J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Design, Performance and Dealer Service, Rather Than Quality, Are the Primary Differentiators Among Automotive Brands in Mexico

Chrysler and General Motors Each Receive Two Model Awards for Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction in Mexico

Dec 01, 2010, 11:00 ET from J.D. Power and Associates

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- New-vehicle appeal and dealer service performance are greater differentiators among automotive brands in Mexico than are initial quality or cost of ownership, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 Mexico Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study(SM) released today.

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Now in its seventh year, the study measures new-vehicle ownership satisfaction with 2008 and 2009 model-year vehicles in Mexico. Overall satisfaction is determined by measuring customer experiences in four factors: vehicle quality and reliability; vehicle appeal (satisfaction with the design, style, performance and comfort of the vehicle); dealership service (satisfaction with the dealer service department); and ownership costs (service, fuel consumption and insurance costs).

The study finds that differences between automotive brands are relatively small in the quality and reliability and ownership costs factors, but greater in vehicle appeal and dealership service. The gap between the highest-performing and lowest-performing models averages 59 points on a 1,000-point scale for vehicle quality and reliability and 64 points for ownership costs. In comparison, these differences are 78 points in the vehicle appeal factor and 80 points in the dealership service factor.

"It appears as though automakers, as a whole, are focusing on satisfaction in just one or two aspects of the ownership experience, which means there is ample opportunity for differentiation in areas where there is demonstrated weakness," said Richard Cooper, vice president of Canada and Latin America operations at J.D. Power and Associates.

According to Cooper, light-vehicle sales in Mexico are showing signs of recovery, but the industry is still far from achieving the peak sales recorded between 2005 and 2006, when sales reached approximately 1.1 million units annually. As sales continue to increase, competition in the market is expected to intensify as new models enter the market and automakers improve new-vehicle design, quality and dealership service.  

The study examines new-vehicle models according to vehicle segment. The number of automotive brands that receive awards has increased to 11 in 2010 from seven in 2009. The highest-ranking models by segment are:

Entry Sub-Compact Car: Chevrolet Chevy and Suzuki Swift (tie)

Upper Sub-Compact Car: Peugeot 207

Compact Car: Mazda 3 (for a second consecutive year)

Midsize Car: Dodge Charger

Entry Premium Car: Mercedes-Benz C-Class (for a fourth consecutive year)

Entry SUV: Jeep Compass

Midsize SUV:  Honda Pilot

Entry Pickup Truck: Toyota Tacoma

Full-Size Pickup Truck: GMC Sierra

Premium SUV:  Lincoln Mark LT

The study also finds a strong relationship among each of the four components of ownership satisfaction and the likelihood that a customer will consider the same brand of vehicle when making a future purchase decision. For example, 80 percent of owners who are delighted with their experience of the vehicle's quality and reliability (providing ratings of 10 on a 10-point scale) say they "definitely will" purchase the same brand in the future. However, among less-satisfied customers (providing ratings of eight or nine), only 54 percent say the same.

"While the fundamentals of having appealing and high-quality products will remain vital, manufacturers that can take a longer-term view of the customer experience are likely to be the most successful," said Cooper. "Seemingly minor differences in satisfaction in individual factors may increase the risk that the customer will switch to a different brand in the future, causing the manufacturer to expend resources to 'conquest' new customers—a much more expensive proposition than maintaining a satisfied customer. Both manufacturers and dealerships play vital roles in this effort. Customer retention, both in terms of brand loyalty and service loyalty, must become priorities to sustain dealerships and avoid the high cost of continually having to conquest new customers."

The 2010 Mexico Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study includes responses from 6,578 owners of 2008 and 2009 model-year vehicles who purchased their vehicles between January 2008 and June 2009. Respondents were interviewed in seven of Mexico's largest auto markets— Guadalajara, Hermosillo, Mexico City, Monterrey, Puebla, Querétaro and Veracruz—and were asked to evaluate their experiences during the first 12 to 30 months of ownership. The study was fielded between June and October 2010.

Top Three Models per Segment

Entry Sub-Compact Car*

Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Chevy (tie); Suzuki Swift (tie)

Upper Sub-Compact Car

Highest Ranked: Peugeot 207

Seat Cordoba (tie)

Volkswagen Gol (tie)

Compact Car

Highest Ranked: Mazda 3

MINI Cooper

Nissan Sentra

Midsize Car

Highest Ranked: Dodge Charger

Dodge Avenger

Mazda 6

Entry Premium Car*

Highest Ranked: Mercedes-Benz C-Class

BMW 3 Series

Entry SUV

Highest Ranked: Jeep Compass

Ford Escape (tie)

Mazda CX7 (tie)

Midsize SUV

Highest Ranked: Honda Pilot

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Ford Edge

Premium SUV*

Highest Ranked: Lincoln Mark LT


Entry Pickup Truck

Highest Ranked: Toyota Tacoma

Ram Dakota

Chevrolet Colorado

Full-Size Pickup Truck

Highest Ranked: GMC Sierra

Ford Lobo

Chevrolet Silverado

NOTE: There must be at least four models with sufficient sample in any given award segment for an award to be presented. In 2010, there are fewer than four models each in the large SUV and minivan segments. Therefore, no large SUV or minivan awards are presented.

*No other model in this segment performs above the segment average.

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. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. 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/.  

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Syvetril Perryman; Westlake Village, Calif.; (805) 418-8103; media.relations@jdpa.com

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SOURCE J.D. Power and Associates