journal (right) at the NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive conference.

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

Panel members:

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 ›

Automakers Make Enhancements to Upgrade Vehicle Interiors in India Market

Toyota Fortuner  To improve the quality and aesthetics of their models, automakers in the India market are enhancing vehicle interiors by adding upgrades and tweaking features, according to our 2012 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which measures what delights and pleases new-vehicle owners in India about the design, features, layout and performance of their new vehicle during the first two months of ownership.

The 2012 study includes nine models that were refreshed and launched between November 2011 and July 2012. Changes in these models include cosmetic changes in the exterior and interior styling, as well as additions of several comfort and entertainment features that enhance the owner’s overall experience with the vehicle interior.

Two models in the six award segments with the highest scores for delighting their owners—Toyota Innova and Toyota Fortuner—were refreshed in January of this year. While both models underwent changes in the exterior styling, there were major changes in the interiors for more comfort and luxury. Continue reading ›

Diesel New-Vehicle Owners Are More Satisfied in India APEAL and IQS Studies

Mohit Arora

Mohit Arora

New-vehicle owners of models powered by diesel engines are, on the whole, more satisfied with their new vehicles than are owners of conventional gasoline-powered new vehicles, according to results in both the 2012 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study and the 2012 India Initial Quality Study (IQS).

In our recently released 2012 India APEAL Study, the gap in satisfaction scores between owners of diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles has changed significantly during the past 4 years. In 2009, the average index score among owners of gasoline-powered vehicles was 3 points higher than among owners of diesel-powered vehicles. However, in 2012, the APEAL average index score is 22 points higher among owners of diesel vehicles than among owners of gasoline vehicles. In addition, overall satisfaction among owners of diesel-powered vehicles averages an APEAL index score of 839 (on a 1,000-point scale)—which is 24 index points higher than among owners of gasoline-powered vehicles (815). Continue reading ›