Posted by Dale Buss on July 25, 2012 02:23 PM
American auto buyers appear to be falling right into the clutches of several auto brands as they switch to smaller new vehicles in response to higher gasoline prices and their need to replace that aging hulk in the garage. Along with better fuel economy, many buyers are gaining amenities, overall better quality and improved functional design than Americans used to get in downsizing their car purchases.
Chevrolet, Kia and Volkswagen are among the leading brand exemplars, as well as beneficiaries, of this trend, according to the conclusions of the annual J.D. Power & Associates APEAL study that was released Wednesday. Each of them has found ways to embody and cater to how Americans are increasingly downsizing with relish, according to the firm's Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout study.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on June 25, 2012 12:57 PM
The good news for the auto industry is that product quality in the traditional sense — fit and finish, the integrity of components, the lack of mechanical problems — is at an all-time high. The bad news is that the industry seems to be botching the transition into a new era in which "quality" largely is being defined by how automakers perform as manufacturers of high-tech connectivity platforms for which consumers have the same (Sirius) expectations of intuitive and smooth use as they do for smartphones.
The latest JD Power report shows that new cars are being made with fewer defects than ever, though tech complaints are on the rise. While consumers perceived fewer overall problems with new cars in JDP's latest annual survey of initial quality, there was an increase in the number of complaints about hands-free in-car connectivity technologies. The problems centered on the now nearly ubiquitous voice-recognition systems that are supposed to help drivers communicate relatively effortlessly with the outside world while curbing distraction.Continue reading...