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3 GM brands among the top 5 in US customer satisfaction survery

General Motors grabbed three of the five highest-scored mainstream brands in the US Customer Service Index Study conducted and released by J.D. Power and Associates. With a score 836 of the 1,000 possible, Buick managed to defend its crown as top mass-market brand. At close second is Mini with 834 points.

Completing the top five are Volkswagen, GMC and Chevrolet. Mike Battaglia, senior director of auto retail, told Automotive News in an interview that recalls were considered as repairs in the study. He noted that while recall visits surged for GM brands, dealers were able to actually manage that volume of recalls very well.

He added that if dealers failed to handle those recalls well, the GM brands “would have had a much more difficult time in CSI this year.” GM recalled 26.9 million vehicles in the United States last year, mostly over faulty ignition switches. The auto industry recalled over 60 million vehicles last year, almost double the previous record.

Read the entire article 3 GM brands among the top 5 in US customer satisfaction survery

General Motors pilots new short customer satisfaction survey

General Motors wants to implement a new strategy for its customer satisfaction survey – keep it short. Two people privy with the program told Automotive News that GM is planning to give dealers online-ready ratings and reviews – in contrast with the current long survey that the carmaker and other auto companies have used for decades.

GM’s short survey is designed to obtain faster, more effective feedback. As early as May, most of the carmaker’s 4,200 dealerships will start sending the shorter surveys -- fewer than 10 questions -- to sales and service customers.

The survey -- for the first time -- will ask respondents to rate their dealership experience one to five stars as well as write a review for online posting. GM’s current survey is separate from the reputation-management poll that dealers use for online reviews.

Read the entire article General Motors pilots new short customer satisfaction survey

Lexus tops J.D. Power’s Dependability survey once again

Lexus is sitting atop J.D. Power's 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study for the third consecutive year. The Japanese luxury brand is followed by Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Acura and Buick. Buick was in the top 10 in 2013, but for this year managed to break into the top 5 along with Cadillac. Toyota, Porsche and Lincoln dropped from the top 5 this year.

Lurking at the bottom 5 of the list are Mini, Dodge, Land Rover, Jeep and Hyundai. J.D. Power's 2014 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study was derived from October-December responses of 41,000 original owners of 2011 vehicles among 31 brands.

It looked at issues and problems experienced during the past 12 months. Dependability is gauged by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles – the lower the score, the higher the quality. Local brands continue to shrink the dependability gap that foreign brands have enjoyed for years.

Read the entire article Lexus tops J.D. Power’s Dependability survey once again

Facebook campaigns influence buyers, says comScore survey

Auto marketing campaigns on Facebook have the ability to influence people to consider the brands or vehicles being pushed while reducing consideration for rival carmakers, a new study by digital analytics company comScore shows. The survey came as car shoppers are spending more time on the Internet seeking their vehicle purchases and less in dealerships.

Kass Dawson, Facebook's head of automotive strategy, highlighted the study during the Automotive News World Congress. According to Dawson, carmakers and dealerships can leverage Facebook to better reach the audiences that matter to them on the social networking site, which boasts of 1.19 billion users. He remarked that marketers can target the exact people who are most likely to respond to their messaging. He noted that there is no “prime time” to reach audiences through digital advertising as prime time all the time.

"It's not just that those people are there, it's the fact we are understanding what it is they're talking about [and] what their interests are [that] ultimately helps us make sure we are putting campaigns in front of the right people so that message is getting across and you're getting your message in front of people that are going to act," remarked Dawson.

Read the entire article Facebook campaigns influence buyers, says comScore survey

Kia Motors Finance and Lincoln Automotive Financial Services were ranked the top lenders among mass market and luxury brands, respectively, according to J.D. Power's 2013 U.S. Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study. Among mass market brands, Kia Motors Finance scored 851 on a 1,000-point scale, closely followed by VW Credit, Hyundai Motor Finance and Ford Credit.

