Munich: June 24, 2009 --Daihatsu ranks highest among automotive brands in satisfying new-vehicle owners in Germany, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2009 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS)SM released today in cooperation with AUTO TEST.
For the first time since the launch of the study in 2002, Daihatsu ranks highest with a score of 843 on a 1,000-point scale. Daihatsu performs particularly well in two of four key measures: service satisfaction and ownership costs. Rounding out the top five brands are Alfa Romeo and Mercedes-Benz (tied at 835), BMW (834), and Audi and Toyota (tied at 831).
“Providing an exceptional vehicle ownership experience requires an understanding of customer expectations from the purchase process throughout the entire ownership lifecycle,” said Martin Volk, senior research manager at J.D. Power and Associates. “For example, low fuel consumption and maintenance costs are among the most important purchase criteria for Daihatsu owners. High-ranking brands consistently understand the most important needs of their customers and exceed their expectations.”
Mercedes-Benz and Toyota each receive two segment awards. Mercedes-Benz models earning awards are the E-Class (executive/luxury car) and CLK-Class (sports car), while Toyota receives awards for the Aygo (city car) and Corolla (lower medium car). Also receiving segment-level awards are the Daihatsu Sirion (small car), Renault Laguna (upper medium car), Skoda Roomster (MPV) and Nissan Qashqai (SUV).
German automakers perform particularly well in the executive/luxury car and sports car segments. In the executive/luxury car segment, models by Mercedes-Benz and Audi capture the top two rank positions, while Mercedes-Benz and BMW sweep the top three rank positions in the sports car segment.
“The change in awareness towards customer satisfaction seems to have impacted the results of German manufacturers in a positive way, with Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz models performing well,” said Olaf Schilling, chief editor of AUTO TEST. “This is positive news among the negative headlines that have appeared during the past several months.”
The study finds that satisfaction levels and brand loyalty are strongly linked, with more than 74 percent of highly satisfied customers reporting they “definitely will” consider buying the same vehicle make in the future. Conversely, only 30 percent of customers who report having a less-satisfying experience intend to do the same.
“In these challenging times, building on a loyal customer base by providing an excellent ownership experience could help automakers weather the current storm and come out even stronger once the automotive market recovers,” said Volk.
The redesigned 2009 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS) is the successor study to the Germany Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study. The 2009 study is based on more than 16,200 online interviews with German vehicle owners after an average of two years of ownership. The study includes 27 brands and 113 models. Owners provide detailed evaluations of their vehicles and dealers, which cover 67 attributes grouped in four measurements of satisfaction. In order of importance, they are: vehicle appeal (32%), which includes performance, design, comfort and features; vehicle quality and reliability (26%); ownership costs (22%) including fuel consumption, insurance and costs of service/repair; and dealer service satisfaction (20%).
The annual J.D. Power and Associates 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 AUTO TEST, which is on sale Wednesday, June 24, 2009. A summary overview can be found in the June 26, 2009 edition of AUTO BILD.