Survey: Perception rises on European models

Updated: 2011-07-04 17:28

By Xiao Han (China Daily)

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Japanese, Chinese models lose ground among those intending to buy this year

BEIJING - More Chinese customers intend to buy cars from European manufacturers as fewer consider Japanese and domestic Chinese models, according to a study recently released by J.D. Power Asia Pacific.

The 2011 survey found that 32 percent of respondents who say they would consider purchasing a car in the next 12 months prefer a European model, up from 25 percent in 2009.

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The study showed consideration of buying Japanese models declined to 27 percent from 32 percent in 2009, while the rate for Chinese domestic brands decreased from 26 percent to 20 percent.

The increase for European cars indicates that prospective buyers have positive perceptions about their safety and improvements in engine and transmission technology, the report said.


As well, many have received strong recommendations for European models from family and friends, it said.

The survey found an increasing proportion of respondents are citing concerns about quality, reliability and dealer service for Japanese models as well as a lack of recommendations from family and friends.

The report said the reasons cited for the fall in Chinese model consideration include concerns about poor quality, negative consumer reviews and a lack of recommendations.

"This study gives us important insight into effectively managing the flow of new-vehicle intenders, especially at the consideration stage," said Jacob George, managing director of J.D.Power Asia Pacific, Shanghai.

"Consumers with concerns about product quality and reliability are unlikely to be swayed by lower prices," he said.

The study shows that the top three considerations among potential buyers of a particular model are vehicle comfort, whether it is easy to handle and exterior styling. Other factors include gas mileage, engine size, maintenance costs, dealer expertise and service, and whether the brand has a broad dealer network.

Social status

It also found that respondents in big cities are more concerned about dealer expertise and service, perceived social status of the vehicle and environmentally friendly features, while those in lower-tier cities care more about low prices and proximity of dealers.

"Brand awareness does depend on location - for example, in South China, Japanese brands have particularly high brand influence due to their long tenure there," said Dr Mei Songlin, general manager of research at J.D.Power Asia Pacific, Shanghai.

"Manufacturers should focus on improving awareness in strategic locations through marketing and improving favorability through promoting product features and customer experience."

The study also found that online marketing is crucial in informing and influencing buyers. Nine in 10 potential purchasers search the Internet for vehicle information and seven in 10 visit the manufacturer's official website to collect or verify vehicle information, it said.

The types of websites visited most often by potential buyers are general portal sites, search engines and video sites as well as online forums, social network sites and blogs.


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