Among luxury brands, Lincoln Automotive Financial Services scored 875, followed by BMW Financial Services.  Lincoln Automotive Financial Services was also the top-ranker in last year’s index.

The study also showed that captive finance companies outranked banks and independent finance companies in the overall rankings, although some of the biggest-volume lenders in the United States weren’t ranked due to small sample sizes. This year’s rankings combined loans and leases but kept luxury and mass-market brands separate.

Read the entire article Kia and Lincoln financial units ranked highest in JD Power survey

A majority of American drivers would support government initiatives targeting at boosting clean diesel vehicle sales in the United States, according to an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Audi of America. The survey was conducted in September 2013 among 2,041 US adults, 1,629 of which said they are regular drivers driving their own personal vehicle at least once a week or more often.

Regarded as the “the other” fuel, clean diesel is fast becoming a viable fuel choice in the US for those seeking improved efficiency and performance. Audi is seeking to take advantage of this growing trend for clean diesel by expanding its TDI clean diesel offerings for the 2014 A8L, A7, A6, Q7 and Q5 models.  Clean diesel powerplants offer up to 30% better fuel economy and 12% to 30% lower carbon dioxide emissions than gasoline engines. However, the public is not so quick to adopting this other fuel.

According to the survey, 65% of American drivers would support lawmakers’ efforts to make diesel more accessible to the public while 66% of US drivers believe the government should offer a tax incentive on clean diesel vehicles. Scott Keogh, President, Audi of America, remarked that the US government has set stringent standards for future fuel economy, noting that clean diesel is perfectly positioned to help the carmaker achieve those goals.

Read the entire article Most US drivers will support govt plan to push clean diesel fuel, Audi survey shows

A brand by GAC Motor scored above average in a recent quality survey by market-research firm JD Power & Associates. GAC Motor, which offerings vehicles under the brand Trumpchi, only logged 97 problems per 100 newly sold vehicles -- better than the average 119 problems per 100 newly sold units.

Trumpchi's score is also better than those of General Motors Co.'s Buick and Chevrolet, Ford, Nissan and Honda. A lower score in the survey points to higher quality, and a score over 100 indicates multiple problems per vehicle. Three more Chinese brands -- Venucia, Roewe and Luxgen -- also logged survey scores of above average. In 2012, no Chinese brands performed better than the industry average.

Venucia is a brand developed by a Chinese joint venture of Nissan for the local market.  Roewe is a brand SAIC Motor Corp started with technologies it acquired British carmaker Rover.

Read the entire article Chinese brand Trumpchi scored above average in JD power quality survey

Mercedes-Benz Retailers have received the fourth spot in the annual J.D. Power Dealer Satisfaction Survey with What Car? Magazine. The survey is based on number criteria like value for money, efficiency of the booking process, overall staff helpfulness, quality of the facilities, and the quality of the work being carried out.

The survey involved over 13,500 interviews with owners of cars covering 27 different brands. At the end of the process, Mercedes-Benz managed to log an improvement in its scores compared to the 2012 survey. What Car? remarked that 2013 is another year of another impressive performance from Mercedes-Benz dealers, who customers said “excelled at making them feel valued and well cared for.”

Sally Jones, Director, Customer Services, Mercedes-Benz Cars, remarked that her team at Mercedes-Benz UK and the whole Retailer Network are proud of the results of the What Car? survey as well as of the dealers have shown in meeting the needs of customers.

Read the entire article Mercedes-Benz dealers are 4th in JD Power satisfaction survey

BMW Financial Services topped the Retail Leasing category of the J.D. Power 2013 Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study SM. BMW Financial Services gained the highest rank among automotive financing providers in the Retail Leasing segment. Ranking was determined by dealer feedback on finance provider offering; application/approval process; and sales representative relationship factors.

BMW Financial Services also ranked second in the Prime Retail Credit category, which was lorded by Alphera Financial Services, a provider of multi-make financing from BMW Group Financial Services.

