Maruti Suzuki Most Considered Brand for 13th Consecutive Year, J D Power Finds 

With a greater number of shoppers relying on online sources for their vehicle research, the use of traditional sources, such as newspapers and magazines, is declining, according to the J D Power 2017 India Escaped Shopper Study (ESS), released on November 9. 

Nearly two in three (64%) shoppers use the internet when researching which vehicle they plan to purchase, up from 58% last year and an increase of 28 percentage points since 2012, when it was 36%. In 2012, 50% of all shoppers said they used newspapers and magazines while researching for their new car. This year, however, only 24% say the same. 

“As online channels have now become the starting point for more car buyers, shoppers today are increasingly better informed of the alternatives available to them even before they enter a dealership,” said Shantanu Nandi Majumdar, Director at J D Power. “That said, dealers will continue to play a pivotal role in the shopping process. However, they will need to evolve, with support from their OEMs, to develop a stronger online presence with information that customers desire, for instance, deals/ promotions, test drive bookings, delivery time and stock level, among others.” 

While shoppers continue to visit the manufacturer’s website while conducting their research, for the past three years, increasingly more are turning to social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter (25% in 2017 vs. 8% in 2014). Older shoppers (50 years and older) are also turning to the internet for their information needs, compared with three years ago. This year’s study finds that there is an increase of 10 percentage points from last year in the proportion of older shoppers accessing social networking sites while shopping for their vehicle (26% vs. 16%, respectively). 

This year, there are fewer shoppers visiting the dealerships of multiple brands before making a purchase. Five years ago, 82% of shoppers visited at least one other brand’s dealership not including the one they purchased from. In 2017, only 59% have visited at least one other dealership. This decline in visits to physical dealerships is also observed in the decreasing proportion of vehicle buyers who visited multiple dealers of the same brand before making a purchase. In 2012, 51% of all new-vehicle buyers visited at least one other dealer of the same brand, compared with 26% in 2017. 

Key Findings 

•More female shoppers connected online: Female shoppers use the internet more often than their male counterparts (66% vs 64%, respectively). As a likely consequence, fewer women than men visit multiple brands’ dealerships while shopping for their new vehicle (49% vs 60%, respectively). 

•Willingness to spend more: Although “total price too high” remains the main reason for shoppers to reject a model, they are more willing this year to consider another vehicle, which is up to Rs. 150,000 more expensive than the one they eventually purchased. Five years ago, this price ceiling was much lower at Rs. 100,000. 

•Brand most often considered by shoppers: Maruti Suzuki is the most considered brand among new-vehicle shoppers for a 13th consecutive year, with 45% of all shoppers purchasing one of its models, which is the same as last year. 

•Customer retention improves: Overall customer retention this year is 40%, up slightly from 38% in 2016. 

The 2017 India Escaped Shopper Study is based on responses from 7,831 buyers and 3,374 rejecters of new cars and new utility vehicles who purchased their vehicle between September 2016 and April 2017. The study, which examines the reasons new-vehicle shoppers consider but ultimately reject certain models in favour of another, was fielded from March through September 2017.


Hyundai Ranks Highest Among Mass Market Brands

In an another study viz. J D Power 2017 India Customer Service Index (Mass Market), released on October 31, reveals that Vehicle owners in India are increasingly placing a greater level of importance on communication and interaction with the service advisor during their after-sales experience.

This key driver of customer satisfaction encompasses several aspects, such as the performance of a thorough multi-point inspection around the vehicle; confirmation of consumer requests; review and explanation of the work pre- and post-service; and regular vehicle status updates. The study finds that 79% of vehicle owners have received all such relevant advisor-led communication, which in turn results in a 23-point increase (on a 1,000-point scale) in satisfaction. Non-compliance with these aspects results in a significant 41-point drop in satisfaction.

“While the quality of service remains a principal driver of customer satisfaction in India, clear, proactive and frequent communication from service advisors demonstrates a greater commitment toward enhancing customer engagement,” said Kaustav Roy, Director at J D Power. “Dealerships that are successful in delivering on both service and improved communication can expect to achieve stronger recommendations and a higher customer retention level.”

Key Findings

• Overall satisfaction for this segment has decreased marginally from last year by 3 points (877 vs 880, respectively). Among the factors, the greatest decrease (-3 points) is in service initiation, service advisor and service facility.

• The quality of service remains a critical driver of satisfaction. The study finds that 87% of vehicle owners say that the work carried out was right the first time and that their vehicle was washed and vacuumed. Overall satisfaction among these customers is 13 points higher than among those whose work was not done right the first time with vehicle not washed or vacuumed.

• Almost one-fourth (24%) of customers indicate that they remained at the dealership throughout the entire service visit. Among these customers, 58% say they were provided six or more amenities by the dealerships, compared with 34% last year—an increase of 24 percentage points year over year. Such amenities include refreshment counters, internet access, televisions and mobile charging points.

Study Rankings

Hyundai ranks highest in after-sales customer satisfaction, with a score of 923. Maruti Suzuki and Tata rank second in a tie at 893.

The 2017 India Customer Service Index (CSI) Study is based on responses from 7,878 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between May 2015 and August 2016. The study was fielded from May through August 2017.

Now in its 21st year, the study measures new-vehicle owner satisfaction with the after-sales service process by examining dealership performance in five factors (listed in order of importance): service quality; vehicle pick-up; service advisor; service facility; and service initiation. This study examines service satisfaction in the mass market segment




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