Vehicle styling gaining importance for new car buyers in India: J.D. Power study
Findings of the J.D. Power 2015 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study showed that exterior styling is gaining importance in vehicle appeal, positively impacting customer satisfaction in India.
According to the study, importance of vehicle exterior has increased in the small car, midsize and utility vehicle super segments and is among the top three categories driving the overall APEAL score. Increasingly, buyers of new models cite attractive vehicle styling as the most influential reason for purchase compared with buyers of carry-over models. In addition to attractive styling, newer models differentiate themselves from carry-over models by providing more features such as alloy wheels, steering wheel-mounted controls, hands-free communication, reverse parking assist, anti-lock braking system and dual airbags.
“New-vehicle buyers in India have a much wider range of vehicles to choose from than in the past. Automakers launch several models across segments each year, refining exterior styling and offering more safety, security and convenience features to keep customers engaged and excited,” said Mohit Arora, executive director at J.D. Power, Singapore.
Models launched during the past year have higher APEAL scores than carry-over models. In 2015, satisfaction with newly launched models averages 857, compared with 845 for carry-over models in 2014. Carry-over models are purchased by a higher proportion of first-time buyers, compared with newly launched models (53 per cent vs 44 per cent, respectively).
The India APEAL Study, now in its 17th year, serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle appeal. The study measures how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive based on owner evaluations during the first two to six months of ownership. Overall APEAL performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction. The overall APEAL score averages 846 in 2015, down 8 points from 2014.