Three different U.S. market research companies, different consumer surveys and different sets of answers. No wonder test data makes auto executives uneasy.
Consumer design surveys yield mixed results
Volvo Car Corp. declined to provide substantive data, but former Chief Designer Peter Horbury said Volvo learned several key pieces of information from its study by The Car Lab of Santa Ana, Calif., which polled recent Volvo buyers and those intending to buy.
1. Most liked Volvo design change.
2. Among the detractors, many are afraid of change.
3. Few are unwilling to accept the new designs.
4. Volvo is reaching 35-year-olds intending to buy, and those under 35 and outside traditional Volvo buyer groups.
Gathered independently, a poll by Strategic Vision of San Diego of recent European-brand car buyers supports Volvos product strategy.
1. Volvos new lineup has a higher conquest rate than other brands, at 65 percent in 2001 compared with 59 percent in 1998.
2. More buyers are returning to Volvo after having left the brand. That could indicate that previous customers quit the brand because of boxy styling, but are willing to try a new-look Volvo, said Strategic Vision President Dan Gorrell.
3. Loyalty has slipped since the late 1990s, though Gorrell could not specify whether the departures were because of the new styling, because of pricing or because Volvo didnt have sport-utilities.
The most pessimistic results came from CNW Marketing/Research of Bandon, Ore., which polled buyers and shoppers of European luxury brands.
1.agreement, former Volvo owners rated the new styling at 6.2; current owners, 8.1; and non-Volvo owners who plan to buy a car soon, 8.8.
2. But the high loyalty among Volvo owners may be slipping. In the past, Volvo owners had rated their intention to buy Volvos again in the 7s, but that fell to 6.2 in this poll.
3. Among current and former Volvo owners, the statement Volvo is safer than in the past was a 3, and those who intend to buy a car answered less than a 5.
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