New Models, Redesigns Perform Better on 2013 APEAL Study

Newly launched and redesigned models receive higher scores for appealing to their owners than do carryover models, according to our 2013 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. In fact, among the 23 segment award recipients, eight are new or redesigned.

Nearly two-thirds of these newly introduced or redesigned models perform above their . . . Continue Reading New Models, Redesigns Perform Better on 2013 APEAL Study

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

British Brands Advance in UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study


Mark Lendrich

British automakers have made great strides in the past few years in terms of offering appealing product lines and improved service, which is something they’ve often struggled with in the past. Jaguar, for instance, ranks highest in vehicle ownership satisfaction for a second straight year, according to the 2013 UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS) that is a collaborative effort produced by J.D. Power and What Car?, a website and magazine owned by the Haymarket Media Group in the UK.

In the UK, current forecasts predict that new-vehicle sales will increase nearly 18% during the next five years, according to analysis from our strategic partner LMC Automotive. This puts British brands in a beneficial position to retain current customers and attract new buyers.

The 2013 UK VOSS, which is based on 16,104 online evaluations by original vehicle owners in the UK after an average of two years of ownership, examines customer satisfaction with vehicle and dealer service, based on the evaluation of four key measures. The measures and their weights in the overall index are: vehicle appeal (31%), which includes performance, design, comfort and features; ownership costs (25%), which include fuel consumption, insurance and costs of service/repair; service satisfaction (22%); and vehicle quality and reliability (22%). Continue reading ›

Maruti Suzuki, Toyota Produce Most Appealing Models in India Study

India’s national Maruti Suzuki brand produces three models that receive highest scores at the segment level for delighting their owners, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 India Automotive Performance, Execution and layout (APEAL) Study.SM 

Two Toyota models delight their owners the most and earn the highest satisfaction scores in the utility segments, . . . Continue Reading Maruti Suzuki, Toyota Produce Most Appealing Models in India Study

Automakers Ready to Turn Attention to the Future after Strong Finish in 2012


Tim Dunne

Tim Dunne

J.D. Power Asia expert Tim Dunne provides a perspective for members of the auto industry, especially automakers in Japan, on the U.S. market and offers a glimpse at issues and concerns and changes that are likely to impact the world’s manufacturers in the future. Excerpts from an article published recently in Japan’s Automotive Daily Nikkan Jidosha Shimbun are featured in this post.

As 2012 draws to a close, light-vehicle sales in the United States are expected to finish the year strongly. Vehicle manufacturers estimate total sales will top 14.4 million units for the year, which translates to a healthy 14% increase vs. 2011’s total of 12.7 million units. The 14.4 million-unit total would be the highest annual sales in the United States since the industry reached 16.1 million units in 2007, and represents nearly a 40% increase over 2008, when industry sales tumbled to an anemic 10.4 million units at the lowest point of the recent “Great Recession” (December 2007–June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research).

For many Japanese brands operating in the United States, 2012’s final results will be even better than the industry average. Sales of Toyota Group vehicles (Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands) are currently up a combined 29%, and are on track to reach 2.05 million vehicles for the year; Honda Group sales (Honda and Acura brands) are currently up 24%, and are expected to top 1.4 million units for the year; Subaru sales are up 29%, and are expected to top 330,000 units for the year. Continue reading ›

First-Time Buyers of Compact Cars in Thailand are More Critical of Vehicle Quality

Gerrit Kuyntjes

New-vehicle initial quality in Thailand has slipped slightly this year due to a higher incidence of problems with compact cars, which have become more prevalent in the vehicle mix due to a government eco-car incentive program* and a first-time buyer program,** according to our 2012 Thailand Initial Quality Study (IQS).

Overall initial quality this year averages 116 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), compared with 113 PP100 in 2011. In the IQS, performance is determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher vehicle quality. Our 2012 Thailand IQS is based on evaluations from 4,674 new-vehicle buyers during the first two to six months of ownership, and examines more than 200 problem symptoms in eight categories.***

Thailand New-Car Buyer Demographics are Changing Requirements

One reason for this year’s dip in initial quality may be due to changes in the vehicle segment mix and the increased number of first-time buyers. In the 1980s, the Thai government (Ministry of Industry and Board of Investment) created industry policy to encourage OEMs to build pickup trucks with diesel engines in Thailand, according to Tim Dunne, J.D. Power senior global automotive analyst.

He points out that pickups are easier to engineer and manufacture than cars, and diesel engines are more durable and fuel efficient than gasoline engines. Pickup trucks also received favorable tax treatment from the government (lower taxes on pickups compared with passenger cars), which made them much more affordable to Thai consumers. Thailand is the second largest producer of pickups in the world (after the United States), and the largest exporter of pickup trucks in the world, according to our research. Continue reading ›

Shanghai General Motors Earns Most Model Awards in China APEAL Study

Shanghai General Motors receives awards for models that most delight their owners in four of 10 award-eligible segments among the 12 segments included in our 2012 China Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. SGM-Chevrolet and Buick each earn two model awards.

Two models from Beijing Hyundai earn awards, while Dongfeng Yuedai Kia also . . . Continue Reading Shanghai General Motors Earns Most Model Awards in China APEAL Study

Initial Quality Advances in China Driven by Improvements among Domestic Brands


Dr. Mei Songlin

China’s domestic brands outpace the industry in initial quality improvements, according to our 2012 China Initial Quality Study (IQS). Remarkable advances by the domestic brands have been made in three areas: ease in shifting gears (manual transmission); fuel efficiency; and incidence of brake dust. However, none of the Chinese domestic brands rank above industry average in initial quality in 2012, which means there is still significant room for improvement.

The 2012 China IQS, which is based on evaluations from 20,639 new-vehicle buyers in 43 cities across China during the first 2 to 6 months of ownership, analyzes design-related problems as well as defects and malfunctions. An initial quality score is determined by evaluating problems reported per 100 vehicles (PP100). Fewer problems indicate higher quality.

On another encouraging note, overall initial quality across the industry in China is the best in 12 years—since the inception of the study in 2000. This year’s overall industry score is 146 PP100, down 16 PP100 from an average 162 PP100 in 2011. Much of the advance in initial quality this year has been driven by improvements among the Korean and Chinese domestic brands. Continue reading ›

Luxury Brands Rank Highest in Japan’s APEAL Study

The overall industry index in the 2012 Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study improves from 2011 by 3 points to an average of 691 points (on a 1,000-point scale), although the segment averages for two of the five segments—compact and mini-car segments—are below industry average, according to the recently released study. 

At the . . . Continue Reading Luxury Brands Rank Highest in Japan’s APEAL Study

Early September Retail U.S. Sales Pace Remains Robust

John Humphrey

After a strong close over the Labor Day weekend (Sept. 1-3), retail light-vehicle sales in September maintained a relatively healthy pace through the first half of the month. However, sales are expected to level off through the rest of September—but still will rise 12% from September 2011, based on a monthly forecast update from J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) with strategic partner LMC Automotive.*

Through the first 14 selling days of the month, retail car and light-truck sales increased 15% from a year ago, reflecting a healthy market, although we expect retail sales to level off through the remainder of the month. Retail deliveries are projected to reach 952,200 unit sales, which translates to a seasonally adjusted annul rate (SAAR) of 11.8 million units, which is up by more than 1 million units from September 2011, but lower than August’s 12.6 million-unit retail sales pace. Continue reading ›