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John Tews
Director, Media Relations
Troy, MI
(248) 680-6200


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Westlake Village, CA
(805) 418-8103


Andrew Teachout
Media Relations Specialist
Troy, MI
(248) 680-6200

 

Press Release
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Contact:
John Tews
(248) 312-4119
Helen Rong
+ 86.21.2208.0832
 

J.D. Power Asia Pacific Reports:
Amid Fierce Competition, Auto Brands Improve in Gratifying New-Vehicle Owners in China

Models from Domestic Makes, Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota Each Receive Two Segment Awards

SHANGHAI: 25 November 2010 — After remaining flat during the past three years, owner satisfaction with new-vehicle performance and design in China has improved from 2009, fueled by intense competition between brands and models in the market, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2010 China Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM released today.  

Now in its eighth year, the APEAL study is a customer-reported measure of what gratifies owners in China regarding their new vehicle’s performance and design during the first two to six months of ownership. The study examines 82 attributes in 10 vehicle categories: vehicle exterior; vehicle interior; storage and space; audio/entertainment/navigation; seats; HVAC; driving dynamics; engine/transmission; visibility and driving safety; and fuel economy.

The overall APEAL score in 2010 averages 808 on a 1,000-point scale, increasing by nine points from 2009. This improvement is largely attributable to increased satisfaction with models in the midsize segment, which comprise the greatest proportion of sales in the China automotive market.

Automakers are succeeding at developing vehicle designs that more closely meet the specific needs of new-vehicle owners in China, according to J.D. Power.

“Intensified competition has driven both international and domestic auto brands to launch new and better vehicles that appeal specifically to the eyes and hearts of Chinese consumers,” said Hannah Chao, research director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Shanghai. “Increasingly, both domestic and international brands are bringing vehicle models described as ‘created in China’ or ‘created specially for Chinese consumers’ to market. Rather than simply bringing existing vehicle concepts from other markets, these models are reflective of a deepened understanding of the particular needs and wants of the Chinese consumer.”

According to Chao, in order to continue gratifying new-vehicle owners, domestic automakers need to focus on reducing vehicle noise during bumpy driving and improving seating materials, audio controls and fuel efficiency. For international brands, the greatest opportunities for improvement are comfort of the third row seats, fuel efficiency, smell of vehicle interior and quality of interior materials.

The study finds that models that have undergone major redesigns are the most appealing to owners (852, on average), followed by all-new models (818) and refreshed models (811). Carryover models are the least appealing, on average (805).

“The focus of product competition in today’s automotive market in China revolves mainly around new product launches and redesigns,” said Dr. Mei Songlin, general manager of research at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Shanghai. “While automakers aim to attract customers by continually offering newer, fresher and trendier products, this could be a very costly way to gain market share. Over time, it will be interesting to see if competitive positioning shifts away from consumer appeal to product quality, as has happened in certain mature markets. If this occurs, it will be essential for models to have high levels of both appeal and quality, which is ultimately good news for consumers.”

Chevrolet, Honda and Toyota each receive two segment awards, while FAW Car, Volkswagen and Wuling models each receive one award.

The highest-ranked models by segment in 2010 are: 

  • Compact segment: Chevrolet Spark
  • Premium compact segment: Chevrolet Sail
  • Entry midsize segment: Honda Fit
  • Midsize segment: Volkswagen Golf
  • Lower premium midsize segment: FAW Besturn B70
  • Upper premium midsize segment: Honda Accord
  • Luxury segment: Toyota Crown
  • SUV segment: Toyota RAV4
  • Mini van segment: Wuling Rongguang

The study also finds that the performance gap between domestic and international brands has narrowed slightly from 74 points in 2009 to 68 points in 2010. Improvement among domestic brands averages 17 points, compared with an average of 11 points for international brands. Compared with 2009, domestic brands have improved most notably in the seats, visibility/driving safety and HVAC categories.  

New-vehicle APEAL performance has a strong impact on consumer loyalty and advocacy. The more satisfied owners are with the model they purchased, the more likely they are to recommend it to others and repurchase from the brand in the future. Recommendation and repurchase rates average 51 percent and 28 percent, respectively, among owners with the highest levels of satisfaction (averaging 883 or higher). However, among the least satisfied owners (scores averaging 736 or lower), recommendation and repurchase rates drop to 11 percent and 6 percent.

The 2010 China Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study is based on evaluations from more than 14,600 new-vehicle owners who purchased a new passenger vehicle between October 2009 and June 2010. The study was fielded between April 2010 and August 2010 in 33 major cities across China.

About J.D. Power Asia Pacific
J.D. Power Asia Pacific has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at www.jdpower.com. Media e-mail contact: helen_rong@jdpa.com

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., 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. 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 (NYSE: MHP) is a global information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.  

 

Media Relations Contacts:

John Tews
J.D. Power and Associates
Director, Media Relations
5435 Corporate Drive, Suite 300
Troy , MI 48098
USA
(248) 312-4119
john.tews@jdpa.com

Helen Rong
J.D. Power Commercial Consulting (Shanghai) Co., Ltd.
Director, Marketing Communications
Suite 1601, Shanghai Kerry Center
1515 Nanjing West Road
Jing An District , Shanghai 200040
China
+ 86.21.2208.0832
helen_rong@jdpa.com

 

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

 

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About J.D. Power and Associates:
The Voice of the Customer

J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors across a variety of industries, providing customer satisfaction research, market research, automotive forecasting, social media research, and performance improvement programs. Established in 1968, the company has been listening to consumers and business customers; analyzing their opinions and perceptions; and refining research techniques and study methodologies to offer some of the most advanced product quality, customer satisfaction, and tracking research available today. The company’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.