Replacement Shopping after Super Storm Sandy Lifts November U.S. Auto Sales

Nearly 150,000 more new vehicles were sold last month than in November 2011. U.S. light-vehicle sales in November rose 15%, to 1.142 million units from 992,312 in the same month a year ago, outperforming most forecasts due to a boost from consumers returning to dealer showrooms after disruptions caused by the Hurricane Sandy super storm system and a need to replace some 230,000 vehicles damaged by the storm.

November deliveries were 9% stronger compared with October 2012, on a selling-day-adjusted basis, based on analysis from our Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. November’s seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) translated to 15.4 million units—the highest annual pace in more than four years. The pace also was significantly stronger than last year’s 13.6 million-unit pace. November in both years had the same number of selling days. Continue reading ›

Honda, Audi, Mazda Receive Multiple Model Awards in Mexico VOSS

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 ›

Accurate Cost Estimates Advance After-Service Satisfaction in the Philippines

Mohit Arora

Overall customer satisfaction with service at authorized dealers in the Philippines has improved by 25 points to 821 (on a 1,000-point scale) compared with 2011, according to our 2012 Philippines Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, which is based on responses from 1,822 new-vehicle owners who took their vehicle for service to an authorized dealer service center for maintenance or repairs during the first 12 to 24 months of ownership.

Our study finds that providing accurate cost estimates and consistently meeting these estimates are key to creating high levels of customer satisfaction with dealer after-sales service. Satisfaction among vehicle owners who claim the actual costs were the same or less than the original estimate is 828, which is 23 points higher than among owners who say they received no estimate (805) and 82 points lower than those owners who said the actual costs were higher than the estimate (746).

Service customers are particularly sensitive about transparency of service—notably through accurate cost estimates and how well dealerships meet their initial commitments before the service begins. In 2012, 82% of customers received cost estimates—the lowest rate in the past 5 years. Continue reading ›

Car Sales Bolster First-Half Results in U.S. Market

In the first six months of 2012, new-car and light-truck sales in the U.S. climbed 13.4%, to 7.26 million units from 6.32 million units in the same period of 2011 (on a selling-day-adjusted basis).* There were 938,400 more new light vehicles delivered in the first half of this year than in the same period of 2011, according to transaction data collected by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN).

Retail sales during the first six months of 2012 improved—up 11.5% from a year ago, and fleet sales were up 20.4% from last year, based on analysis from LMC Automotive** and PIN. In addition, car sales outpaced truck sales this year vs. the same period in 2011.

Volkswagen, Toyota and Fiat-Chrysler Groups outperformed the overall market during the first half, with each manufacturer posting growth in excess of two times the industry average. Continue reading ›

Ford Aims Big with New Thailand Plant

Two years ago, Ford jumpstarted its Southeast Asia sales with the introduction of the Fiesta sedan and hatchback models. The introduction in the second half of 2010 expanded Ford’s annual sales in the region by 81%, up from just 39,000 units in 2010 to 71,000 units in 2011.

Importantly, the Fiesta launch also signaled Ford’s renewed focus to be a prominent manufacturer in a growing region of 500 million people, now more integrated since the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) became fully functional in January 2010. And the region is moving toward further integration by 2015 under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) agreement.*

No doubt China will remain at the core of Ford’s Asia Pacific and Africa operations. However, other emerging markets in Asia, including India and the Asean, are gaining resonance. Continue reading ›

Ownership Satisfaction in Germany Differs among Groups of Buyers


Marcus Behrendt

It’s been 3 years since the German government eliminated scrappage program (2009) incentives to help encourage consumers in the German auto market to purchase new vehicles. In relation to the scrappage discount, we find that overall satisfaction among owners who purchased vehicles under the program is much lower than among owners who did not buy a vehicle through the discount program, according to the 2012 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS), which J.D. Power conducts jointly with German auto magazine, AUTO TEST. *

In fact, satisfaction among the new-vehicle owners who accepted cash back for scrapping vehicles that were at least 9 years old is 30 index points lower than among those owners who did not receive a discount. It’s likely that the owners who traded in their older used vehicles may have had high expectations for their new vehicle and anticipated that the new vehicle would be perfect and that the dealership experience would be stellar. Also, consumers who took the discounts tend to be price sensitive and, according to J.D. Power research, that means they are likely to be very critical. Continue reading ›

