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2013 Brazil Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study Results

2013 Brazil Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study Results

By Jeff Youngs, August 08, 2013
For a third consecutive year, Toyota is the highest-ranked auto brand, in terms of owner satisfaction, among new-vehicle owners in Brazil. The just-released J.D. Power 2013 Brazil Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction StudySM (VOSS) also bestows segment awards on two Volkswagen models, and one each from Fiat, Renault, and Toyota.

The 2013 Brazil VOSS is based on the evaluations of 8,387 online interviews with new-vehicle owners in Brazil (the world's fourth-largest automotive market), between 12 and 36 months after purchase. The study was fielded in April, May, and June 2013, and measures owner satisfaction across four factors. In order of importance, they are: ownership costs--including fuel consumption, insurance and maintenance/repair (42%); service satisfaction (23%); vehicle appeal--including performance, design, comfort and features (19%); and vehicle quality/reliability (16%).

In the 2013 study, overall vehicle owner satisfaction in Brazil averages 733 (on a 1,000-point scale). Among all countries in which J.D. Power publishes this study, owners in Brazil place the highest importance on the cost of owning a vehicle. In part, this is due to their spending a larger percentage of their income, compared with most markets, on vehicle service and repairs, fuel, taxes, and insurance. As a result, ownership costs is the factor that shows the lowest satisfaction score among Brazil's vehicle owners.

The relatively low importance that vehicle owners give to vehicle quality/reliability, among the four measures included in the 2013 Brazil VOSS, may be deceiving. Vehicle quality impacts long-term ownership costs, even if the original sticker price is low. The added cost and time spent on service and repair visits to fix low-quality vehicles, along with poor fuel consumption, are among the primary concerns of vehicle owners in Brazil.

Perception to Reality: Domestically Produced Vehicles in Brazil Fall Short in Terms of Quality
On average, new-vehicle owners experience 352 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), or 3.52 problems per vehicle: a much higher number than in other countries where J.D. Power evaluates vehicle ownership satisfaction, including Canada (230 PP100); Germany (230 PP100); and the United Kingdom (204 PP100). Within Brazil, domestically produced vehicles have a higher number of problems (356 PP100) than do vehicles imported from other markets such as Mexico (310 PP100); South Korea (314 PP100); and Argentina (333 PP100).

"Unfortunately, a higher incidence of owner-reported quality problems reinforces the perception that vehicles produced in Brazil are of lower quality," said Jon Sederstrom, director and country manager for J.D. Power do Brasil.

Fuel Consumption a Primary Concern for Brazil Car Owners
Brazil's new-vehicle owners most frequently identify quality problems in the engine/transmission area, which is among the most complex of all vehicle systems. Engine/transmission problems--including excessive fuel consumption, abnormal engine noises, engine hesitation, and engine starting problems--are cited by owners as the most critical problems.

"Although Brazil is among the world leaders in oil and ethanol production, the cost of fuel for consumers is higher than in many other countries with substantial fuel reserves. As a result, fuel consumption is of particular concern among vehicle owners in Brazil," added Sederstrom.

Study Rankings
The 2013 Brazil VOSS includes 73 vehicle models--nearly twice the number of models that were included in the inaugural Brazil VOSS in 2011. Toyota ranks highest among the brands included in the study, with a score of 816, performing particularly well in each of the four study measures. Among individual models, the Toyota Corolla achieves the highest score in the Midsize segment (814) and earns the highest score among all models ranked in the study.

Honda, with a score of 778, is the second-highest scoring brand. Honda performs well in three of the four measures: vehicle quality/reliability; service satisfaction; and ownership costs. Other brands that score above the industry average include three nameplates from Asia, one from Europe, and one from the United States: Hyundai-CAOA (771); Nissan (770); Kia (768); Citroën (739); and Chevrolet (735).

Receiving model-level awards in their segments are the Fiat Palio Fire (Subcompact Car); Renault Logan and Volkswagen Voyage in a tie (Entry Compact Car); Volkswagen Polo (Upper Compact Car); and the Corolla (Midsize Car).

Consumer Tips
Based on the 2013 Brazil VOSS, J.D. Power offers potential new-vehicle owners the following consumer tips:

  • When considering a new car, think about how you'll use it and how long you intend to keep it. Then, compute the probable long-term cost based on gas mileage, maintenance, taxes, and insurance in addition to the sticker price.
  • Consider the dealership from which you buy your vehicle. You'll probably have your car serviced by that dealership at least for the term of your warranty. Does it have a reputation for good service?
  • Leasing a vehicle may be a better choice than buying, if you don't intend to keep it for more than three years or so. If you intend to keep the vehicle for its lifetime, look for makes that are known for their longevity.

Additional Research:

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