Entertainment and Navigation Features Increasingly Drive Overall Vehicle Appeal, J.D. Power Finds
Across all vehicle segments, car buyers in India are increasingly considering interior and exterior styling and vehicle performance when purchasing their new vehicle, according to the J.D. Power 2017 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) StudySM.
“Although fuel economy continues to be a key driver of overall appeal in India, new-vehicle buyers are increasingly opting for added features that enhance convenience and safety,” said Shantanu Nandi Majumdar, Director at J.D. Power. “While fuel economy is likely to remain a key reason for purchase, with increasing disposable income, some consumers may be willing to trade-off fuel economy for added performance, convenience and safety features. Manufacturers that are able to differentiate their products on these key attributes are likely to have a stronger brand connection with consumers in this market.”
Buyers in the small car segment, which still accounts for half of all new-vehicle sales, are increasingly regarding the audio/ entertainment / navigation category as a key determinant of vehicle appeal, which has a weight of 11% in the overall APEAL Index. This is also the case for the utility vehicle segment, where audio/ entertainment/ navigation has been gaining relevance over the past five years and is among the top five weighted APEAL categories.
“Increasing adoption of navigation and safety-related features in vehicles are indicative of growing consumer interest in connected car technologies and autonomous vehicles,” said Majumdar. “This is likely to lead the way for these technologies to be embedded into future vehicle design.”
Following are some of the key findings of the study:
- Vehicles purchased by Upgraders have higher APEAL: Vehicles that have been purchased as an upgrade to a previously owned vehicle have an average APEAL score of 880 points (on a 1,000-point scale), which is 14 points higher than the overall industry average. Among the reasons for purchasing such a vehicle, more upgraders cite exterior design (57%), interior style and comfort (59%) and quality of workmanship (36%), compared with non-upgraders.
- Safety-related feature fitment rates increase: Airbag and anti-lock braking system (ABS) fitment rates have increased by 12 percentage points and 7 percentage points, respectively, from 2016. Consumer demand for these features has been one of the reasons for this growth. In 2017, 63% of all new vehicles sold have driver and front passenger airbags, while 57% have ABS. With airbags and ABS fitted into one of every two small cars sold, the rate of growth has been steepest in the small car segment.
- Navigation systems are gaining relevance: Seventeen percent of all new vehicles are equipped with a navigation system, up by 9 percentage points from last year. The proportion of utility vehicles that are fitted with navigation systems has doubled (27% in 2017 vs. 12% in 2016), with nearly half of all new-launched utility vehicles now having this as a standard feature. Moreover, there is a high consumer interest in navigation systems as 80% of all new car buyers say they “definitely would” want this feature on their next vehicle.
Hyundai receives three of the eight segment-level APEAL awards. The Hyundai Eon (845) ranks highest in the entry compact segment; Hyundai Grand i10 (880) ranks highest in the upper compact segment; and Hyundai Elite i20/ Active (883) ranks highest in the premium compact segment.
Honda receives awards in two segments: Honda Amaze (883) ranks highest in the entry midsize segment; and Honda City (887) ranks highest in the midsize segment.
Maruti Suzuki Celerio (865) ranks highest in the compact segment.
Toyota receives an award for Toyota Innova Crysta (890), whichranks highest in the MUV/ MPV segment.
Mahindra XUV 500 (889)ranks highest in the SUV segment.
The 2017 India Automotive Performance Executive and Layout (APEAL) Study is based on responses from 8,571 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from November 2016 through July 2017. The study includes 83 models from 17 makes. The study was fielded from May through September 2017 in 40 cities across India.
The study serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle appeal. The APEAL Study, which examines how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, is used extensively by manufacturers worldwide to help them design and develop more appealing vehicles and by consumers to help them in their purchase decisions. The study measures satisfaction across 10 performance categories: vehicle exterior; vehicle interior; storage and space; audio/ entertainment/ navigation; seats; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC); driving dynamics; engine/ transmission; visibility and driving safety; and fuel economy.