Customer Satisfaction Rises in a Falling Market: TNS Automotive

Findings of the syndicated Four-Wheeler Total Customer Satisfaction (TCS) study released by research consultancy, TNS reveal that the car industry continued to provide a high level of customer satisfaction even when the buying sentiment was continuously deteriorating over the months. The MUVs and SUVs continued to command the highest satisfaction scores alongside the Entry Luxury Segment cars. 

The syndicated Four-Wheeler TCS study conducted by TNS specialist division, TNS Automotive, is the largest syndicated automotive study in India, representing the responses of more than 8800 new car buyers. This comprehensive study covered 63 name plates 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 score provides a measure of Total Satisfaction and Loyalty a given name plate enjoys with its customers. 

According to Pradeep Saxena, Executive Director, TNS Automotive, “In a year of falling growth rates and a general atmosphere of gloom in the industry, the auto manufacturers demonstrated a spirit of customer service and managed their processes well to keep their customers satisfied.” During the better part of 2012, growth rate kept falling. Passenger cars just met the same sales level as in the previous year, whereas MUVs and SUVs grew on the back of Maruti Ertiga, Mahindra XUV 500 and Renault Duster. “It was a challenge for the manufacturers like Maruti and Renault to manage the demand pull of these models on one hand and to really push the sales of some of their other cars at the same time. The former required managing the expectations of waitlisted customers, whereas the latter meant managing expectations on discounts, promotions and deals,” added Saxena. 

Car owners in western India were most satisfied followed by those in the north. The satisfaction declines as the cars get old. Considering that the after-sales service tends to get the lowest score in most cases, it is hardly surprising. Comparatively speaking, the owners of premium SUVs seem to be the most satisfied lot, whereas the scores given by the owners of the premium compact cars are relatively the lowest. Still, the lowest score in sales experience is given by the entry compact car owners (though at an absolute level the scores are quite good). At the other end of the spectrum, the best after-sales service seems to be received by the owners of Entry Luxury cars.

At the bottom end – the entry compact segment, Maruti’s long standing leadership has been challenged by Hyundai by its model Eon, which has emerged as the segment leader in satisfaction. In the upper premium compact segment, Toyota Etios Liva has the top score. Maruti maintains its leadership in the premium compact segment through WagonR but is now accompanied by Chevrolet Beat. In the entry midsize segment, Swift Dzire remains at the top. No surprises in the midsize segment where Honda City retains the top position. Mahindra maintains its leadership in the SUV segment, through XUV 500 this time. Renault Duster shares the honours with it in this segment. Mahindra Bolero is the top scoring model in the MUV segment along with the Toyota’s workhorse Innova. Skoda leads in the entry luxury segment through Superb. Volkswagen Jetta is the best scoring model amongst the premium midsize cars and Ford Endeavor has the top position amongst premium SUVs. 

Rankings for the TCS study are done at the vehicle segment-level to provide comparisons among similar groups of vehicles. With their new model, Hyundai has done well in the small car segment otherwise ruled by Maruti. Similarly Renault has also been able to carve out a position for itself with the help of its new model Duster.

 

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