Friday, December 23, 2005

Thai Drivers Increasingly Interest in Vehicle Comfort and Convenience

J.D. Power Asia Pacific Reports:
Comfort and Convenience Increasingly Impact Overall Customer Satisfaction with New Vehicles in Thailand

Honda City and Toyota Corolla Altis Rank Highest in Customer APEAL in Their Respective Segments, While Toyota Hilux Vigo Leads All Three Pickup Segments

SINGAPORE: 22 December 2005 — New-vehicle comfort and convenience increasingly impact overall ownership satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2005 Thailand Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM released today.

The annual study, now in its third year, measures owner delight with the design, features, layout and performance of their new vehicles. Eight performance categories contribute to overall APEAL scores: engine/ transmission; cockpit/ instrument panel; ride/ handling/ braking; heating/ ventilation/ cooling (HVAC); comfort/ convenience; sound system; seats; and vehicle styling/ exterior.

While new-vehicle buyers continue to see vehicle styling/ exterior and engine/ transmission performance as most vital to their overall assessment of vehicle APEAL, the study also finds customers are increasingly differentiating based on comfort and convenience.

"It has become increasingly necessary for vehicles to offer high levels of comfort and convenience in order for brands and models to distinguish themselves in the highly competitive market," said Steven Kaiser, senior country manager at J.D. Power Asia Pacific. "This is reflected in the performances of all five segment-leading models. Each also achieves best-in-segment scores for new-vehicle comfort and convenience."

Honda City receives 843 index points on a 1,000-point scale to rank highest in the entry midsize car segment for a second consecutive year. The City leads the segment on cockpit/ instrument panel, comfort/ convenience, and seats. The City is followed by Honda Jazz (840) and Toyota Vios (836), respectively.

Toyota Corolla Altis ranks highest in the midsize car segment with 868 points, a function of its segment-leading performance in five of eight APEAL categories. Chevrolet Optra (862) follows the Corolla Altis, leading the segment in ride/ handling/ braking, seats and vehicle styling/ exterior. Nissan Sunny Neo (854) rounds out the top three models in the segment.

Toyota Hilux Vigo sweeps all pickup segment rankings: single cab, extended cab and double cab. Each Hilux Vigo model also receives segment-leading evaluations in engine/ transmission, cockpit/ instrument panel and comfort/ convenience.

In the single cab pickup segment, Toyota Hilux Vigo (861) receives the segment’s highest scores in four of eight APEAL categories. Nissan Frontier (855) and Isuzu D-Max Spark (835), respectively, follow the Hilux Vigo.

In the extended cab segment, which is the largest pickup segment in terms of number of models and sales, Toyota Hilux Vigo (882) receives the highest ratings in five of eight APEAL categories. The Hilux Vigo is followed by Isuzu D-Max Hi-Lander (880) and Ford Ranger (868), respectively.

Among double cab pickups, Toyota Hilux Vigo (869) receives segment-leading ratings in seven of eight APEAL categories. Following in the double cab rankings are two Isuzu pickups: D-Max Cab-4 (858) and D-Max Hi-Lander (855), respectively.

The study finds a strong relationship between vehicle APEAL and customer loyalty. Among customers who give their vehicles APEAL ratings above the industry average, almost one-half say they definitely would purchase another vehicle of the same make. This number falls to less than three in 10 among those who rate their vehicles below the industry average.

The 2005 Thailand Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM is based on evaluations from 3,233 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between January and July 2005. The 2005 study includes 41 different passenger car, pickup truck and utility vehicle models covering 10 different makes.

No comments: