Honda Siel Cars and Maruti Udyog lead in multiple categories in NFO Automotive's 2002 India Total Customer Satisfaction Study (TCS) released recently. Honda leads in the premium midsize and entry luxury segments, whereas Maruti leads in the mass-market economy, premium compact, and entry midsize segments. In the diesel vehicle segments, owners are most satisfied with Toyota Qualis for multi-utility vehicles, Tata Indica for small cars and Mitsubishi Lancer for midsize cars. The 2002 TCS is the first syndicated study by NFO Automotive in India.
The rankings for the TCS study are conducted at the vehicle segment level to provide comparisons among similar groups of vehicles. Vehicles ranking highest in their respective segments for TCS are: Maruti 800 as best economy car; Maruti Zen as best premium compact car; Tata Indica Diesel, as the best diesel small car; Maruti Esteem, as the best entry midsize car; HM/ Mitsubishi Lancer, the best diesel midsize car; Honda City, as the best premium midsize car; Toyota Qualis, as the best MUV; and Honda Accord as best entry luxury car.
The TCS study is based on responses from over 5,000 car owners whose cars are less than three years old. The analysis focuses on the performance of over 30 new car models in the key areas of sales satisfaction, product quality, vehicle performance and design, after-sales service, brand image, and cost-of-ownership.
"No one would expect a Maruti 800 owner to have the same set of expectations as a Honda City owner," says Chris Bonsi, regional director, NFO Automotive. "The TCS study validates this and provides manufacturers with actionable information on how they can customise their products and services for different groups of customers."
Comparisons across the TCS study components show that customers are relatively more satisfied with vehicle performance and less satisfied in the areas of ownership costs and after-sales service. "Improvements in critical areas of after-sales service and cost-of-ownership would help manufacturers and dealers enhance customer retention which, in turn, would positively impact their profitability," adds Bonsi.
The TCS study examines customer evaluations at three distinct ownership periods: 1 to 6 months, 12 to 18 months, and 24 to 36 months. This helps in understanding the differences in satisfaction during initial ownership, in-warranty and post-warranty ownership periods. Generally, satisfaction ratings decline as the length of vehicle ownership increases. However, Maruti Esteem and Honda City have been able to maintain and even increase the level of satisfaction post-warranty. "Total customer satisfaction requires a dedicated effort throughout the entire ownership experience," comments Bonsi. "Honda has been able to exceed the expectations of their customers during the most difficult stage of the ownership cycle. Consequently, Honda City owners fall close to the 'highly retained' level with a score of 98, the best in the industry."
The TCS study was conducted from July through September 2002 across 11 centres - Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi (NCR), Hyderabad, Ludhiana, Mumbai, and Pune. The TCS study will henceforth be conducted on an annual basis. © 2002 agencyfaqs!