Asia Pacific 2013 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study report

Wednesday 18 December 2013, 11:55 AM by

According to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2013 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) report released on 16th December 2013, customer satisfaction with new vehicle design and performance in India has shown an increase for the sixth consecutive year. This recent study relates owners' satisfaction to 10 performance categories: 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. Also, the study takes a look at qualifying 'how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive' on the basis of owner's evaluations in the first two to six months of vehicle ownership. Interestingly, this study, which is now in its 15th year, reports the overall APEAL performance as an index score that is based on a 1,000 pointer scale. A higher score indicates high satisfaction while a lower score signifies a low customer satisfaction.

The overall APEAL score is around 845 points in 2013, an increment of nine points as compared to 2012. Also, with respect to scoring across all 10 categories, the maximum improvement was seen in the audio/ entertainment/ navigation category. This is due to the fact that more and more vehicles now come with factory- or dealer-installed features like USB connectivity for iPod/MP3 players, hands-free communication and steering wheel-mounted audio controls to ensure an enhanced driving experience. Mohit Arora, executive director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore, reported stated, "Increasingly, vehicle owners want to improve the value of the time spent in their cars, and audio/ entertainment/ navigation features help them stay connected and entertained. Increased choice of branded accessories at a range of prices has also increasingly induced new-vehicle buyers to install such fitments at the time of delivery."

Accordingly to the study during the past five years, auto makers are keen to introduce vehicles with spiced-up exteriors. As a result of this development, the impact of vehicle exteriors on the overall owner satisfaction has seen an increment This is also evident from the fact that 13 percent of owners have indicated that stylish vehicle-body was the main reason behind their purchases. Earlier, in 2012, this percentage value was only 8 percent.

Having just discussed about relevant facts of the study undertaken, it is time now to share key findings of the reports. First and foremost, the quality of vehicles introduced in the market has increased during the last three years. The sensitivity towards vehicle breakdown has increased in India. Furthermore, 87 per cent of customers with overall satisfaction of 902 points or higher revealed that they "definitely would" recommend friends and relatives to go for the same vehicle as owned by them due to a very good experience. Arora, rightly said, "The high recommendation rate among highly satisfied customers further emphasizes the importance of catering to customer needs and requirements. While on one hand auto makers are adding more features to their models, they also need to understand the customer value propositions for these features."

It must be noted that the study works on the sample. With this regard, according to the press release, 'The 2013 India APEAL Study is based on responses from 9,069 owners who purchased a new vehicle between November 2012 and July 2013. The study was fielded between May and September 2013 in 25 cities across India'. Sampling is important as it shows the quantified behaviour as exhibited by a particular segment chosen for a study.

The report also declared model results by segment, which are mentioned below:

Segment Model
Entry Compact Maruti Suzuki Alto 800
Compact Maruti Suzuki Estilo
Upper Compact Maruti Suzuki Ritz
premium compact Maruti Suzuki Swift
MUV/ MPV segment Toyota Innova
SUV segment Toyota Fortuner
Entry Mid-size segment Honda Amaze
Mid-size segment Tie between Hyundai Verna and Volkswagen Vento
Premium Mid-size segment Chevrolet Cruze

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