Shorter Delivery Times in Japan Increases Sales Satisfaction Levels

Kimoto Taku NEW_C_Lg

Taku Kimoto

Customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales experience in Japan has improved as delivery times are nine days shorter on average than in 2012 when there were longer delays in delivery due to the initiation of an eco-car subsidy program, according to our 2013 Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.

This year, the average time for delivery to buyers of non-hybrid vehicles declines to 28 days from 34 days in 2012, and the delivery time for hybrids drops by 23 days and averages 50 days instead of 73 days. Among Japan’s domestic brands, Toyota—the largest seller of hybrid vehicles in Japan—and Honda, which had its production in 2012 negatively affected by flooding in Thailand, achieve notable reductions in delivery times. Continue reading ›

Building Loyalty, Improving Service are Keys to Satisfaction in Germany’s Auto Market

Mark_Lendrich

Mark Lendrich

In light of a less-than-robust outlook for new-vehicle sales in Germany during the next few years, automakers and dealers need to focus on loyalty, awareness of crucial factors that influence the purchase decision, and they need to improve service business, according to our 2013 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS), a collaborative effort with AUTO TEST, the magazine in Germany for readers planning to buy a new car.

In 2013, overall satisfaction among owners of one- to three-year-old vehicles in Germany averages 789 points (on a 1,000-point scale). In the 2013 study, vehicle appeal, which accounts for 27% of the index weight, and ownership costs (25%) are the two key drivers of overall satisfaction. The remaining two factors evaluated and their weights are: vehicle quality and reliability (24%); and service satisfaction (23%). Continue reading ›

China’s Domestic Automakers Take a Hit, But Not All the News is Bad

Jacob George

After years of significant sales growth and business expansion, China’s domestic automakers have been on the receiving end of bad news in recent months. Some recent examples of stumbling blocks for China’s national automakers include:

• Year-to-date, the combined market share of China’s domestic automakers—which typically accounts for about one-third of annual passenger-vehicle sales—is down nearly 4%, in an overall market that is up 9%.

• In July, an influential automotive industry association predicted that more than half of China’s 48 domestic automotive brands (a majority have only been established in the last dozen years) would be discontinued in the next 3-5 years, principally due to foreign competition.

• In August, two of China’s leading domestic brands were forced to announce vehicle recalls in Australia (due to the affected vehicles containing the banned substance, asbestos). This recall prompted sober admissions of wrongdoing from the offending companies.

Certainly, these setbacks have been disappointing for a young industry racing to catch up with the world’s leading automakers. However, based on progress being made in other facets of the industry, there is still a major reason for optimism among China’s domestic brands. One area in which much progress has been made is initial vehicle quality. Continue reading ›

Vehicle Owners in Germany Less Satisfied; Mercedes Models Earn Most Segment-Level Awards

It’s been two years since the scrappage program was eliminated in the German auto market and satisfaction among owners of two-year-old vehicles in that country has slipped to an average of 807 (on a 1,000-point scale) this year from 813 in 2010, according to our 2011 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS), which we conduct jointly with German auto magazine AUTO TEST.

Brian Walters

Among the four factors* measured in the study, only ownership costs has improved slightly. A 9-point fall in the vehicle quality and reliability factor is primarily due to a significant increase in reported problems—the rate of problems reported increased by 12 problems per 100 vehicles (PP 100) from 2010, mainly in the areas of vehicle exterior; heating; ventilation; and air conditioning.

On an encouraging note, we find that vehicle owners in Germany who say they are “delighted” with their dealer service experience are nearly 2.5 times as likely to return to the dealership for paid service work vs. less satisfied customers. Yet, there is a wide variance in service levels delivered by different brands. Continue reading ›

Honda Ranks Highest in Satisfying New-Vehicle Owners in France

For a third straight year, Honda receives the highest score (796 on a 1,000-point scale) among manufacturers in satisfying new-vehicle owners in France, based on our 2011 France Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction StudySM (VOSS), which we conduct with France’s L’Automobile Magazine.* Despite having a small market share, Honda performs particularly well in two of the . . . Continue Reading Honda Ranks Highest in Satisfying New-Vehicle Owners in France

