J.D. Power and Associates and What Car? Report:
Despite A Tough Economic Environment, Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction in the UK Improves from 2010
Lexus Ranks Highest in Satisfying New-Vehicle Owners for an 11th Consecutive Year
LONDON: 27 May 2011 – Despite economic pressures on both auto manufacturers and consumers, vehicle ownership satisfaction in the UK has increased from 2010, with improvement occurring across all aspects of the ownership experience, according to the J.D. Power and Associates/What Car? 2011 UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS)SM released today.
The study measures customer satisfaction with the vehicle and dealer service based on evaluation of 66 attributes grouped in four key measures. In order of importance, they are: vehicle appeal (37%), which includes performance, design, comfort and features; vehicle quality and reliability (24%); ownership costs (22%), which includes fuel consumption, insurance and costs of service/repair; and dealer service satisfaction (17%).
The most notable improvement from 2010 has occurred in the service satisfaction factor, while modest increases have also occurred in the vehicle appeal and ownership costs factors.
“It is particularly encouraging that satisfaction with ownership costs has improved during a year that has witnessed record fuel costs, increased insurance premiums and greater competitive price pressure for dealerships,” said Brian Walters, senior director of European automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates. “In many respects, this indicates that automakers have been able to protect their customers from direct internal cost pressures.”
Lexus ranks highest in satisfying new-vehicle owners for an 11th consecutive year, with a score of 845 on a 1,000-point scale. Lexus performs particularly well in three of the four key measures: vehicle quality and reliability; vehicle appeal; and service satisfaction. Following in the rankings are Honda (833) and Jaguar and Škoda, in a tie (825 each).
At the model level, Honda receives two awards for the Accord (upper medium car) and Jazz (small car). Also receiving awards are the BMW 5 Series (executive luxury car, in a tie); Citroën C3 Picasso (MPV); Lexus IS (compact executive car); Mercedes-Benz E-Class (executive luxury car, in a tie); Škoda Octavia (lower medium car); and Toyota Aygo (city car).
Overall satisfaction has improved in each vehicle segment, compared with 2010. In particular, the MPV segment improved more than any other segment in the product appeal and quality and reliability factors.
“It’s great news that people are more satisfied with their cars than ever, and it proves that car makers are getting things right more often,” said Jim Holder, magazine editor of What Car? “Yet again Lexus tops the study with outstandingly reliable cars and dealer back-up that is truly exceptional. Brands at the other end of the spectrum must work hard to win back customer support.”
The study also finds that customer expectations for vehicle ownership satisfaction have been steadily rising during the past decade. In particular, owners have become more critical of design elements within their vehicles, are increasingly willing to shop around for service, are less tolerant of quality issues and are placing more importance on the overall appeal of their vehicles. According to Walters, this makes it critically important for brands to differentiate their products and service experiences in ways that meet and exceed customer expectations time after time.
“While the new-vehicle market in the UK is expected to contract further during the next several years, the number of models in the market is expected to increase,” said Walters. “In 2008, buyers in the UK had approximately 250 models to choose from. This is expected to grow to more than 340 in 2015. As customer choice expands, so does switching behaviour in the market. Therefore, it is paramount for brands to provide a compelling case for the shrinking pool of customers to stay with their products and services in the future.”
The 2011 UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS) is based on the evaluations of more than 16,500 online interviews from UK car owners after an average of two years of ownership. The study was fielded in December 2010 and January 2011.
The annual J.D. Power and Associates/What Car? study gives consumers access to reliable and accurate information about many vehicle models, and helps manufacturers provide high levels of satisfaction to their customers. More comprehensive study results are published exclusively in the July issue of What Car? on sale Friday, May 27, 2011.1
1Study results published in What Car? use some segment names and definitions that differ from J.D. Power and Associates’ segmentation. These include: supermini (for small car segment), small family car (for lower medium car segment) and family car (for upper medium car segment).
About J.D. Power and Associates
The European headquarters of J.D. Power and Associates is located in Munich, Germany. With world headquarters in Westlake Village, California, U.S.A., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global financial information and education company that helps professionals and students succeed in the Knowledge Economy. Leading brands include Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2010 were $6.2 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com.
About What Car?
Over one million consumers consult What Car? every month. The What Car? stable also includes the award-winning website whatcar.com, What Car? New Car Guide, What Car? Price Guide, What Car? TV, What Car? Mobile and What Car? Video – available online or as a video podcast. What Car? is part of the Haymarket Media Group, the United Kingdom’s largest independently owned publishing company with a portfolio of over 150 titles, ranging from specialist consumer magazines to business titles and customer publications, published via wholly owned subsidiaries, joint ventures and under license worldwide. www.whatcar.com