Safety, Connectivity Features Increase New-Vehicle Appeal, as per J.D. Power 2016 India APEAL Study

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Hyundai Receives Five Segment-Level Awards; Honda Secures Three

The proliferation of safety features such as anti-lock braking system and airbags and technology features such as hands-free connectivity are helping to boost the overall appeal of new vehicles in India, according to the J.D. Power 2016 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study,SM released today.

Overall APEAL averages 862 points (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2016, up from 846 in 2015. The increase in APEAL is attributed in part to a greater share of new vehicles being equipped with safety and technology features. Among safety features, half of new vehicles in 2016 are equipped with driver and passenger airbags, up from 38% in 2015. The average APEAL score for vehicles equipped with airbags is 11 points higher than it is for vehicles without them. Vehicles with anti-lock braking systems—now available in half of all new vehicles and more than a third of vehicles in the small car segments—have an APEAL score of 871 points, compared to 854 points for vehicles without them.

Fitting vehicles with technology features like hands-free connectivity, which has increased by 8 percentage points from 2015, also boosts APEAL scores. Vehicles with hands-free connectivity average an APEAL score that is 5 points higher than vehicles without the technology.

“One of the areas automakers are focusing on is enhancing safety and technology features in their vehicles as a way to differentiate themselves from others,” said Mohit Arora, executive director at J.D. Power. “In the past, these features were available only in vehicles of larger body types or in vehicles at the upper end of the price spectrum. Today, these features are commonly available in most vehicles, including those in the small car segments, providing new-car buyers, especially first-time buyers, with more value for their money.”

More key findings of the study include:

  • APEAL Affects Advocacy and Loyalty: Among owners of vehicles with average or above APEAL scores (862 or higher), 83% say they “definitely would” recommend their purchased model and 66% “definitely would” repurchase the same make. In contrast, among owners of vehicles with below-average APEAL scores (861 or lower), 64% say they “definitely would” recommend their vehicle model and 47% “definitely would” repurchase the same brand.
  • Vehicle Interiors Become Quieter: There has been improvement in overall vehicle interior noise. The proportion of customers who are delighted (providing a rating of 10 on a 10-point scale) with the overall interior quietness of their new vehicle increases to 23% in 2016 from 19% in 2013. The average APEAL score among these delighted customers is more than 300 points higher than among those who are disappointed (providing a rating of 1 through 4) with overall interior quietness.

“In addition to boosting vehicle appeal by providing more features, manufacturers also need to find ways to continue to improve the driving experience by reducing unwanted noise, vibration and harshness issues,” said Shantanu Nandi Majumdar, director at J.D. Power. “Reducing noise is likely to improve brand image and enable manufacturers to distinguish themselves from competition.”

Study Rankings

Hyundai receives five of the eight segment-level APEAL awards: Eon (entry compact car); i10 (compact car); Grand i10 (upper compact car); Elite i20/ Active (premium compact car, in a tie with the Honda Jazz); and Creta (SUV, in a tie with the Mahindra Scorpio).

Honda receives three awards: Jazz (premium compact car, in a tie with the Hyundai Elite i20/ Active); Amaze (entry midsize car); and City (midsize car, in a tie with the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz).

Maruti Suzuki receives an award in the midsize segment for the Ciaz, which ties with the Honda City. Toyota receives an award in the MUV/ MPV for the Innova, while Mahindra receives an award in the SUV segment for the Scorpio, which ties with the Hyundai Creta.

Hyundai’s Eon, i10 and Creta; Honda’s Amaze and City; and Toyota’s Innova also rank highest in their respective segments in the J.D. Power 2016 India Initial Quality StudySM (IQS).

About the Study

The India APEAL Study, now in its 18th year, 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.

The 2016 India APEAL Study is based on responses from 8,323 owners who purchased a new vehicle from November 2015 through July 2016. The study was fielded from May through September 2016 in 30 cities across India.