J.D.Power Asia Pacific, the name known for their customer satisfaction research and providing performance analytics services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries has just come up with the results of their 2012 India Initial Quality Survey.
Surprisingly, even though the technologies have improved, the incidence of initial quality problems reported by new vehicle owners have increased in 2012 over 2011, possibly one of the offshoots of the cost cutting measures adopted by car makers to retain or improve profit margins. Car makers undertake all sorts of efforts to reduce their operating costs, hence compromising on quality and many a times safety!
On the contrary, the problems related to fuel efficiency of the vehicles have reduced over the past five years, much to the relief of the Kitna deti hai Indian buyer. They have been reduced by over 23 percent.
The study, in its 16th year, has been providing a benchmark for quality for some time now. It measures problems owners experience with their new vehicle during the first two to six months of ownership and examines more than 200 problem symptoms covering eight vehicle categories (listed in order of frequency of reported problems): engine and transmission; vehicle exterior; driving experience; HVAC; features, controls and displays; vehicle interior; seats; and audio, entertainment and navigation.
All problems are summarized as the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Lower PP100 scores indicate a lower rate of problem incidence and higher initial quality. This year around, the PP100 is 120 which is an increase from last year’s 119.
Conning (or lack of knowledge) is what the salesmen are known for and this shows in the study as well. Over 67 percent people reported that the their cars were not as fuel efficient as it was claimed when they were buying their vehicles.
The 2012 India Initial Quality Study (IQS) is based on evaluations from 8,688 owners who purchased a new vehicle between November 2011 and July 2012. The study includes 94 vehicle models from 16 makes. The study was fielded from May to September 2012 in 25 cities across India.
Coming to the segment winners, Honda City for the 10th time in a row won the prize in the midsize segment and the Brio topped in the Premium Compact Car segment. Toyota Fortuner was the car in the SUV segment with the Best quality and its fortune changer Innova was the clear winner in MUV segment for 6th year in a row. While the Swift Dzire topped the entry midsize segment, Hyundai’s old workhorse Santro topped the charts in the Compact Car segment.
We Indians would rather compromise on a wiper blade or lower quality plastics but won’t compromise on our fuel efficiencies. And that is precisely what companies are doing, making fuel efficient cars and leaving quality, well, to be compromised a bit. It’s the kitna deti hai is what is taking precedence.
On secondary thoughts, is the government’s modified excise duty policy which promotes smaller (in length and engine size) cars paying off?