Initial Quality in China Sets New Benchmark; Domestics Improve Significantly

Dr. Mei Songlin

China’s domestic brands are improving their initial vehicle quality and are narrowing the gap with international brands, which is reducing the overall problem rate in China to a record low, according to the 2013 China Initial Quality Study (IQS). At the industry level, overall initial quality averages just 119 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2013, which represents the lowest number of problems since the study was introduced in 2000.

The 2013 China IQS, which examines problems experienced by new-vehicle owners within the first two to six months of ownership, evaluates two general types of problems: design-related problems, and defects and malfunctions. Some 21,181 owners of new vehicles purchased between October 2012 and June 2013 in 46 major cities were surveyed for the study. The overall initial quality score for 2013 is determined by calculating PP100, where a lower problem incidence rate indicates higher quality. Continue reading ›

J.D. Power Expert Discusses Digital Trends in Shopping for a New Vehicle

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power, provided insights from J.D. Power’s latest research on the automotive shopping process during an opening review of “How Digital Living Impacts the Automotive Industry,” at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV.

A prior post,  J.D. Power’s Roundtable Speaker Defines “Connected Auto Consumers” summarized Walker’s discussion of shopping trends by generation, statistics about visits to websites, in addition to explaining how AIUs (Automotive Internet Users) access information digitally. Today’s post includes more of Walker’s insight about automotive buyer online research behavior and the roles that social media and video play in the shopping experience. Continue reading ›

Super Premium Model Sales Surge 18% in First Nine Months of 2013

The ultra-luxury niche segment that J.D. Power calls super premium recorded a significant 18% increase in sales during the first nine months of 2013. Fiat-Chrysler Group’s Maserati brand sold the most units among the eight premium brands included in this market segment. Maserati sales rose to 2,261 units, up from 1,984 in the same . . . Continue Reading Super Premium Model Sales Surge 18% in First Nine Months of 2013

Superior Website Experience in China Boosts Test Drive, Purchase Intent

Dr. Mei Songlin

Dr. Mei Songlin

When new-vehicle shoppers in China have a satisfying experience using a manufacturer’s website for research, there is a higher chance that they will take a test drive and purchase a particular brand vehicle, according to the 2013 China Brand Website Evaluation Study (BWES).

The inaugural online study measures the usefulness of automaker websites at the brand level during the new-vehicle shopping process, based on four key factors (in order of weight or importance): information and content (27%); appearance (25%); speed (24%); and navigation (23%). All scores in this study are based on a 1,000-point scale.

China New-Vehicle Buyers More Satisfied with Website Speed

Speed achieves the highest satisfaction score (730) among the four factors measured, while information and content receives the lowest score (720). We observe that new-vehicle shoppers indicate a strong need for sufficient information related to entertainment systems and fuel efficiency. Continue reading ›

August U.S. New-Vehicle Sales Move Ahead with Gusto

AIS04 car shopperAugust was another month of stellar new-vehicle sales in the U.S. auto industry. In early reports, all three Detroit-based automakers celebrated double-digit gains at the end of a month that was capped off by the Labor Day sales weekend. The three major Japanese automakers posted even stronger double-digit increases than their U.S. rivals. Nearly all multi-franchise automakers reported better sales in August this year vs. 2012.

Consumers continued to replace their aging vehicles—averaging 11 years old—at a healthy pace that matches a monthly forecast update from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. Easier credit terms, including long-term loans and more reasonable lease deals, helped spur sales.

Total sales (retail and fleet) reached 1.5 million units for a selling-day adjusted increase of 12.7% from August 2012—the highest unit sales volume since May 2007. J.D. Power projected that the seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) would surpass 16 million, which it did.
Continue reading ›

Initial Quality in Japan Rises with Improvements in Fuel Efficiency

japan map-72Overall initial quality of new vehicles in Japan  improves slightly from 2012, partly due to improvements in engine and transmission performance, including fuel efficiency, according to our 2013 Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS), which is based on responses from 11,210 new-vehicle owners after the first two to nine months of ownership.

Overall initial quality averages 100 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2013, which is slightly better than 101 PP100 in 2012. Although the incidence of defect/malfunction problems increased in seven of the nine factors measured ( 2.4 PP100 increase), the number of design-related problems—such as windows fogging, transmission, excessive fuel consumption—declined by 4.7 PP100 from 2012. Continue reading ›

Shorter Delivery Times in Japan Increases Sales Satisfaction Levels

Kimoto Taku NEW_C_Lg

Taku Kimoto

Customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales experience in Japan has improved as delivery times are nine days shorter on average than in 2012 when there were longer delays in delivery due to the initiation of an eco-car subsidy program, according to our 2013 Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.

This year, the average time for delivery to buyers of non-hybrid vehicles declines to 28 days from 34 days in 2012, and the delivery time for hybrids drops by 23 days and averages 50 days instead of 73 days. Among Japan’s domestic brands, Toyota—the largest seller of hybrid vehicles in Japan—and Honda, which had its production in 2012 negatively affected by flooding in Thailand, achieve notable reductions in delivery times. Continue reading ›

Sales Satisfaction in Taiwan Remains Flat Even with Market Inducements

TaipeiWEBA majority (85%) of new-vehicle buyers in Taiwan indicated that they received discounts on price, and a higher percentage of buyers also received free accessories and extended warranties from their selling dealer this year compared with 2012, according to our 2013 Taiwan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. At the same time, sales satisfaction in 2013 averages 890 points (on a 1,000-point scale), which is unchanged from 2012.

Inducements appear to be more popular this year as new-vehicle sales declined during the first half of the year, mostly driven by an uncertain economic climate, which caused customers to defer their purchase and wait for price cuts and possible government incentives. This year, satisfaction with the deal, one of the seven factors* contributing to satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase and delivery experience that are examined in this study, has increased the most—up 12 points from 2012. Continue reading ›

Large Pickups Bolster July U.S. Sales; Consumers Enticed by Easier Credit Terms

CarDealership Compact CUV 06In July, consumers continued to replace aging vehicles and take advantage of easier credit, including low-interest rate loans and longer terms. New-vehicle sales totaled 1.313 million units in July and were up 9.4% on a selling-day adjusted basis from July 2013, according to J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. The seasonally adjusted annual selling rate in July was 15.8 million units. There was one more selling day in July 2013 than in July 2012.

Large pickups and compacts—especially compact cars and compact crossovers—outpaced most other segments as nearly all U.S. automakers reported higher sales than in July 2012. Some U.S. automakers said they had their best July sales since 2006—before the Great Recession. Continue reading ›

Multiple Platforms, Screen Sizes Drive Major Changes in Automakers’ Websites

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

The explosion of tablet ownership among new-vehicle shoppers in 2013 and the different approaches that shoppers now use to access information during the new-vehicle shopping process is challenging automakers to improve website functionality across platforms, according to our 2013 Manufacturer Website Evaluations Study (MWES)–Wave 2.

Results in Wave 2 of the semiannual 2013 MWES find that tablet ownership has climbed by 145% from just 20% of new-vehicle shoppers in Wave 1 of the 2012 MWES, to nearly one-half (49%) of nearly 10,200 new-vehicle shoppers in Wave 2 of the 2013 MWES.

Among the tablet users, overall satisfaction with the usefulness of auto manufacturer websites during the shopping process remains nearly flat at 815 (on a 1,000-point scale) vs. 818 points in Wave 1 of the 2013 study. Average satisfaction with automakers’ websites by desktop PC users is slightly higher—823—since most manufacturer websites are designed specifically for a desktop. Wave 2 finds that satisfaction among tablet users is lower in two of the four key measures: navigation and speed.* Continue reading ›