Urban Shift Impacts India New-Vehicle Shopping Behavior

Mohit Arora

Mohit Arora

During the past five years, demographic differences in India and urban shifts have been creating distinctive regional shopping behaviors as well as different regional ownership experiences among new-vehicle buyers, according to our 2013 India Escaped Shopper Study (ESS).

A few of the major regional changes that J.D. Power Asia Pacific observes in the study that examines the reasons why new-vehicle shoppers consider but ultimately reject certain models in favor of another are highlighted:

• There has been a regional surge in first-time new-vehicle buyers mainly in the Eastern and Western regions of India. Nearly 70% of buyers in the Western region and 57% of buyers in the East are purchasing a new vehicle for the first time.

• In contrast, the percentage of first-time new-vehicle buyers in the Northern region has declined while the first-time buyer percentage has remained flat in the South. Continue reading ›

New-Vehicle Owners in Japan Less Satisfied with Hybrid Quality

Atsushi Kawahashi

Owners of new hybrid vehicles in Japan indicate that their “green” vehicles meet expectations about fuel economy, but also say they have problems with the design of their hybrid vehicle controls and displays, according to our 2011 Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS), which is based on responses from more than 8,700 new-vehicle buyers during the first 2 to 9 months of vehicle ownership. The 2011 Japan IQS identifies problems in two distinct categories—quality of design, and defects and malfunctions—as measured by the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles (PP100).*

In this year’s study, 13% of new-vehicle owners in Japan say they own a hybrid. In addition, among owners of midsize models, nearly 50% own hybrids. As expected, almost 40% of hybrid-vehicle owners say they “strongly agree” that fuel economy is the most important factor when choosing a vehicle, which is twice as high as the percentage of non-hybrid-vehicle owners that puts fuel economy at the top of their list.

However, hybrid-vehicle owners also say they experience more problems than non-hybrid owners in two of the nine initial quality categories measured— audio/entertainment/navigation and features/controls/displays. Many of these hybrid owners reported problems related to design flaws in controls and displays and also said that features/controls/displays were not user friendly. Since a significant percentage of hybrid-vehicle owners are middle-aged and older, it will be critical for manufacturers to develop features, controls and displays that owners across a wide age range can operate without problems. Continue reading ›

Retail Sales Lead US First-Quarter Auto Market Revival

First-quarter light-vehicle sales in the United States were up 18.6% from the same three-month period in 2010, based on our Automotive Forecasting Division analysis. Overall car and light-truck sales advanced to 3.05 million unit sales during the quarter, from 2.5 million units a year ago. Nearly 513,000 more new vehicles were delivered in the quarter than in the first quarter of 2010.

Retail sales led the early 2011 recovery with a 23.0% increase, while fleet sales were up only 4.6%, based on our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data. Escalating gasoline prices (nationwide average approaching $4.00 per gallon) during the first quarter boosted the Compact segments, which were up 25.4% from the same period a year ago, while the Midsize and Large segments increased only 13.1% and 16.4%, respectively. Continue reading ›

Shanghai GM Broadens Product Portfolio in China Market

Tim Dunne

Shanghai GM* reports that first-quarter sales of Buick, Chevy and Cadillac vehicles in China increased more than 33% from the same period in 2010, to 313,651 unit sales. GM’s sales in China in the first quarter still outdistanced its first-quarter sales in the United States, even though it was not as lofty a figure this year. What’s interesting is that GM sales were up much more than the market (33% vs 12%), according to our research. The new Buick Excelle XT/GT did very well in the first quarter, as did the LaCrosse and new Regal. In addition, the Chevrolet Cruze has been averaging 20,000 unit sales a month, and the New Sail is averaging almost 15,000 unit sales a month.

Looking ahead, GM has indicated that it is planning the global launch of the latest version of its Chevrolet Malibu midsize sedan at the Shanghai Auto Show later this month. The Malibu is an important model for Chevrolet in China. The midsize segment in China accounts for about 12% of passenger-vehicle sales (more than 1.4 million unit sales annually). Currently, the volume leaders in this segment are the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Teanna. Continue reading ›