Feeling safe while driving increases a vehicle’s appeal considerably among new owners in India, placing high importance on the aspects that affect their safety while driving, according to the JD Power 2018 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study, released this week.
The study finds that key elements of a vehicle’s systems that contribute to safety, such as feeling safe while driving, brake responsiveness, front and rear visibility, and visibility while changing lanes, contribute to a combined importance of 9% towards the overall satisfaction an owner feels with their vehicle. In fact, safety-related aspects are the second-highest contributor to satisfaction, after fuel efficiency-related elements.
Kaustav Roy, director & country head, India, JD Power, said, “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.”
Although fuel economy is the most weighted parameter of the study, in terms of a vehicle’s fuel economy and the driving range between each refuelling, there is a mismatch between the expected fuel economy and actual, which leads to a lower APEAL score.
The ability of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system to quickly cool down, along with the quietness of the system’s operation, are cited as the most appealing factors for new vehicle owners.
Two-fifths of owners tend to use their front cup-holders frequently. These customers rate the usefulness of both central control storage and cup-holders high, indicating that the current design of these spaces meet their daily requirements.
The study ranked Hyundai Eon the highest in the entry compact segment, with a score of 859. Maruti Suzuki Alto K10 was ranked the highest in the compact segment, with a score of 848. Hyundai Elite i20 topped the premium compact segment (868); Hyundai Xcent topped entry midsize (865); Hyundai Verna topped midsize (881); Mahindra Bolero was ranked the highest in the MUV/MPV segment (867); Honda WR-V topped the compact SUV segment (855); and Mahindra XUV 500 was ranked the highest in the SUV segment (875).
The 2018 APEAL study is based on responses from 7,572 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from December 2017 through October 2018, and included 75 models from 13 makes.