More than one-half of repeat car buyers in India select a model that is either larger or more expensive than the model they previously purchased, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2011 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study SM released today.
The study finds that the premium compact car segment gains the most from this migration, as one-third of the repeat car buyers who move up-market select a model in this segment. This is mainly due to the fact that nearly one-half of the repeat car buyers in India previously owned compact car models, which are smaller and less expensive than premium compact car models.
“Vehicle ownership has always been a tangible sign of progression in India,” said Mohit Arora, executive director, J.D. Power Asia Pacific. “The growing demand for a larger or more expensive vehicle amongst Indian owners reflects their rising aspirations. Currently, those owners who aspire to upgrade their vehicles have more options available to them, with new makes and models launching in all vehicle segments. This growth further fuels consumer demand.”
Now in its 13th year, the study is an owner-reported measure of what gratifies owners in India with the design, features, layout and performance of their new vehicle. Ten performance categories contribute to overall APEAL scores: vehicle exterior; vehicle interior; storage and space; audio/entertainment/navigation; seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); driving dynamics; engine/transmission; visibility and driving safety; and fuel economy. Overall APEAL performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction.
Satisfaction with new-vehicle design and performance in 2011 averages 829, up from 817 in 2010. Overall, the industry improves across all 10 categories, with the largest improvement occurring in fuel economy.
The study also finds that newly launched models garner higher satisfaction ratings amongst customers in India, compared with refreshed and carryover models. Satisfaction with newly launched models averages 836-seven points higher than satisfaction with existing models.
“Launching exciting models with the latest features is crucial for winning over today’s demanding customer,” said Arora. “With manufacturers placing increasing focus on quality and design, owners of newly launched models also experience fewer problems, which enhances their satisfaction with their vehicles.”