J.D. Power: Buyers Act on Preconceived Notions

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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Domestics fared better than imports on the J.D. Power study.

Domestics fared better than imports on the J.D. Power study. (ford.com)

Yesterday, we looked at a study conducted by Consumer Reports that tries to determine the choices buyers use when they select a new car. And fresh off the heels of that, J.D. Power has released their own annual survey that also looks at the same thing, albeit with a focus on why consumers either avoid or reject models.

And the results of the J.D. Power study are stunning. More consumers make decisions on preconceived notions about a brand’s quality (43 percent) than on actual reviews and ratings (38 percent) that offer concrete data on issues such as quality. An even smaller percentage (14 percent) base their decisions on prior ownership of a make or model.

“The fact that so many new-vehicle buyers may be basing their opinions about quality and reliability on pre-conceived notions, rather than concrete information or data, demonstrates how important it is for automakers to promote the quality and reliability of their models,” said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power and Associates. “For some brands, namely those that have created marked improvements in their quality and reliability in recent years, it’s even more vital to tell their improvement story, rather than just waiting for perceptions to change over time.”

The study also found that gas mileage/fuel economy were the most important reason buyers cite for purchasing a particular vehicle model in 2012, surpassing the influence of other key reasons such as reliability, the price of the car or ability to get a deal and exterior styling.

That’s a different result that we saw with Consumer Reports, where fuel economy didn’t even crop up as a major key feature for most shoppers.

Being considered an American company was also key, according to J.D. Power. The study also found that the percentage of buyers who avoided import models because of their origin has increased to 14 percent in 2012 – the highest level since the inception of the study in 2003. Conversely, the percentage of buyers who avoided domestic models due to their origin has declined to 6 percent, a historically low level.

The study was based on responses from approximately 24,045 owners who registered a new vehicle in May 2011, and took place between August and October 2011.

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