Vehicles That Inspire "Love It or Hate It" Attitudes
in Terms of Styling
Often Have a Sales Advantage
exterior vehicle styling is the primary reason consumers avoid
certain models during the new-vehicle shopping process, models
that inspire a "love it or hate it" attitude in terms
of styling often have a sales advantage, according to the J.D.
Power and Associates 2003 Avoider Study.
inaugural study investigates why consumers fail to consider (avoid)
particular models when shopping for a new vehicle. In addition,
the study identifies the level of awareness consumers have of
study finds that exterior styling is by far the most frequently
stated reason shoppers avoid particular models. However, models
with controversial styling that polarize opinions, such as the
Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chevrolet Avalanche and Infiniti FX, often
sell quicker and at a higher profit margin than models that fail
to generate passion in either direction. On average, "love
it or hate it" models move off dealer lots four days faster
and at a $609 higher profit margin than models that are neither
purchased nor avoided due to styling.
better to polarize some shoppers than to generate mass apathy,"
said Chris Denove, partner at J.D. Power and Associates. "There
is nothing wrong with a model that has a high rate of avoidance
due to styling, provided this is offset by a significant number
of shoppers who purchase the model because of styling. Of course,
if given a choice, I'd rather create designs like the Jaguar S-Type
or Infiniti G-35 Coupe, which offer the type of styling that is
universally liked and rarely avoided."
top 10 reasons consumers avoid vehicles are: styling; reliability
concerns; cost; too small; poor quality; resale value; lack of
incentives; poor performance; maintenance costs; and too big.
avoid specific vehicles because of their perceptions, even if
those perceptions differ from reality. For example, BMW and Mercedes-Benz
models are frequently avoided because shoppers feel they cost
too much to maintain. This is a case where perception does not
match reality because both brands provide free maintenance to
of reliability tend to follow the brand rather than individual
models in the brand. For example, Korean and Domestic brands have
the highest rates of avoidance due to reliability concerns.
are powerful among new-vehicle shoppers," said Denove. "Reliability
is critical to new-vehicle shoppers, and manufacturers can suffer
from poor reputations for reliability long after they make improvements
in quality. The key is in effectively communicating vehicle strengths
to consumers in order to close the gap between perception and
study also finds that personal experiences with manufacturers
play an important role in why certain makes are avoided. More
than one out of 10 vehicles consumers failed to consider were
specifically avoided because of either their own bad experience
or a friend telling them not to purchase that vehicle.
should serve as a wake-up call to manufacturers on the dangers
of not satisfying their customers," said Denove. "Personal
experiences, whether it be the buyer's own experiences or those
of people they know, are the most influential sources of information
buyers use during the shopping process. The choice is simple-satisfy
your customers today or pay a small fortune in incentives to get
people into the showroom the next time around."
2003 Avoider Study is based on responses from 27,241 owners who
registered a new vehicle in January or February of 2003.
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