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2013 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study Results

2013 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study Results

By Jeff Youngs, June 30, 2013
Volvo ranks highest in vehicle ownership satisfaction among the 25 vehicle brands included in the J.D. Power 2013 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction StudySM (VOSS) released this week in association with AUTO TEST.

The 2013 Germany VOSS examines owner satisfaction with one- to three-year-old vehicles, based on evaluations of four key measures that comprise the overall ownership experience (in order of importance): vehicle appeal (27%), which includes performance, design, comfort and features; ownership costs (25%), which includes fuel consumption, insurance and costs of service/repair; vehicle quality and reliability (24%); and service satisfaction (23%).

Volvo ranks highest with a score of 832 points, on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in vehicle quality and reliability, and vehicle appeal. Toyota (816) follows Volvo in the rankings and performs particularly well in vehicle ownership costs and vehicle service. Rounding out the highest-ranked brands are Mercedes-Benz (810), Mazda (808), and Mitsubishi (807).

The study finds that the five highest-ranked automotive brands in Germany benefit from higher loyalty and recommendation rates than those of their competitors. Some 44% of owners of these top five brands say they "definitely will" purchase the same brand again, while just 30% of owners of brands with satisfaction scores below the study average say they "definitely will" repurchase.

Similarly, 52% of owners of vehicles from among the five highest-ranked brands say they "definitely will" recommend their brand, while only 39% of owners of brands with below-study-average scores say they "definitely will" recommend. While 45% of owners of vehicles from brands with high satisfaction scores say they "definitely will" recommend their service dealer, only 36% of owners of vehicles that scored below the study average say the same.

"Owners of premium brands are more concerned about abstract concepts of ownership--such as safety, quality of workmanship, image, comfort and styling--compared with volume-brand owners, who are more concerned with the practical elements of ownership such as getting a good deal or buying a new vehicle with low fuel consumption," said Mark Lendrich, senior research manager at J.D. Power Europe.

The study finds that among volume brands (which represent 46% of the brands surveyed), fuel consumption is the third-most-frequently cited consideration when purchasing a new vehicle, but is the 11th most frequently reported problem for buyers of premium brands (which represent 33% of the brands surveyed).

In the 2013 study, three models of the mass-market brand Toyota achieve the highest scores in three of eight award segments. The Aygo ranks highest in the City Car segment; the Yaris ranks highest in the Small Car segment; and the Prius ranks highest in the Compact segment and is the highest-scoring model in the study. The Volkswagen Passat CC ranks highest in the Mid-size segment.

Other models ranking highest in their respective segments include the Honda CR-V (Compact SUV); Opel Meriva (Small MPV); Seat Altea (MPV); and Volvo V70/XC70 (Large/Luxury).

Vehicle owners indicate they spend more for basic services (such as oil changes and scheduled maintenance) at authorized dealers than at other service facilities. In contrast, owners indicate they spend less on repairs at dealerships than they do at other service facilities.

"When owners elect to bring their vehicle to an authorized dealership, it is an opportunity for dealerships to maintain and build exclusive relationships with their service customers," said Lendrich. "This may help them avoid losing service customers and retain owner brand loyalty."

Majority of Car Shoppers in Germany Use the Internet in their Search
Currently, more than 80% of Germany's population is connected to the Internet, according to German government estimates from J.D. Power research. The 2013 Germany VOSS results indicate that 70% of vehicle owners used the Web to shop for a new vehicle in 2013. Premium-brand owners (73%) use the Internet slightly more often than volume-brand owners (69%).

Nearly one-fifth (18%) of premium-brand owners say that they used an app (software application or program downloaded on a mobile device, such as a smartphone) to shop for their vehicles. Among owners of new vehicles, 22% say that they used a smartphone, and 14% used a tablet to research new vehicles.

Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following consumer tips:
  • Determine your priorities in selecting a vehicle. Are you looking primarily for performance? Reliability? Fuel efficiency? Appearance? Off-road capabilities? Make a "wish list" and divide that list into "must have," "want to have," and "would not mind having."
  • Pay attention to the brand's and the dealer's warranties and service agreements. In addition to getting the vehicle you want, you should also get the level of service you want.
  • If price is a consideration, it's usually better to buy the highest-quality model and brand you can afford rather than a cheaper model and brand with all the options.
  • Use the Web to research various vehicle brands before you start visiting showrooms. This will allow you to focus on the brands that interest you the most.

About the Study
The 2013 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study is based on 17,937 online evaluations by vehicle owners in Germany whose vehicles were originally registered new between January 2010 and December 2011. The survey was fielded in Germany in January through March 2013.

Additional Research:

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