Understanding the Optimal Frequency and Content of Sales Calls Contributes to Improvement in Satisfaction among Light-Duty Truck Owners in Japan

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Hino and Toyota Rank Highest (in a Tie) in Owner Satisfaction with Commercial Light-Duty Trucks

TOKYO: 14 March 2013 Overall satisfaction is higher among light-duty truck owners who receive sales calls from dealer sales representatives at least once a month, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 Japan Light-Duty Truck Ownership Satisfaction StudySM released today.

The study measures overall satisfaction with light-duty truck manufacturers and their authorized dealers among commercial fleet owners, including managers of truck freight companies. Satisfaction is determined by examining four key factors (in order of importance): service (45%), sales (31%), vehicle (13%) and cost (11%). Overall satisfaction scores are calculated based on owner evaluations of 62 attributes.

Following rebuilding demand after the Great East Japan Earthquake, as well as replacement demand following implementation of the Post New Long-Term Regulations of diesel emissions, industry-wide unit sales of light-duty trucks (small four-wheel trucks) from January to October 2012 exceeded the prior-year level. However, while year-over-year unit sales have increased, overall owner satisfaction averages 631 (on a 1,000-point scale) in the 2012 study, which is unchanged from 2011.

The study finds a direct correlation between the frequency of sales calls from sales representatives of truck manufacturers' authorized dealers and increased owner satisfaction. Satisfaction increases among owners who receive sales calls at least once a month exceeds the industry average by 25 points. Furthermore, scores are highest among owners who receive sales calls nearly every week, which is 72 points higher than the industry average. However, overall satisfaction among owners who receive fewer calls--one every two to three months or less than once a month--is lower than industry average.

Satisfaction is higher among owners who receive calls for the purpose of providing useful information, such as after-sales follow-up; providing information on other products and services or industry trends; or proposing operational improvements.
 
"Ultimately, understanding the individual needs of light-duty truck owners is critical to maintaining high levels of satisfaction, but a quantitative increase in sales activity in the form of appropriate sales call frequency and qualitative improvement in the purpose of calls may play a key role in increasing satisfaction," said Taku Kimoto, executive director of the automobile division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo.

The study also finds that the installation of drive recorders, which captures video and driving data before and after driving incidents such as sudden acceleration or deceleration, has continued to increase during the past five years. For the industry overall, 28 percent of fleet owners indicate having installed drive recorders. Among the fleet owners included in the study, more than one-half of the operators of large fleets (31 or more vehicles) have already installed or are considering installing drive recorders. The Japan Trucking Association operates a subsidy program and in 2012 began subsidizing a new type of drive recorder that utilizes a smartphone, which is likely to further spur installation.

"Fleet operators who have already installed drive recorders tend to indicate higher frequency of calls from sales representatives than operators who have not installed recorders, and a higher proportion of these operators report receiving information concerning industry trends," said Kimoto. "Because these devices may have a positive impact on the areas of cost, environmental performance and safety, such as improvements in operation control and safety measures, owners may benefit from continuous efforts to promote installation during routine sales activities."

The study finds that the percentages of owners who say they "definitely will" purchase a vehicle from the same manufacturer again and "definitely will" use after-sales services from the same dealer again increase in direct proportion to overall owner satisfaction. Notably, among owners who are highly satisfied (satisfaction scores above 800), approximately one-half say they "definitely will" purchase and "definitely will" use the same dealer again.

Among the five brands included in the study, Hino and Toyota rank highest, in a tie, with overall satisfaction scores of 645 each. Hino performs particularly well in the sales, vehicle and cost factors, while Toyota performs particularly well in the service factor. Following in the rankings are UD Trucks (633), Isuzu (629) and Mitsubishi Fuso (625).

Now in its sixth year, the 2012 Japan Light-Duty Truck Ownership Satisfaction Study is based on 3,374 responses from 2,190 fleet operators, each of which evaluated up to two manufacturers. The study was fielded between November and December 2012.

The Japan Light-Duty Truck Ownership Satisfaction Study is one of 10 benchmark studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific in Japan. Other studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific include:

•    The Japan Winter Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study
•    The Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which measures satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process
•    The Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS), which measures problems experienced by new-vehicle owners during the first two to nine months of ownership
•    The Japan Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study, which measures overall customer satisfaction with service performed at automotive dealer facilities
•    The Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which measures what excites and delights owners about their new vehicle's performance and design during the first two to nine months of ownership
•    The Japan Original Equipment Tire Satisfaction Index Study, which measures customer satisfaction with original equipment tires equipped on new vehicles
•    The Japan Navigation Systems Customer Satisfaction Index Study, which measures customer satisfaction with original equipment and aftermarket navigation systems
•    The Japan Replacement Tire Satisfaction Study
•    The Japan Heavy-Duty Truck Ownership Satisfaction Study, which measures customer satisfaction with heavy-duty truck manufacturers and their respective local authorized truck dealers

About J.D. Power Asia Pacific

J.D. Power Asia Pacific has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at www.jdpower.com. Media e-mail contact: shizue_hidaka@jdpower.co.jp

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing forecasting, performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. 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

The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP), a financial intelligence and education company, signed an agreement to sell its McGraw-Hill Education business to investment funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management, LLC in November 2012. Following the sale closing, expected in early 2013, the Company will be renamed McGraw Hill Financial (subject to shareholder approval) and will be a powerhouse in benchmarks, content and analytics for the global capital and commodity markets. The Company's leading brands will include: Standard & Poor's, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts, Crisil, J.D. Power and Associates, McGraw-Hill Construction and Aviation Week. The Company will have approximately 17,000 employees in more than 30 countries.  Additional information is available at www.mcgraw-hill.com.

Media Relations Contacts:

Shizue Hidaka; J.D. Power Asia Pacific; Toranomon 45 MT Bldg. 8F; 5-1-5 Toranomon; Minato-ku, Tokyo; Japan 105-0001; Phone +81-3-4550-8090; shizue_hidaka@jdpower.co.jp

John Tews; J.D. Power and Associates; Troy, Mich.; (248) 680-6218; media.relations@jdpa.com

Follow us on Twitter: @JDPower

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate

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Media Contacts

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