J.D. Power Study Finds Shift In Customers’ Priorities From Functionality To Form

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According to the J.D. Power 2019 India Sales Satisfaction Index (Mass Market) Study, vehicle buyers in India are evolving in terms of what drives them to purchase a new vehicle. The study has found that buyers now place more emphasis on vehicle styling, both exterior and interior when deciding on a car. Other aspects such as performance and reliability, as well as technology, also play bigger roles in determining the choice of vehicle. On the other hand, aspects declining in importance are the price of the vehicle/monthly instalments and the ability to obtain financing.

Hyundai SANTRO – Rear

Customers with a monthly household income exceeding ₹75,000 accounts for 33% of all buyers in 2019, which is a marked increase from 18% in 2017. Consequently, customers are now able to cover the cost of a car with fewer months of income than before (15 months in 2019 vs. 18 months in 2017).

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According to Kaustav Roy, Director and Country Head for India, J.D. Power, the Indian car buyer of today is far more discerning than ever before. He says that with clear expectations on vehicle design and features, today’s buyer preferences are shifting from price consciousness to those that are driven by vehicle looks and content. Following are additional key findings of the 2019 study:

  • Prices on the rise, more so for small cars: Customers indicate that purchase price has been increasing over the past three years, with prices 5% higher than 2018 and 11% higher than 2017. This increase is most evident in the small car segment (9% higher than 2017) and relatively less so in the SUV segment (3% higher than 2017).

Maruti Suzuki Baleno front quarter

  • Fewer buyers experience sales pressure: A smaller proportion of customers indicate problems such as dealers being “pushy” while selling the vehicle (15% in 2019 vs. 22% in 2018); attempting to change promised prices (11% vs. 17%); or difficulty getting a “straight answer” on price (14% vs. 18%).

Mahindra World of SUVs XUV300

  • Faster and smoother delivery: The time between booking a new vehicle to actual delivery has dropped to 10 days from 12 days in 2018. More vehicles are also being delivered without problems (92% vs. 83% in 2018) such as unwashed vehicles, scratches and dents, missing features and more.

Study Rankings

Hyundai ranks highest in overall sales satisfaction with a score of 873. Mahindra (872) ranks second and Toyota (854) ranks third. Overall sales satisfaction for the mass market segment is 846 (on a 1,000-point scale), an increase of 4 points from 2018. The J.D. Power 2019 India Sales Satisfaction Index (Mass Market) StudySM is based on responses from 6,583 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between September 2018 and June 2019. The study was fielded from March through September 2019.

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