Satisfaction Surges if Dealers Use Mobile Devices to Enhance Sales Process

Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton

Satisfaction is highest among new-vehicle buyers who are presented with pricing/payment options on a computer screen or a tablet (833 on a 1,000-point scale) during the sales process, according to our 2013 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which is based on responses from 29,040 new-vehicle buyers or lessees, who completed their transaction in April or May 2013.

Using technology continues to make a major difference in enhancing the buyer’s or lessee’s sales experience at the dealership. Specifically, when a dealership salesperson uses a tablet device during the sales process with new-vehicle buyers, satisfaction is 52 points higher on average (844) than when a salesperson does not use a tablet during the sales experience (792). Satisfaction with a salesperson using a computer printout (820) receives the next highest score, followed by verbal price quotes (792); and lastly, written figures (780).

Our 2013 U.S. SSI Study finds that tablets are proving to be particularly versatile and effective tools and may help maintain consistency during the sales process, while providing accessible and dynamic product information. Yet, we also see that tablet usage among dealership salespeople remains relatively limited—only 10% of dealership salespeople use these devices. On a positive note, that’s still up from 7% in 2012. Continue reading ›

Certified Used Vehicles are More Attractive to India’s New-Vehicle Buyers

MohitArora

Mohit Arora

Some 13% of new-vehicle buyers in India considered a used vehicle during their shopping process—an increase of 10% over the past three years, according to our 2013 India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which evaluates sales satisfaction among 8,434 new-vehicle owners who purchased their new vehicle between September 2012 and April 2013.

Findings show that more than one-third (37%) of new-vehicle buyers who considered a used vehicle this year indicated using the Internet during their shopping process to find information about vehicle financing, trade-in options and service-related issues.

In contrast, only 27% of new-vehicle owners who only considered new vehicles used the Internet for shopping, primarily to look up vehicle features and specifications. 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 ›

U.S. Auto Market Retains Strong Selling Pace and Higher Transaction Prices

HumphreyJ

John Humphrey

During the first two weeks of June, sales and leasing activity of new cars and light trucks in the U.S. auto market continued to build momentum, according to a monthly sales forecast update from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic forecasting partner LMC Automotive. Robust demand so far this month is matched by healthy transaction prices, despite weaker premium brand segment sales, partly due to older product lineups that will be revitalized by new model introductions later this year.

Retail new-vehicle sales in June are projected to rise by 14% (on a selling-day adjusted basis*) from a year ago and reach nearly 1.12 million units, which represents a seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR) of 13.2 million units. The June retail sales pace is up nearly 500,000 units from the past month’s 12.7 million-unit pace and will be up more than 1 million units from the 12.0 million-unit SAAR in June 2012. Continue reading ›

White Gains Favor in Early 2013 as Popular Vehicle Exterior Choice

tysonjominy Blog

Tyson Jominy

The Great Recession is over* and the U.S. economy’s slow but reasonably stable return to health may have had a slight impact on the change in exterior color choices among new-vehicle buyers. Neutral color choices still dominate: black, white, silver and gray. But white has gained favor from a year ago, at the expense of other choices—especially in the premium or luxury sales mix.

Although black (21.6%) remains the most popular exterior paint color choice for all model-year new vehicles purchased in the first four months of 2013, white (20.8%) has made inroads this year in comparison to the same 4-month period of 2012, according to Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data** from J.D. Power.

More than one in five new vehicles purchased or leased in the first four months of 2013 was black, and the same was true for white vehicles. However, the percentage of black new vehicles dipped 1.0 percentage points from 22.6% a year ago, while the percentage of vehicles selected with white exteriors rose by 1.5 percentage points from 19.3% in the first four months of 2012. Continue reading ›

Premium Brands Try Downsizing Strategy in India Market

Ammar Master

The market share of premium vehicles in India is miniscule. However, premium brand automakers are aiming to increase share by building smaller, locally built, lower-priced models. This trend towards downsizing is not new, but it is likely to be more pronounced in India, which is probably one of the most cost-conscious markets in the world. Also, it’s evident globally that luxury vehicle makers have been moving toward smaller-size models for a number of reasons.

Jonathan Poskitt, head of European Sales Forecasting at LMC Automotive, points out, “There are a few important reasons why premiums have been expanding into smaller segments. One has been that premium brands aim to incrementally increase market

share. To do this there was a renewed focus on smaller cars, both by premium brands and the wider market generally, when European Union CO2 legislation became more concrete late in the last decade.”

In addition to what Poskitt has mentioned, regulatory measures are also partly driving the need for more localization in India. In this year’s Budget 2013, India’s Finance Minister raised the import duty for luxury cars to 100%, from 75%. Continue reading ›

Vehicle Dependability Equates to Higher Loyalty

David Sargent

The fewer problems that vehicle owners experience with their vehicle translates to greater loyalty to the brand, according to J.D. Power research. When we combine previous-year results from our U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) with actual vehicle trade-in data from our Power Information Network® (PIN), we discover that more than one-half . . . Continue Reading Vehicle Dependability Equates to Higher Loyalty

Western Auto Conference Industry Panelists Discusses Self-Driving Cars

 Today’s post follows up our earlier post, Western Auto Conference Panel Talks about Mobility—Now and in the Future and includes excerpts from a panel of auto industry executives about alternative vehicles and car sharing with perspectives on smarter, semi-self-driving vehicles and a few comments about the future of mobility and selling electric vehicles. Joe White, senior editor at The Wall Street Journal, led this discussion with auto executives and a California dealer principal at the NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference. Continue reading ›

Demand for Replacement Vehicles Spurs December U.S. Auto Sales

Car buyer gets keys from DealerDecember nearly always is a strong sales month in the auto industry, and this past year’s 12th month auto sales results were no exception. Consumers in the United States continued to replace their aging vehicles at a faster pace than in the previous year.

The month’s light-vehicle deliveries rose 13.3% from a year ago to 1.353 million units, which translates to a 15.2 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR), nearly matching an earlier forecast from our Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. Sales in December were also boosted by consumers replacing vehicles totaled or damaged in late October’s Hurricane Sandy super storm on the East Coast.

Two German Automakers Post Leading Sales Gains in December

December also remained a strong month for luxury deliveries, as anticipated in earlier J.D. Power analysis. Two European automakers, Volkswagen and BMW Groups, sold nearly 40% more new vehicles than they delivered in December a year ago. Volkswagen Group’s Audi and Porsche luxury brands posted stellar sales in December and for calendar 2012. Porsche’s sales rose by more than 60% from a year ago. In addition, the mass-market VW brand was helped by strong sales of newer models such as the U.S.-made Passat and the Jetta. Continue reading ›

December U.S. Auto Sales Expected to Continue Double-Digit Climb

John Humphrey

John Humphrey

Despite economic uncertainty related to down-to-the-wire “fiscal cliff” negotiations about tax hikes and expenditure cuts that are slated to happen at the start of 2013, consumers continued to head to dealer showrooms in December to buy and lease more new vehicles than they did a year ago. U.S. new-vehicle sales remain resilient and are likely to increase by 14% from last year, according to the monthly forecast update from our Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive.

Based on sales transactions during the first 13 selling days of December, retail sales this month are anticipated to reach 1.153 million units, which is 15% higher than last December’s 1.04 million units on a selling-day adjusted basis.* This estimate translates to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 12.2 million units, which is stronger than last December’s 11.3 million-unit pace, but not as strong as the 13.2 million-unit SAAR in November, 2012—which turned out to be the highest monthly retail selling rate since January 2008. Continue reading ›