Perceptions of Auto Brands Improve in India
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Influence Gap Narrows between Highest Scoring and Lowest Scoring Brands
SINGAPORE: 15 SEPTEMBER 2015 —Allautomotive brands post an increase in brand influence score according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2015 India Brand Influence and Positioning StudySM (BIPS)released today.Further, brands that relatively underperformed in 2014 have shown the highest increase in influence.
The study, now in its second year, measures automotive brand influence in India of mass market passenger car brands, based on consumer awareness and perceptions of the brand. Strong brand influence has a positive effect on purchase intent for a particular brand, as brand influence scores correlate highly with brand consideration and purchase rates. The study also segments the market using psychographic, demographic and behavioral attributes to help automakers identify and understand who their best prospects are in the new-car market.
Maruti Suzuki ranks highest in brand influence with a score of 839 (on a 1,000-point scale). Hyundai ranks second (767) and Toyota third (744).
The brand influence gap between the brand with the highest score and the one with the lowest score narrows to 259 points in 2015 from 272 in 2014. All brands with scores below 700 in the 2014 study improve by double-digits in 2015. Mahindra improves the most (+44 points), followed by Renault (+28) and Nissan (+23).
“Consumers are likely to have a more favorable opinion of a brand that has been in the market for several years vs. one that is a recent entrant,” said Mohit Arora, executive director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore. “For a relatively new entrant, the progression of brand influence depends on how a brand engages and builds relationships with its initial base of customers, thereby creating positive word-of-mouth.”
Arora notes that the key to sustained progress in building long-term brand influence is for automakers to identify what appeals most to their target segment and consistently communicate their core message to that segment.
The study also finds a marked difference in the perceived image between owners and non-owners of a brand. In general, owners have a much more favorable opinion of a brand compared with non-owners; however, Maruti Suzuki stands out as one of the few brands where the gap is relatively small. At the other end of the spectrum are brands like Fiat, Nissan and Renault where the image gaps between owners and non-owners are sizeable.
- Datsun (555) and Mitsubishi (580) are among brands with the lowest influence.
- The percentage of customers who indicate they regularly post ratings/reviews for others to view online has increased notably to 55 percent in 2015 from 51 percent in 2014. One-third of car buyers in the Western region of India indicate they regularly post ratings/reviews for others to view online, which is higher than for the other regions.
- The proportion of vehicle owners in India who say they “want to buy a brand that reflects my social status” has increased to 79 percent in 2015 from 71 percent in 2014.
- Proportion of vehicle owners in India who say they “prefer to buy a vehicle made/ assembled locally” has increased to 80 percent in 2015 from 74 percent in 2014.
The 2015 India Brand Influence and Positioning Study is based on interviews with 8,507 car owners who have owned their vehicles from 30 to 42 months and who were asked to compare two vehicle brands. The study was fielded from January through April 2015 across 30 cities in India.
About J.D. Power Asia Pacific
J.D. Power Asia Pacific has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at india.jdpower.com.
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 The comparison excludes Datsun, which is included in the 2015 study but was not included in the 2014 study.