Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Wednesday, Jul 03, 2002
Industry & Economy
Marketing - Marketing Research
HM-Mitsubishi tops J.D. Power honours
MUMBAI, July 2
HM-MITSUBISHI has topped the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2002 India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, the results of which were released today.
Ford and Toyota Kirloskar follow HM-Mitsubishi in the rankings, with both makes recording improvements on a majority of the factors which comprise overall satisfaction.
Toyota-Kirloskar is the most improved make, posting gains of seven index points over its 2001 results, an official statement said.
The study, now in its third year, determined customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales and delivery process in India, based on six factors (in their order of importance): Sales experience, explanation at delivery, price evaluation, delivery timing, salesperson knowledge and post-delivery contact.
"Compared to the 2001 study, the majority of makes covered in the 2002 study record a decline in sales experience, which is the factor providing the greatest contribution to overall sales satisfaction. HM-Mitsubishi's top ranking is due primarily to its ability to maintain performance on this crucial factor; it also recorded significant improvement on four out of the remaining five factors,'' Mr Rajeev Lochan, Country Manager, J.D. Power Asia Pacific, has said.
Further on Toyota Kirloskar's performance, he noted, "Toyota's quick turnaround in sales satisfaction is impressive given its marginal performance in our 2000 SSI Study, which was when Qualis was launched in India. Toyota has recorded continuous improvement on four of the six factors since 2000, including a 20-point gain for the highly important sales experience.''
According to the J.D. Power statement, one of the important findings from the 2002 study is the impact of intermediaries in sales satisfaction.
The study showed that 79 per cent of buyers first contacted an authorised dealer at the time of their new-vehicle purchase.
The remaining 21 per cent first contacted an intermediary such as an auto finance company, direct selling agent or any other agent working on behalf of the dealer. These buyers provide much lower ratings across all factors compared with customers who first contacted an authorised dealer. The largest gap between these two customer groups is on delivery timing, followed by price evaluation.
"We find that these two customer groups cite different reasons for purchase. The enticement of a lower price and better financing options definitely motivate these buyers to first contact an intermediary,'' said Mr Lochan.
"While the perception of getting a better deal drives the purchase decision for these buyers, post-purchase satisfaction with price is significantly higher among customers who first contact an authorised dealer,'' he added.
The 2002 India Sales Satisfaction Study is based on evaluations from 3,395 new-car buyers at one to six months of ownership and includes customers who purchased their vehicles between September 2001 and April 2002.
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