Ed Robinson, chief executive of BMW Financial Services, Americas Region, remarked that this year’s rating marks the company’s tenth year in a row of recognition by J.D. Power, reflecting their continued goal of premium service. He credited the recognition to the “shared dedication of [their] entire organization,” in cooperation with their dealer network. Robinson remarked that BMW Financial Services is “wholly committed to driving the continued level of excellence” that received the recognition. [source: BMW]

Read the entire article BMW Financial Services tops dealer satisfaction survey

Porsche continues to be regarded by vehicle owners in the United States as the most satisfying 2013 brand, according to the Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study of J.D. Power and Associates. On the hand, the redesigned Land Rover Range Rover sports utility vehicle was regarded by vehicle owners as the most satisfying 2013 nameplate.

Porsche now leads the annual ranking for nine years in a row. The German luxury brand was followed by Audi, BMW and Land Rover. Lexus and Mercedes-Benz were tied for fifth, followed by Cadillac, Jaguar, Lincoln and Infiniti. Lurking at the bottom of the ranking were Smart, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Jeep and Toyota.

Power says the survey was overhauled for 2013 to better measure appeal of new cars and light trucks as well as to better track satisfaction with the latest technology and features. Consumers evaluated new vehicles in 10 key areas across 77 attributes -– including performance, content, design, layout and fuel economy -- after 90 days of ownership, and Power gave scores based on a 1,000-point scale.

Read the entire article Porsche is most satisfying 2013 brand, says J.D. Power survey

Dealers for luxury brands usually are the most effective deal-closers and the best in making customers happy, according to study of car dealership sales techniques by Pied Piper Management Co. Dealers for Mercedes-Benz topped the survey, followed by Infiniti and Lexus. Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Toyota were sitting atop volume brands on the 11-month mystery shopping study.

Pied Piper used 5,203 mystery shoppers to repeatedly visit dealerships to analyze their processes and techniques, with an aim to create its so-called Prospect Satisfaction Index. According to Pied Piper chief executive Fran O'Hagan, their survey is distinct from J.D. Power and Associates' Sales Satisfaction Index since the latter "only measures everything after the customer says, 'I'll take it.'"

He noted that Prospect Satisfaction Index measures "how effectively the sales team sells." A number of sales tactics proved to be working best across all brands. Some of the tactics include offering a test drive and trying to get the customers to the negotiating table. The survey, however, shows that a small percentage of dealerships do neither of those tactics.

Read the entire article Survey: Mercedes-Benz dealers know how to sell their cars

The 2013 JD Power customer satisfaction survey has named Jaguar the best manufacturer in the United Kingdom. The 2013 JD Power customer satisfaction survey entailed the opinion of 16,000 car owners in the UK and covers 116 models between a year and three years old. Owners are asked to rank their vehicles on 66 criteria, which together will result to an overall score.

Points are given for areas that include reliability, performance, service and running costs. Jaguar’s ascent to the peak of the survey was mainly attributed to the scores received by its Jaguar XF model, which was third overall in the entire survey, earning "excellent" rating in every category. Jaguar FX owners praised its reliability, dealership service and servicing and repair work.

Jaguar is closely followed by Japanese carmakers Lexus and Honda. Lexus was rated highly for dealer service and reliability across its range, as the fourth placed overall Lexus RX grabbing the best large sports utility vehicle accolade. The Honda Jazz came in sixth overall, the highest among Honda models. Topping the vehicle standing are the Skoda Superband and Yeti.

Read the entire article Jaguar named best carmaker in the UK in 2013 JD Power survey

Mazda CX-5 SUV crossover is fifth among the best 100 vehicles in the United Kingdom, according to the latest customer satisfaction survey. The Mazda CX-5 placed in the top 50 percent in all categories in the Auto Express Driver Power Survey, considered as the biggest and most comprehensive poll of car owners in the UK, and scored an overall score of 89.63%.

