Initial Quality in China Sets New Benchmark; Domestics Improve Significantly

Dr. Mei Songlin

China’s domestic brands are improving their initial vehicle quality and are narrowing the gap with international brands, which is reducing the overall problem rate in China to a record low, according to the 2013 China Initial Quality Study (IQS). At the industry level, overall initial quality averages just 119 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) in 2013, which represents the lowest number of problems since the study was introduced in 2000.

The 2013 China IQS, which examines problems experienced by new-vehicle owners within the first two to six months of ownership, evaluates two general types of problems: design-related problems, and defects and malfunctions. Some 21,181 owners of new vehicles purchased between October 2012 and June 2013 in 46 major cities were surveyed for the study. The overall initial quality score for 2013 is determined by calculating PP100, where a lower problem incidence rate indicates higher quality. Continue reading ›

A J.D. Power Perspective on Ford’s Dramatic Sales Climb in China

Tim Dunne

Tim Dunne

Although Ford is somewhat of a late bloomer in the China auto market, the Detroit-based automaker is set to outpace major Japanese competitors such as Toyota and Honda Groups in passenger-vehicle sales in the China market this year, according to media reports. The major U.S. automaker still is behind General Motors and Volkswagen Group auto sales in the China market.

A Ford official told Reuters that it is possible the company will sell more than 900,000 units in 2013—including both passenger cars and commercial vehicles—in the world’s largest auto market, mainly due to a stronger product lineup. Small SUVs, including the Ford EcoSport and Kuga, have sold well and a redesigned Focus has been on sale since last year. Continue reading ›

Local Brands in China Rise on Intender Lists; European Brands Remain Popular

China customers online 80410767Nearly one-third (31%) of consumers in China who intend to purchase a new vehicle consider purchasing a European model, although the percentage of consumers who intend to purchase a new domestic brand vehicle has increased significantly, primarily due to the inclusion of consumers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, according to the 2013 China New-Vehicle Intender Study (NVIS).

The percentage of these intenders who, in the next 12 months, would consider purchasing a Chinese domestic model has climbed to 27% this year from 20% in 2012. China’s domestic brands are especially popular among consumers in Tier 2 (28%) and Tier 3 (42%) cities. In contrast, only 16% of consumers in Tier 1 cities consider purchasing a local model in China because these consumers perceive that Chinese domestic brands do not accurately reflect their social status, the study finds. Continue reading ›

Clean Diesel Makes Inroads in the U.S.; Sees Slowdown in Europe

Tim_Dunne

Tim Dunne

As clean diesel powertrains become more prevalent and popular in the U.S. market, especially in VW and Audi brand product lineups sold here, it appears that diesels are becoming less attractive in the world’s largest diesel market: Europe, according to a recent article, “Are Diesel Cars in Europe Starting a Long Slow Decline?” in Green Car Reports as well as J.D. Power research.

The current reduction in diesels in Europe may be mainly due to new regulations that have been passed by the EU and/or are being considered in individual European countries.

As recently as 2012, the diesel share in the European market was 46.0%, according to Mike Omotoso, senior manager of global powertrain at LMC Automotive, J.D. Power’s strategic partner. In 2013, LMC Automotive projects the diesel share to edge down by slightly more than 1 percentage point to 44.9%, and the outlook for 2014 is for a 44.0% diesel share in Europe—down 2 points from 2012. Continue reading ›

Chevrolet Achieves First-Half Global Sales Record

General Motors’ flagship Chevrolet brand this week said it delivered a record 2.5 million new vehicles worldwide in the first half of 2013—up a slight 1.4% vs. the same six-month period in 2012. Total deliveries for all GM brands in the first half were up nearly 4% from last year’s same period to 4.85 million units, from 4.67 million units a year ago.

2013 Chevrolet Spark

2013 Chevrolet Spark

Chevrolet sales topped 1.02 million units in the U.S. market—a 5.6% gain from last year, with a combined 25% increase in demand for the mass-market brand’s smaller models, including—Sonic, Spark, Cruze and Volt plug-in hybrid. Large truck sales also rose in double digits.

J.D. Power data from the Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive indicates that Chevrolet’s U.S. deliveries on a selling-day adjusted basis rose 8.7% in the first half from last year, which was slightly ahead of the industry’s 8.4% increase. The brand’s share in the U.S. market edged up to 18.17% from 18.15% a year ago. Five of Chevrolet’s models ranked among the 20 best-sellers—respectively, include: the Silverado, Cruze, Equinox, Malibu and Impala. 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 ›

Demand for Smaller Engines in U.S. Market Flourishes

tysonjominy Blog

Tyson Jominy

During the past five years, there has been a rise in demand in the U.S. market for compact- and even midsize-segment car and light-truck models to be equipped with more efficient, powerful and eco-friendly 4-cylinder engines. In fact, more than one-half of new vehicles purchased or leased in the first five and one-half months of 2013 were equipped with a 4-cylinder, according to data provided by our Power Information Network® (PIN) division.

One reason behind the larger percentage of smaller engines (PIN defines small engines as 3-, 4- and 5-cylinders) in the sales mix is that more brands in the U.S. market now offer these more fuel-efficient powertrains than they did five years ago. Some of the noticeable changes in powertrain penetration that PIN has tracked between 2008 and 2013 are summarized:

• In 2008, 10 nameplates in the U.S. market did not even have engine options smaller than 6-cylinders. Today, there are only three brands without small (below 6-cylinders) engines in their sales mix.

• In 2008, there were only five nameplates with over 90% small-engine penetration. Today, there are 11 brands with greater than 90% penetration.

• Four nameplates have 100% small-engine penetration—Mini, smart, Fiat, and Scion. Volkswagen, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia also score well above 90% small-engine penetration.

• The largest change is for the Buick brand, which did not offer 4-cylinders in 2008, but now is above 50% in its sales mix.

Audi remains the top luxury marque with 4-cylinder penetration, while BMW, which did not offer 4-cylinders in 2008, is now No. 2. Continue reading ›

British Brands Advance in UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study

Mark_Lendrich

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 ›

First-Quarter Passenger-Vehicle Sales in China—Better than Expected

China-02China’s passenger-vehicle sales ended the first quarter with a double-digit gain from the same quarter a year ago, mainly due to new product launches, increases in luxury or premium brand sales, in addition to dealer incentives, based on analysis and data from J.D. Power’s strategic partner LMC Automotive.

A 14% gain in passenger-vehicle sales to 1.43 million units during March bolstered first-quarter totals. First-quarter light-vehicle sales in China rose by 15% from the same period in 2012 to 5.44 million units.

SUVs and Luxury Cars Create Enthusiasm in China Market

The best-performing segment in China during the quarter was the SUV segment, which saw sales surge by 43% from the same quarter in 2012. New product launches added momentum to demand in this category. Continue reading ›

GM’s JV Brands Set March and First-Quarter Sales Records in China

GM-China-HQGeneral Motors and its joint venture operations in China set all-time sales records in the largest passenger-vehicle market during March and through the first quarter of 2013, according to the company. March deliveries rose nearly 13% from a year ago to 290,538 unit sales. It was the second-highest monthly sales tally in GM’s history in China. Its first-quarter total sales in China also rose nearly 10% from last year to 816,373 units.

In related news, GM also outsold Volkswagen Group in China for the first time in the past three quarters, thanks to increased demand for Buick vehicles, according to news reports. China’s auto manufacturers group said that VW’s growth surpassed the overall passenger-vehicle market in China during the first quarter but its increase in March was not as strong. Continue reading ›