Initial Quality Problems for Two-Wheelers Down: J D Power

The number of initial quality problems reported by two-wheeler owners in India has declined by a significant 14 problems per 100 vehicles (-14 PP100), driven primarily by a reduction in engine-related problems, according to the J D Power 2016 India Two-Wheeler Initial Quality (2WIQS) Study, released on January 28.

The study measures problems owners experience with their new two-wheeler during the first two to six months of ownership. It examines 138 problem symptoms covering seven categories (listed in order of frequency of reported problems): engine; brakes; fit and finish; lights/electricals; ride and handling; transmission; and gauges and controls. All problems are summarized as the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). Lower PP100 scores indicate a lower rate of problem incidence and therefore higher initial quality. 

“Given the high incidence of pillion riding in India, core vehicle systems such as engine and brakes undergo a lot of stress. Therefore, it is imperative for OEMs to focus on these key systems to help enhance owners’ perceptions of vehicle quality,” said Mohit Arora, Executive Director at J D Power, Singapore. “With increasing competition and the frequent launch of new models, sustained quality under such adverse usage conditions can be a key differentiator.” 

The study finds that the number of initial quality problems is influenced by the incidence of pillion riding. This is reflected in the finding that the 54% of two-wheeler owners who normally ride with a pillion report 156 PP100, compared with 145 PP100 reported by the owners who normally ride solo. The increase in reported problems is particularly notable in the engine, brakes and ride and handling categories. 

“One-third of the two-wheeler owners ride more than 40 kms every day. Given this high usage, coupled with the driving conditions in India, it would be prudent for OEMs to focus on ensuring a trouble free vehicle,” said Kaustav Roy, Director at J D Power, Singapore. “Providing customers with a high quality and dependable vehicle can improve satisfaction and the likelihood to build a strong brand reputation.” 

Following are some of the key findings of this year’s study. 

•Initial Quality Improves in Both Scooter and Motorcycle Segments: Overall initial quality averages 137 PP100 for Scooters and 159 PP100 for Motorcycles, an improvement of 13 PP100 and 14 PP100, respectively, from 2015. Among vehicle systems, the greatest year-over-year improvement is in the engine category. 

•First-Time Buyers Report Fewer Initial Quality Problems: More than three-fourths (77%) of two-wheeler owners are first-time buyers, and they report fewer problems than those with previous ownership experience (138 PP100 vs. 200 PP100, respectively). The difference is largely influenced by problems in the engine and ride and handling categories. 

•Average Daily Kms Driven vs. Problem Incidence: Owners who ride their two-wheeler 41 kms or more per day (32%) report more problems than those who ride up to 40 Kms : 164 PP100 vs. 146 PP100, respectively—a difference of 18 PP100. 

•Overall Two-Wheeler Quality Influences Loyalty: Owners who experience fewer problems than expected (64%) are nearly three times as likely to recommend their two-wheeler model to family and friends as those who experience more problems than expected (23%). 

Model Results by Segment 

Award recipient segments include Scooters (executive) and Motorcycles (economy, executive, upper executive and premium). 

For Scooters, TVS Wego and Yamaha Alpha (72 PP100) tie for the highest rank among executive models. 

For Motorcycles, Honda Dream Neo (102 PP100) ranks highest among economy models, and Hero Super Splendor (107 PP100) ranks highest among executive models. Debutant Suzuki Gixxer (105 PP100) ranks highest among upper executive models, and TVS Apache RTR 180 (105 PP100) ranks highest among premium models. 

The 2016 India Two-Wheeler Initial Quality Study (2WIQS) is based on evaluations from 9,329 vehicle owners who purchased a new vehicle between March 2015 and October 2015. The study includes 87 two-wheeler models from 10 makes. The study was fielded from September 2015 to December 2015 in 44 cities across India. 

Tractor After-Sales Services Suffer Due to Drop in Quality and Availability of Parts 

Customer satisfaction with tractor after-sales service in India has declined, due in large part to a drop in service quality and availability of parts, according to another study - 2016 India Tractor Customer Service Index (CSI) - released by J D Power on February 12.