The CX-5 received its highest rankings for in-car technology, ease of driving and ride quality categories. Likewise, the Mazda brand is now the 4th best brand in the UK, according to the survey, jumping from 12th in 2012.

Mazda’s surge to the 4th position is testament to its sixth-generation cars, with the Mazda CX-5 being considered as the best vehicle in the SUV class. The crossover received impressive scores for ‘practicality’ and ‘ease of driving’ categories. The two-seater Mazda MX5 sportscar grabbed a high score for ‘handling’, while the Mazda3 scored impressively in the ‘practicality’ category.

Read the entire article Survey says Mazda CX-5 is 5th among top 100 UK cars

About 69% of Americans talk on their mobile phones while driving, an unsafe distraction that is more common in the U.S. than in Europe, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. U.S. health officials found out that within the last 30 days, 69% committed this dangerous act. The CDC said that in seven countries in Europe, fewer drivers were guilty of this act. It ranged from 59% in Portugal to 21% in the UK. In addition, the study determined that 31% of U.S. drivers either read or sent text messages of e-mails while driving. Using the phone when on the road could be fatal.

Every year, about 3.5 million Americans are seriously injured in car crashes. Of this figure, about 24% involve phones. The latest study from the National Safety Council, an injury prevention nonprofit group based in Itasca, Illinois, puts the emphasis on the ongoing dispute over driver distraction. Automakers are proceeding with plans to give drivers more connectivity to mobile and other infotainment devices, mainly with voice activated and touchscreen interfaces. The World Bank said that the U.S. has either the same number of mobile phones (or lower) for every 100 people as the other countries in the survey.

In a statement, CDC Director Tom Frieden said that driving and dialing or texting “don’t mix.” The other countries that participated in the survey include Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. The country that came closest to the U.S. in distracted driving is Portugal. The report stated that when driving, around 59% of Portuguese drivers talked on their mobile phone at least one time within the last 30 days while 31% texted or sent e-mail messages when behind the wheel.

Read the entire article Survey: 69 percent of Americans talk on their mobile phones while driving

Auto executives are not as optimistic about the prospects of electric cars, according to a recent global survey by accounting firm KPMG. Around 8 percent of the 200 auto executives surveyed said their respective companies would invest on pure battery technologies over the next five years. Carmakers are scaling down their r&d money on pure battery technologies due to weak sales of their electric cars.

They are shifting the money to downsized gasoline engines and hybrids. Auto executives also said in KPMG’s survey that they are becoming more pessimistic on how many years it would take electric cars to offer the greatest potential to become a major player in the market for clean and efficient engines, with majority of them saying that time frame is six to 10 years.

The respondents’ time frame in this year’s survey is significantly longer than in 2012, when they said it would take one to six years. In conclusion, KPMG said that the results show an increasing realization that the electric vehicle is not “quite the savior many had hoped for.”

Read the entire article Optimism for electric car prospects is diminishing, KPMG survey says

Lincoln, Ford Motor Co.’s luxury brand, excelled at the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual survey of the auto industry, receiving a score of 90 on the 100-point index. The latest survey saw Lincoln surpassing last year’s co-leaders: Cadillac, Lexus and Toyota. The results are based on customers’ evaluations of the quality of their vehicles.

Rounding up the top ten vehicle brands of the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s annual survey are Lexus with 89, Buick and Subaru with 87, BMW and Cadillac with 86 and Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen with 85. Customer satisfaction industry-wide equaled the index’s all-time high with an average of 84, up from 83 in 2011 and 82 in 2010.

According to the index’s analysis, although vehicles cost an average of over $30,000, better vehicle quality has improved satisfaction throughout the industry. David VanAmburg, managing director of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, said that in the short term, customers are getting something for a better price, making them a little happier.

Read the entire article Lincoln tops American Customer Satisfaction Index’s 2012 survey

Dealers are more satisfied with the lending services offered by BMW Financial Services than with those provided by Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study. BMW Financial gained the top ranking in both the prime retail credit and retail leasing segments of the study while Mercedes-Benz Financial lorded over the floor-planning category of the study.

