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TNS Automotive: Customer satisfaction high in car industry despite high growth

The 2010 four-wheeler Total Customer Satisfaction (TCS) study conducted by TNS specialist division, TNS Automotive, is the largest syndicated automotive study in India, representing the responses of around 9,300 new car buyers.

February 24, 2011 2:43 IST | India Infoline News Service

According to the findings of the 2010 four-wheeler total customer satisfaction study released today by leading market information provider, TNS, the car industry continued to provide a high level of customer satisfaction even when the customers had to wait to buy cars of their choice. The SUV/MPV and Premium SUV segments even showed a little improvement over the previous year.


The 2010 four-wheeler Total Customer Satisfaction (TCS) study conducted by TNS specialist division, TNS Automotive, is the largest syndicated automotive study in India, representing the responses of around 9,300 new car buyers. This comprehensive study covers 56 models with customer evaluations taken in the key areas of sales satisfaction, product quality, vehicle performance and design, after sales service, brand image, and cost-of-ownership. The TCS index score provides a measure of Total Satisfaction and loyalty a given model enjoys with its customers.


According to Pradeep Saxena, Executive Director, TNS Automotive, “In a year of high growth and long queues at the automotive dealerships the auto manufacturers maintained their poise and managed their processes to keep their customers satisfied”. In the year 2010 car sales grew by almost 30%. Popular models such as Swift, Swift Dzire, Hyundai i 20, Volkswagen Polo and Toyota Fortuner had long waiting lists. “It was a challenge for the manufacturers to not only retain their waitlisted customers but to also keep them happy. Due to the high growth, there was also a pressure on the supply of components and the workshop capacities, added Saxena”.


Car owners in Northern India are relatively less satisfied compared to those in other parts of the country. The after sales service seems to be the primary reason particularly as the age of the car grows. At the national level, the customers in the relatively larger cities are more satisfied than those in the smaller cities. This may be a reflection of the growing expectations in the smaller cities. The manufacturers will do well to understand those.


The customer expectations even at the bottom end are rising. The owners of Tata Nano expect more in terms of design and Maruti 800 owners expect better servicing as the years go by. Relatively higher priced cars are able to deliver better satisfaction which reflects that the Indian consumer respects value even if the price is higher. The satisfaction scores of the models in the Upper Premium Compact, Premium Midsize and Premium SUVs are among the highest.


Overall the industry score has largely remained the same (90), indicating highly stable user relationships. However, some traditionally strong models have seen a dip in scores this year. Interestingly, this year, two of the first time evaluated models (as they have gained critical mass in the market in their respective segments), emerged as the top ones (Volkswagen Polo in Upper Premium Compact jointly with Maruti Swift and Volkswagen Passat in Entry Luxury).


Rankings for the TCS study are done at the vehicle segment-level to provide comparisons among similar groups of vehicles. Thus Volkswagen has done well in the small car segment otherwise ruled by Maruti. They are also beginning to compete with Honda in the bigger car segment. The competition is getting intense is evident from the fact that in many of the segments the scores are very close and there are joint toppers in a number of segments.


The models ranking highest in their respective segments for total customer satisfaction are:


Segment

Top Ranking Model/s

Entry Compact

Maruti Alto

Premium Compact

Maruti Zen Estilo and Maruti A Star(Jointly)

Upper Premium Compact

Volkswagen Polo and Maruti Swift (Jointly)

Entry Midsize

Maruti Swift DZire

Midsize

Honda City and Ford Fiesta (Jointly)

Premium Midsize

Toyota Corolla Altis

Entry Luxury

Volkswagen Passat

SUV/ MPV

Toyota Innova and Mahindra Scorpio (Jointly) 

Premium SUV

Honda CRV


Overall the Indian car industry has seen a great performance in terms of car sales. Simultaneously it has been able to maintain a high level of satisfaction as well.





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