The study, now in its second year, examines satisfaction among tractor owners in India who visited an authorised service centre for maintenance or repair work between the first 12 to 24 months of ownership. Overall customer satisfaction is based on a combined score of the service satisfaction and parts operation indices. The service satisfaction index measures overall satisfaction across four factors (listed in order of importance): service quality; service initiation; service handover and the service engineer. The parts operation index captures satisfaction across five attributes. Overall customer satisfaction is measured on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction. 

Tractor owner satisfaction with after-sales service in India drops to 751 in 2016 from 774 in 2015. The overall decrease is attributed to notable declines in the service satisfaction index for service quality (-31 points) and service engineer           (-24) as well as a decline in the overall parts operation index score (-52). 

“The decline in after-sales service satisfaction is of particular concern,” said Dr Gordon Shields, Director, J D Power. “With the number of reported breakdown increasing to 19% of all service customers in the study this year, it is essential that dealers are able to support their customers with the right level of service and parts. Results indicate that the tractor industry is struggling to provide the growing number of tractor customers with the service support they expect.” 

The study finds that fewer customers in 2016 are being supported outside of their dealer’s service facility. Only 13% of tractor owners indicate having their tractor repaired onsite - at the farm, workplace or in the field - in 2016, compared with 18% in 2015. Moreover, service quality remains low among these customers, with only 85% saying that all work was completed during the engineer’s first visit. 

More tractor owners in 2016 say that parts are not available compared with 2015. Only 35% of owners in 2016 indicate that parts are typically available on the same day, compared with 42% in 2015. 

“It is essential dealers maintain a high level of parts inventory in order to avoid any delays for their customers,” said Yukti Arora, Manager at J D Power. “Unnecessary delays in providing the correct parts not only irritates customers, but potentially impacts negatively on their income, as well as deteriorates the overall experience with the brand.” 

Rankings

John Deere ranks highest in satisfaction with the after-sales service experience with a score of 785, a 7-point improvement from 2015. Massey Ferguson (769) ranks second and New Holland (768) ranks third among the eight brands included in the study. 

KEY FINDINGS 

•Failing to complete work correctly on the first visit is one of the key drivers of dissatisfaction among after-sales service customers. Overall satisfaction among customers who require a second visit is 102 points lower than among those who have all work completed correctly on the initial visit (658 vs. 760, respectively). 

•Engagement from the service engineer during the service visit has declined across a series of key operation standards in 2016. Study findings show the following: 

-87% of owners indicate the service engineer was focused on them and their needs, down from 91% in 2015. 

-85% of owners say the service engineer reviewed the work done on their tractor, down from 89% in 2015.

-85% of owners say the service engineer provided helpful advice, down from 89% in 2015. 

•Fewer owners in 2016 get their tractor back after service cleaner than when they took it in, compared with 2015 (35% vs. 41%, respectively). Satisfaction among owners who received their tractor back “cleaner” than when they took it in for service averages 793 points, which is 57 points higher than among those who say their tractor was “about as clean” as when they took it in for servicing. 

•Tractor usage requirements vary greatly across regions and states in India, as do applications, farm types and income levels. Overall satisfaction with the tractor after-sales service is highest among owners in the Western region (Gujarat and Maharashtra) at 773 and lowest among those in the Easter region (Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal) at 672. 

•Service satisfaction affects loyalty, as 72% of owners who are highly satisfied (satisfaction scores of 852 or higher) say they “definitely would” revisit their service dealer again, while only 31% of highly dissatisfied owners (scores of 651 or lower) say the same. Additionally, highly satisfied customers are 2 1/2 times more likely to say they “definitely would” recommend their dealer to a colleague or friend than are dissatisfied customers (74% vs. 29%, respectively). 

The 2016 India Tractor Customer Service Index Study is based on evaluations from 3,815 tractor owners across 14 states. The study was fielded from August to January 2016 and includes owners who purchased a new tractor between August 2013 and December 2015 from an authorised dealership.

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