According to J.D. Power, dealer satisfaction with automotive lenders improved across all areas. Overall dealer satisfaction with prime retail credit lenders soared 23 index points from the 2011 survey to average 885 (out of 1,000 possible points) this year.

Dealer satisfaction with retail leasing, meanwhile jumped 14 points, to 891. Alphera Financial Services, a sister unit of BMW Financial that arranges loans for non-BMW cars, grabbed the second place in prime retail credit segment, followed by Mercedes-Benz Financial. In the retail leasing segment, Mercedes-Benz financial was No. 2, with Ford Credit sneaking at third place. In the 2011 version of the U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study, Mercedes and BMW tied for first in the prime retail credit segment. Mercedes, however, routed BMW in the retail leasing and floor-planning segments.

Read the entire article BMW Financial grabs two top spots in 2012 JD Power Dealer Survey

With the J.D. Power & Associates' new-model survey coming out today, Ford Motor Co. expects to receive quality scores around the same or slightly better than the grades it received in a similar survey in 2011. Ford admits that software upgrades that may fix glitches in dashboard touchscreens of its vehicles came too late to improve its quality scores in the new-model survey.

 According to Bennie Fowler, Ford's group vice president of global quality, the company sent a software upgrade in March to 377,000 customers with the MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch dashboard controls. But since Power measures quality of new cars from November to February, the upgrades would not be reflected on the survey. Jim Farley, Ford’s global marketing chief, said the software upgrade included faster touch responses, simpler graphics, enhanced voice recognition and improved phone controls.

According to Fowler, the carmaker is expecting dramatic improvement technology quality in the third quarter of 2012, which would surely improve Ford’s quality scores in the new-model survey in 2013.

Read the entire article Touchscreen upgrades came too late to improve JD Power survey, says Ford

Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. are still the top two car companies that were voted as friendliest by suppliers, but their percentage leads over other auto manufacturers have narrowed. The annual survey conducted by Planning Perspectives Inc on supplier relations among the six largest automakers in the United States shows that Toyota’s ratings fell 9.5 percent to 19 percent, good enough to secure the top position. 

Honda’s ratings fell 5.2 percent, but the carmaker was still able to hold onto the runner-up post. Both Japanese car manufacturers have been suffering from ratings drops for five straight years. US automaker Ford Motor also dropped 1.5 percent, but managed to remain at the third spot for the second straight year. Ford is the only non-Japanese automaker that made the top three of the survey since its initiation.

Nissan, another Japanese car manufacturer, is at fourth place. At the bottom of the list are GM at fifth and Chrysler Group at sixth. According to John Henke, Planning Perspectives’ chief executive officer, Chrysler is in last place but the difference between the company, GM and Nissan is not statistically significant. It is to be noted that gains made by GM and Chrysler helped close the gap between the top and bottom companies on the list. According to the survey, all six carmakers are now in the “low adequate range.”

Read the entire article Survey says Toyota, Honda still most loved by suppliers but gap narrows

From a survey made by the National Association of Automobile Dealers, we learned that the most satisfied dealerships are those from Hyundai, Subaru and Lexus. Hyundai took the top spot for the third consecutive survey period while Kia now takes fourth place. Subaru came in at No.2, the fifth straight time that it ended up in the top three.

Lexus got third place, falling from No. 2 on the previous survey. The bi-annual survey measures the satisfaction that franchised new-car dealers experience with their automakers. These results were taken from the survey conducted in the summer of 2011, in July and August.

The overall scores were taken from the 12 core questions that assessed dealer attitude in three key areas -- franchise value; automaker policy decisions that influence the dealership; and automaker field staff who visit the dealership. Other automakers that made the top ten are Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi. The tenth place went to Cadillac and Honda with a tie.

Read the entire article NADA survey says that Hyundai, Subaru and Lexus have the most satisfied dealers