Fuel Efficiency Is Now the Top Priority among Consumers Buying a New Vehicle in Mexico; More Owners Are Taking Their Vehicle to a Dealership for Service

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Honda Receives Three Model Awards for Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction; Audi and Mazda Receive Two Each

MEXICO CITY: 11 October 2012 — Rising gas prices in Mexico have consumers paying more attention to fuel efficiency when purchasing a new vehicle, according to the J.D. Power de México 2012 Mexico Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction StudySM (VOSS) released today.

Now in its ninth year, the study measures vehicle ownership satisfaction with 2010 and 2011 model-year vehicles. Overall satisfaction is determined by measuring owner experiences in four factors: vehicle quality/reliability; vehicle appeal (satisfaction with the design, style, performance and comfort of the vehicle); dealer service (satisfaction with the dealer service department); and cost of ownership (service, fuel consumption and insurance costs).

The study finds that fuel efficiency is the single-most-important reason new-vehicle buyers chose their vehicle over another model. Fuel efficiency surpasses both safety and interior comfort, the top purchase reasons in 2011. The increased sensitivity to fuel efficiency is driven by a steady increase in gas prices, which now average approximately 10.45 pesos per liter for premium gasoline ($3.10 USD/gallon).1

"With gas prices in Mexico surpassing the threshold of 10 pesos, most consumers are more sensitive to fuel economy and making more practical decisions when buying a vehicle," said Gerardo Gómez, director and country manager at J.D. Power de México. "As gas prices are not expected to decrease in the near future, the primary consideration among many consumers is good fuel efficiency, while considerations such as interior comfort, styling and performance are secondary."

The study finds that 40 percent of owners cite fuel efficiency as the most important reason for purchasing their current vehicle, compared to 37 percent who cite safety.  Economic factors such as purchase price, low maintenance costs and low interest rate financing have also increased in importance to vehicle owners, compared with the 2011 study.

Fuel efficiency is a highly important vehicle purchase decision factor across all of North America and Brazil in 2012. J.D. Power research finds that 47 percent of owners in the United States in 2012 cite fuel efficiency as an important reason for purchasing their current vehicle, an increase from 40 percent from 2011. Fuel efficiency is among the top three most influential purchase factors among new-vehicle owners in Canada and Brazil.

Overall satisfaction with vehicle ownership is 896 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is the same as in 2011. A slight improvement in satisfaction with the dealer service factor is offset by a decline with the cost of ownership factor. Satisfaction with vehicle quality and appeal are comparable to 2011.

Satisfaction among owners of Premium vehicles has improved by 17 points to 947 in 2012, compared with 930 in 2011, which is fueled by a 21-point gain in the dealer service factor. Satisfaction among owners of Non-Premium vehicles declines by 1 point year over year to 895.

The study finds that more owners are taking their vehicle to a dealership for service in 2012 (63% vs. 58% in 2011). Coinciding with this shift, fewer owners are taking their vehicle to a non-dealer service station (27% vs. 30% in 2011).

"With both the economy and service offers from dealers improving, more owners are taking their vehicle back to the dealership for maintenance and repairs," said Gómez.

Overall vehicle quality for the industry improves by 10 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) to average 107 PP100 in 2012--an improvement of 9 percent from 2011. Models in the Premium vehicle segments have fewer reported problems, on average, than do models in the Non-Premium segments (47 PP100 vs. 108 PP100, respectively).

"New-vehicle sales in Mexico are expected to exceed 1 million for the first time since before the economic crisis, and vehicle quality is improving," said Gómez. "High vehicle quality affords a better overall vehicle ownership experience.  At the same time, automakers benefit from lower warranty costs and high owner loyalty."

The study examines new-vehicle models in 11 vehicle segments. The highest-ranking models by segment in the 2012 study are:

Entry Sub-Compact Car: Nissan March
Upper Sub-Compact Car: Honda Fit
Compact Car: Honda Civic
Midsize Car: Mazda 6 (second consecutive year)
Entry Premium Car: Audi A1
Mid Premium Car: Audi A5
Entry SUV: Honda CR-V (second consecutive year)
Midsize SUV: Mazda CX-9 (second consecutive year)
Premium SUV: Acura MDX
Entry Pickup Truck: Toyota Tacoma
Full-Size Pickup Truck: Ford Lobo (second consecutive year)

J.D. Power and Associates offers the following tips to consumers who are considering purchasing a new vehicle:

  • Have realistic expectations about the fuel economy of your vehicle, and remember that the city/highway/combined fuel-economy ranges are merely estimates. Your actual kilometers per liter will vary due to many factors, including driving and weather conditions, driving style, tire inflation and the overall condition of your vehicle.
  • Know the type of fuel your prospective new vehicle requires, including premium unleaded or diesel, and take that into account when budgeting for cost of ownership of the vehicle.
  • Consumer perceptions of vehicle quality and dependability are often based on historical experiences or anecdotes and may be out of line with the current reality. Consumers should gather as much information as they can on the latest models from a variety of sources, such as www.jdpower.com, to make an informed decision.
  • Historically, initial quality has been a good indicator of likely long-term dependability. If a model has high levels of quality when new, it is more likely to be dependable over the long term.
  • Be sure to compare prices at both dealerships and independent repair facilities for all types of maintenance and repair services. Don't assume that dealership prices are higher.
  • Whether going to a dealership or independent garage, schedule your service appointment in advance. Satisfaction is higher among owners who schedule an appointment, compared with among those who drop by the dealership without making an appointment.

The 2012 Mexico Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 5,200 owners of 2010 and 2011 model-year vehicles who purchased their vehicles between October 2009 and September 2011. Respondents were interviewed in seven of Mexico's largest auto markets--Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Queretaro, Puebla,  Veracruz and Merida--and were asked to evaluate their experiences during the first eight to 34 months of ownership. The study was fielded between May and August 2012.

1 Source: Petroleos Mexicanos

About J.D. Power de México

J.D. Power de México conducts customer satisfaction research and provides market intelligence and performance analytics services in the automotive and housing industries. Information regarding J.D. Power de México and its products can be accessed through the Internet at www.jdpowerdemexico.com

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  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

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.

Media Relations Contacts:

Francisco Granados; Cohn & Wolfe México; (55) 53 50 37 00 ext. 4808; francisco.granados@cohnwolfe.com.mx
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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