First-Quarter US Sales Increase Sets Positive Tone for Auto Industry

The first-quarter of 2012 ended on a strong note for automakers in the U.S. market despite higher gas prices, which began to drop slightly in the past week and in spite of the negative influence of still high unemployment rates. On a seasonally adjusted annual selling basis, the first-quarter selling rate, or SAAR, averaged 11.7 million units for retail and 14.5 million units for total light vehicles—a tempo that was ahead of our earlier retail and total sales forecast.

In fact, the selling pace in the first three months of 2012 outperformed the J.D. Power annual sales forecast for the first time since 2008, when the auto market began slipping into recession, according to Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting at LMC Automotive.*

Fiat-Chrysler and VW Groups Make First-Quarter Sales Headlines

Two multi-franchise automakers, Fiat-Chrysler and Volkswagen Groups, achieved stellar double-digit sales and share gains in the first quarter of 2012 vs. their results in the same 3-month period a year ago. In addition, two of the four smaller independents, Fuji Heavy Industries’ Subaru brand and Mazda, also posted robust, double-digit year-over-year gains vs. the same period in 2011. Continue reading ›

Cadillac, MINI Brands Recognized for Outstanding Customer Service

David Sargent

This week during the opening ceremonies of the New York International Auto Show, J.D. Power presented plaques to executives from Cadillac and MINI to recognize their strong improvement in the quality, dependability and appeal of their vehicle models and for the dealership experience during the past three years.*

Cadillac was singled . . . Continue Reading Cadillac, MINI Brands Recognized for Outstanding Customer Service

Small, Fuel-Efficient Vehicles on the Minds of Many Buyers in March

The Nissan Versa was the best-selling Sub-Compact in March.

Higher fuel prices helped prime sales of smaller and more fuel-efficient passenger cars, especially Sub-Compact and some Compact Conventional segment models, which boosted U.S. new-vehicle deliveries in March for nearly all automakers. The seasonally adjusted annual sales pace (SAAR) was more than 1 million units stronger than a year ago, and many automakers said March sales were their strongest since March 2008.

More than 1.4 million new vehicles were sold in the U.S. market during March, which was up 8.7% (on a selling-day-adjusted basis) from March 2011, when fewer than 1 million units were delivered, according to analysis from our Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.** The sales pace in March 2012 averaged 14.4 million units vs. 13 million units in March 2011.

At the segment level, Sub-Compact sales soared 36.3% and outperformed the industry, gaining nearly 1 point of share to garner 4.6% of industry sales, while Compact Conventional sales edged up only 3.1%, but still accounted for a 15.8% share of the market. Led by Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion, Midsize Conventional segment sales increased by 23.3% and the category captured 2 more points of share to end March with 18.4% of industry sales. Also noteworthy: Large Pickups, up 9.3% as a category and with the help of incentives, outperformed the industry’s 8.7% improvement as the segment garnered a 10.4% share in March 2012. Continue reading ›

Compacts, Car Models Add Momentum to February US Sales Totals

In February, fuel-efficient, compact models, including new and redesigned entries from the Detroit-based automakers, were in demand in the US market. On a selling-day-adjusted basis*, February deliveries were up slightly more than 11% from a year ago, and the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate (SAAR) translated to just over 15.0 million units, based on analysis from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and LMC Automotive.

The Volkswagen Group (+26.8%) and Chrysler Group LLC (+34.8%) posted the largest year-over-year increases and outpaced the industry, despite a spike in gasoline prices, which are up by as much as 45 cents per gallon since the first of the year. At the same time, smaller models were more popular this year. Sub-compact segment deliveries climbed 38% in February vs. a year ago and accounted for 4.3% of industry sales, up from a 3.46% share in the prior year.

Positive factors driving February 2012 deliveries include an improving US economy, a drop in the unemployment rate, an advance in consumer confidence, and better stock market numbers, in addition to pent-up demand from owners replacing their older vehicles. Continue reading ›