TRAVERSE CITY, Mich.-- Automakers and suppliers have been focusing on immediate customer feedback to monitor their performance on quality. But some now want to look at a much longer-term customer response to get a truer picture of their quality.
Joe Ivers, a partner in J. D. Power & Associates, said yesterday at the Management Briefing Seminars that automotive customers are increasingly asking his company to provide long-term durability data.
That trend will have implications in automaker purchasing departments, Ivers predicted.
Suppliers want to get beyond the issue of per-unit cost, Ivers said. We need to make a case for considering the long-term cost of durability.
Over the past decade, J.D. Power has become a dominant influence on the auto industry by providing initial quality data, or consumer responses on the quality of their vehicles after driving them for just 90 days. The data has made manufacturers acutely aware of the quality of their products as they leave the factory.
But Ivers says that monitoring customer experience over three to four years gives a richer glimpse into brand value. Honda cars, he noted, tend to sell for a premium, compared to other car brands.
A premium tends to accrue to vehicles that have longer-term quality, he said.
But monitoring vehicle problems and repairs over a four-year period proved to be useless data for automakers, Ivers said. Companies need to know about customer complaints earlier, since vehicle redesigns start before the fourth year of ownership.
In response, Power reconfigured its studies this year to examine durability over three years.
Theres a greater interest from purchasing departments to work with us now, he said.