Hyundai emerges as a big winner in the J.D. Power 2018 India APEAL Study with four product awards, followed by Mahindra with two wins. Maruti Suzuki, Honda and Toyota each bag one award.
The J.D. Power 2018 India APEAL Study measured the factors that satisfied car owners in India with respect to their new vehicle’s performance and design during the first two to six months of ownership. The study examined 79 attributes in ten vehicle categories: Exterior, Interior, Storage and Space, Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation, Seats, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Driving Dynamics, Engine/Transmission, Visibility and Driving Safety and, lastly, Fuel Economy.
This year's study revealed that key elements of a vehicle’s systems that contribute to vehicle safety, such as feeling safe while driving, brake responsiveness, front and rear visibility and visibility while changing lanes, contribute about 9 per cent of the overall satisfaction an owner feels with his/her vehicle. At an overall level, safety-related aspects are the second-highest contributor to satisfaction, after fuel efficiency-related elements.
Hyundai won big in the 2018 APEAL study as four of its models bagged the top spot in their respective segments. The Hyundai Eon scored ranked highest in the Entry Compact segment with a score of 859, while the Elite i20/ Active took the top spot in the Premium Compact segment with a score of 868. Other Hyundai models that secured the highest ranks include the Xcent, which scored 865 in the Entry Midsize segment, and the Verna, which scored 881 in the Midsize segment to claim the top spot. The MPV/MUV and the SUV segments were led by the Mahindra duo – Bolero and XUV500, which scored 867 and 875 points each, respectively. The Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 put up a decent show to secure the top rank in the Compact segment, with a score of 848, and the Honda WR-V stole the show in the Compact SUV segment, with a score of 855.
The 2018 APEAL Study is based on responses from 7,572 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between December 2017 and October 2018. The study includes 75 models from 13 manufacturers.
Commenting on the key results of the 2018 APEAL Study, Mr Kaustav Roy, Director and Country Head India at J.D. Power, said, 'The study finds that a well-designed vehicle and all-around visibility are cited as the top two most appealing parameters for new vehicle owners. With the enhanced focus on safety and crash precautionary features soon to be introduced in the market, manufacturers who align their vehicle design with this new trend and ensure that their customers feel as safe as possible when driving their vehicle are more likely to appeal to customers and increase overall satisfaction.'
The study revealed that fuel economy, which is the most weighted parameter of the study, underperforms across all segments in terms of expectations, owing to differences between the claimed efficiency figures and real-life results. Further, the HVAC-effectiveness in a vehicle has emerged as one of the most appealing factors for new car owners. Another finding comes in the form of a strong correlation between a vehicle's APEAL score and its repurchase recommendations. Among owners of vehicles with average or above average APEAL scores (850 or higher, on a 1,000-point scale), 87 per cent say they 'definitely will' recommend their purchased model and 77% 'definitely will' repurchase the same make.