PIN Demographic and Transaction Highlights for Premium Brands

Most premium brands had lower retail turn rates* than the industry average during the first four months of 2011, based on our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data. This year, the Audi brand had the lowest retail turn rate—new vehicles remained an average of only 23 days on dealer lots before being sold—which was even lower than last year’s 34 days, and less than half of the industry average retail turn rate (54 days) during the first four months of 2011. Land Rover had the next lowest turn rate—30 days—down from 35 days in 2010. Lexus followed with a retail turn rate of 36 days, which was up from 29 days in 2010. Continue reading ›

BMW Takes US Premium Sales Lead in First Four Months of 2011

David Cutting

BMW, offering 11 models in the US market, currently is the best-selling luxury, or premium, brand through the first four months of 2011, according to data from our Automotive Forecasting division. BMW’s year-to-date sales through April totaled 71,417 units, which was a 10% improvement over last year’s same time period. The German luxury automaker’s 5 Series midsize premium conventional model posted strong gains for the brand this year—sales rose more than 75%, to 15,986 units vs. 9,111 sales a year ago. Also, the redesigned X3 compact premium crossover (CUV) bolstered the brand’s totals with 7,987 unit sales so far this year. Additionally, all of BMW’s CUV models posted gains this year, while the volume-leading 3 Series, which was the best-selling premium model in the US market, posted a 12% sales decline (26,590 unit sales vs. 30,360 unit sales in 2010).

Mercedes-Benz, with a lineup of 15 models in the US new-vehicle market, was very close to its rival BMW, selling just 32 fewer units through the first four months. Mercedes delivered 71,385 premium cars and light trucks in January through April 2011, up 7% from last year’s 66,857 unit deliveries. In addition to being the best-selling luxury brand, the Mercedes C-Class and E-Class passenger cars were among the 10 best-selling luxury models in the United States during this same time frame. The Sprinter van has sold 3,764 units in year-to-date sales, but is not included in the above figures as it is not considered to be a premium model. Continue reading ›

What About the Other Swedish Brand in China—Geely and Volvo?

In addition to the Saab-Hawtai discussions, China’s other well-known Sino-Swedish automotive partnership has been plugging along since Zhejiang Geely Automotive Group acquired Volvo Cars from Ford Motor Co. for $1.5 billion in August 2010.

Sales of Volvo models in China reached nearly 30,000 units in 2010, up 32% over the prior year, likely making . . . Continue Reading What About the Other Swedish Brand in China—Geely and Volvo?

Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service Remains Resilient

J.D. Power finds that overall satisfaction among vehicle owners with dealer service as a whole remained stable and actually improved by 1 point from 2010—averaging 768 points (on a 1,000-point scale) in our latest 2011 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, which is based on responses from more than 97,300 owners and lessees of 2006 to 2010 model-year vehicles.

Jon Osborn

This year, the US auto industry lost one premium and three non-premium brands (Hummer, Saturn, Pontiac and Mercury), and new-vehicle sales have yet to return to the 15+ million-unit annual levels of the past decade, where dealers could rely more on service work for revenue and profit. Yet, even during these tough times, dealer service facilities have been able to gradually build up their share of service visits and spend, especially among customers whose vehicles are under warranty. Between 2007 and 2011, the share of service visits at dealer facilities increased from 67% to 74%.

Additionally, since consumers are postponing their new-vehicle purchases and opting to keep their vehicles longer, there is a more pressing need for owners to keep their vehicles well maintained. We do see that current car and light-truck owners are slowly coming back into the market and they are trading in older vehicles compared to a year ago, according to our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data. In February, for example, the average trade-in vehicle was 6.1 years old, which was up from 5.8 in the same month of 2010. Continue reading ›

Chinese Automakers’ Profits Helped by Government Measures

The profits of China’s automotive industry surpassed 30.2 billion yuan (US $4 billion) in the first half of 2010, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM). The figure was nearly 66% higher than in the same period last year, according to Asia Times Online, the online successor to the former Asia Times, . . . Continue Reading Chinese Automakers’ Profits Helped by Government Measures