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J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES STUDY OF OWNER EXPECTATIONS SHOWS ASIANS LEADING THE WAY WITH DOMESTICS MAKING DRAMATIC GAINS

J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES STUDY OF OWNER EXPECTATIONS SHOWS ASIANS
 LEADING THE WAY WITH DOMESTICS MAKING DRAMATIC GAINS
 AGOURA HILLS, Calif., Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- In a study measuring car owner perceptions after three years of ownership, J.D. Power and Associates reports that Asian makes exceeded the industry in three of four major performance measurements. This study shows that meeting owner expectations at three years of ownership correlates strongly to a consumer's intent to repurchase a vehicle of the same make. This 1992 Vehicle Performance Study isolates consumer opinions about the 1988 model year vehicle still owned by original buyers. It is part of J.D. Power and Associates' owner satisfaction continuum which measure satisfaction from vehicle purchase to five years of ownership.
 "J.D. Power and Associates measures three-year-old vehicles with over 40,000 miles of wear and tear, in an effort to understand the dynamics and new dimensions of satisfaction and consumer expectations over time," said J.D. Power III, president and founder. "The 'seasoned' owner has important views as to whether designers, dealers and the car have met expectations."
 When asked why thee-year-old vehicles provide the best perspective, Power commented, "This Vehicle Performance Study of three-year-old cars identifies the precise aspects of performance that are the most important to vehicle and dealer satisfaction and loyalty." Power continued, "At the three-year-mark in the ownership experience, the Asian nameplates clearly make up the leadership group. For 1988 models, they outperform the domestics and Europeans as a group."
 According to J.D. Power and Associates, meeting owner expectations at three years of ownership has been shown to correlate strongly to a consumer's satisfaction with the vehicle and intent to repurchase a vehicle of the same make. The implication is that prior experience with the product and the dealer leads to important decisions about future purchases. The 1992 Vehicle Performance Study, funded in its entirety by J.D. Power and Associates, is a study of "things gone right" and may be used by automotive designers, marketers, product planners and corporate strategists to make improvements to future products and services.
 The analysis is based on responses to an extensive list of 88 different evaluations of vehicle performance. After statistical analysis to determine the most important of these attributes, a weighting system is applied that yields a summarizing index which provides a quick look at how various makes and models perform relative to the competition. To help understand this index, the most important attributes are grouped together in four performance measures: operation, environment, cockpit and packaging.
 Briefly, the four performance measures include a variety of indicators: "operation" highlights the day-to-day workings of the car. Areas such as transmission, engine and radiator/cooling systems are evaluated. "Environment" relates to the car's sensory-related aspects such as temperature control and sound system performance. The "cockpit" measure includes front seat comfort, durability of interior materials and other interior aspects. Finally, "packaging" covers the ratings of the car's interior ergonomics, particularly those which affect front and back seat passenger comfort.
 The study is based on responses from over 20,000 original owners of 1988 model year vehicles. On the model level, Acura Legend outperforms the industry by 52 points on the Vehicle Performance Index. The domestics are led by the Buick Electra and the Europeans by the BMW 7 Series. When looking at top rankers by nameplate, however, two distinctly different makes share the top spot in the Vehicle Performance Index: Acura and Daihatsu. Both makes tie for the "operations" measure, while Acura outscores Daihatsu for "environment" and "cockpit." Daihatsu slightly surpasses Acura for "packaging."
 Only four makes declined in their ranking in the Vehicle Performance Index, and all the makes were European in origin. The nameplate experiencing the greatest gain in this index was Cadillac with a 25 point gain, making it the highest ranked domestic nameplate. On the nameplate level, Mercedes-Benz suffered a drop in the ranking but remained the top European nameplate.
 The Vehicle Performance Study is a "mid-life" look at customer satisfaction at three years ownership. This phase of the ownership experience is ideally suited for measuring performance levels relative to expectations. After three years, most vehicles have been driven about 40,000 miles and wear and tear related to poor design or manufacture may be evident. The study also includes owner evaluations of performance and dealer service at a time when they have a more experienced and objective eye since most manufacturer warranties have expired.
 J.D. Power and Associates is an international marketing information firm with headquarters in Agoura Hills and offices in Detroit, Westport, Conn. and Tokyo. The firm is best known for its marketing information and consulting in the areas of consumer opinion and customer satisfaction.
 J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES
 1992 Vehicle Performance Study
 Best overall model in vehicle performance at 3 years
 Acura Legend
 Best domestic model in vehicle performance at 3 years
 Buick Electra
 Best European model in vehicle performance at 3 years
 BMW 7 Series
 Best overall carline in vehicle performance at 3 years
 Tied: Acura and Daihatsu
 Best domestic carline in vehicle performance at 3 years
 Cadillac
 Best European carline in vehicle performance at 3 years
 Mercedes Benz
 Source: 1992 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Performance Study, 1988 Model Year Vehicles
 -0- 2/18/92
 /CONTACT: Patricia Patano of J.D. Power & Associates, 818-889-6330/ CO: J.D. Power & Associates ST: California IN: AUT SU:


AL -- LA020 -- 0021 02/18/92 14:27 EST
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Date:Feb 18, 1992
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