Sales Satisfaction Up in Vietnam Market; Test Drive Can Make a Difference

Traffic on Vietnamese StreetOverall satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience at the dealership has improved by 4 points in 2013 to an average 850 points (on a 1,000-point scale) from 846 points in 2012, according to our 2013 Vietnam Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Yet, even with this year’s higher satisfaction score, the study finds areas where dealers can improve sales satisfaction, including offering customers a test drive and spending more time with the buyer during the delivery process.

Offering a test drive—which averages 17 minutes in 2013, compared with 19 minutes in 2012 and 21 minutes in 2011—to new-vehicle buyers who visit a dealership in Vietnam can increase customer satisfaction with the sales process, the study finds. Slightly more than one-third (36%) of buyers actually test drive a vehicle. Continue reading ›

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 ›

Internet Plays a Major Role in Brazil’s New-Vehicle Sales Process

Jon Sederstrom-Final

Jon Sederstrom

New-vehicle shoppers in Brazil rely the most on information from their friends and relatives (45%), followed by research on the Internet (43%), to help them decide which make and model of vehicle to purchase, according to our 2013 Brazil Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.* These two sources are cited more often than traditional information sources such as owners of the same vehicle (27%) or the salesperson or dealership owners (23%), based on our study, which evaluates more than 3,000 online interviews with Brazil’s new-vehicle owners one to seven months after their purchase.

A Little Background about Brazil as an Auto Market

Brazil is the fourth-largest new-vehicle market in the world, behind China, the United States and Japan. The country’s auto market is expected to grow by 3% in 2013 from 2012, when 3.6 million new light vehicles were sold in the country.

In addition to experiencing strong sales and growth, nearly one-half of consumers in Brazil have access to the Internet and nearly 55 million smartphones are in use in the country, which means that information gathered online is becoming a powerful and influential resource for new-vehicle shoppers. Continue reading ›

Test Drives are More Likely After a Satisfying Automaker Website Experience

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

Tablets are becoming a more frequent platform for consumers when they go online to shop for a new vehicle, according to our 2013 Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study (MWES)—Wave 1. This is especially true since tablet ownership has risen by nearly one-fourth (+23%) among our sample of 10,006 new-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 24 months.

Since tablet ownership continues to expand*, automakers must accommodate online shoppers on multiple platforms, which means creating websites that work well on tablets along with desktop pcs and mobile devices. We are seeing that many automakers currently direct consumers on a tablet to a desktop version of their website, while many fewer direct to a mobile version. Shoppers on a tablet are able to access all of the shopping information when they’re directed to a desktop website.

Overall satisfaction among shoppers who have tablets and are directed to a desktop pc website is higher than for those directed to a mobile website—820 (on a 1,000-point scale) vs. 798. In addition, satisfaction is higher across all four measures evaluated (information/content, navigation, appearance and speed) when tablet users utilize a desktop website. Continue reading ›

Western Auto Conference Panel Talks about How New Media Meets Consumers

“The future is now” is not a cliché in automotive marketing. During the recent NADA/J.D. Power Western Automotive Conference in Los Angeles, three automotive marketers from Facebook, Google and Microsoft’s Xbox joined a California auto dealer with 11 stores and multiple franchises to talk about the rapid changes they have observed and encountered in reaching consumers and marketing autos across platforms. Several upcoming posts will feature excerpts from their discussion at the event about channels, processes, best practices and connecting with consumers—especially new-vehicle shoppers and buyers.

Moderator:

John Lisko, Executive Communications Director, Saatchi & Saatchi

Panel members:

Doug Frisbie, head of automotive for Facebook

Michelle Morris, Automotive Industry Director, Google, Inc.

Randy Shaffer, Western Regional Sales Manager, Xbox, Microsoft Corp.

Mike Sullivan, Dealer/owner of LAcarGUY Family Group in California*

Heading in the Right Direction and Picking Up Momentum

“The economy struggles a bit, but is heading in the right direction,” said John Lisko, moderator of the panel discussion on the intersection of new media and new-vehicle buyers. Summing up the current retail setting, Lisko added, “We’re seeing consumer confidence pick up. We’re seeing the right momentum. We’re coming off of Black Friday and Cyber Monday with record-breaking sales—a 100% increase in mobile platform purchases.” In first remarks, Lisko first asked panelists to describe their businesses today in relation to the auto buyer and also what they see ahead. A few highlights:

John: How are your businesses? How are they looking today?

Mike: We came off of record years—six years in a row. This is our first flat year, but it’s a very good flat year. I think the 14.5 million-unit sales forecast this year was very predictable. And I think we are going to have nice, arithmetic growth from here on out. I just don’t see the big pop and bubble that some are seeing. One of the biggest concerns for me is: there are a lot of cars out there and the market is coming back nicely. Production is coming back on a rail.

Doug: It’s been an interesting year for Facebook. There has been a massive shift to mobile, which was much faster than anticipated. There are three factors driving that—the first is usage. Last year, we had about 376 million users. This year, it’s over 600 million. The second is engagement. The time that people are spending on Facebook on a mobile device is actually greater—about 8 hours a month vs. 7 hours on desktop. The third part is the monetization aspect. In our fourth quarter, about 14% of our advertising revenue came from mobile. That’s notable because we didn’t have an advertising revenue stream at the beginning of 2012. Those three factors combined are having an exponential effect in making mobile such a significant part of our business. 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 ›

Satisfying Website Visits Lead to More Showroom Traffic in Canada

J.D. Ney

A majority (76%) of new-vehicle shoppers in Canada who indicate having a highly satisfying experience while visiting an auto manufacturer’s website (score of at least 976 on a 1,000-point scale) say they are much more likely to visit that brand’s showroom for a test drive, according to our 2012 Canadian Manufacturer Website Evaluation Study.

 
As might be anticipated, among shoppers who have a less satisfying online experience (score of 500 points or below), only 14% say they will visit a dealership for a test drive. These study results indicate that there is a strong correlation between a satisfying online shopping experience leading to a visit to a dealer showroom and the likelihood of a vehicle purchase.

It’s encouraging this year that auto brands and their websites made significant advances in satisfying new-vehicle shoppers in Canada. The industry average rises 37 points to 821 from 784 in 2011, with increases across all four factors examined. Scores for Site speed and Appearance factors increased the most, based on analysis from some 3,078 new-vehicle shoppers who indicate they will be in the market for a new vehicle within the next 12 months. Continue reading ›