A look at how consumers perceive todays new cars.
June seems to be the month for automotive awards. Earlier in the month, both AutoPacific and J.D. Power announced their respective vehicle satisfaction and initial quality awards. Yesterday, on the very last day of June, Strategic Vision shared its own findings with its 19th annual Total Quality Index™ (TQI) study.
Tesla Model S
That study, last released in May 2013, recognized the Tesla Model S as the Best Model in Total Quality. Kia received recognition for being one the Best Brands, garnering the non-luxury segment. The TQI found Audi and Jaguar shared top billing among luxury brands.
TQI helps manufacturers and consumers predict the future success of various models and particular brands. In 2007, TQI recognized Hyundai’s fast improving product line, what has largely been confirmed following a series of much higher quality product introductions.
Christopher Chaney, Strategic Vision Senior Vice President explained what TQI means as it gauges how car buyers are influenced, not just by counting problems. He pointed to the Tesla Model S as a model that offers “true innovation” going beyond the expected “overpriced electric breadbox/toaster” by delivering “rocket-like speed and drive feeling.” Said Chaney, “Consumers are powerful, have the Internet and know how to use calculators.” They are also looking to be impressed.
The study is based on Strategic Vision’s quantitative “ValueCentered®” NVES review of 38,361 owners. The results — as outlined in the chart at the end of this article — contain the top ranked vehicles in Total Quality in their respective segments as rated by new vehicle buyers. The TQI looks at both positive and negative product experiences with consumers responding through such values and emotions as: Love-it, Delightful, Excellent, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory, a Failure and Hate-it. Not your typical survey responses, but likely closer to the way people think and feel.
Audi, Jaguar, Kia Excel
Strategic Vision Audi’s “unique exterior styling and interior appointments,” what have produced multiple segment winners including the A5 Coupe, as well as the Q5 and Q7 crossovers. Although Jaguar did not have a segment leader, it had several models that ranked very high and also gave customers something uniquely appealing.
The Kia brand has benefited by offering a pair of segment winners in its Soul small multi-function car and its midsize Optima sedan. These are models that Strategic Vision says are “strong in youthful, cool styling cues and that not only make a strong statement but offer a solid foundation of quality.” Notably, Strategic Vision’s New Vehicle Experience Study (NVES) data has already shown that the recently released Kia K900 is taking some sales away from the luxury brands.
Ford Leads in Five Segments
Several other brands performed quite well including Ford with its five segment winners, more than any other brand. The Ford C-Max finished first among small alternative powertrain cars, the F-150 and F-250/350 pick up trucks nabbed the full-size and heavy duty pickup truck categories respectively, the Flex was first among midsize crossover models and the Expedition was tops for full-size utility vehicles. Lexus, Chevrolet, Honda, Hyundai and Dodge were among brands with at least two segment winners.
The TQI survey comes as consumers witness massive recalls from GM as well as a significant number of recalls from other manufacturers. Automotive sales continue to rise as consumers are carefully using online tools such as survey results and studies to make highly informed purchase decisions.