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Cadillac Launches Premium Care 2011 Model Year

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Cadillac Adds Premium Care  Cadillac is adding standard scheduled maintenance – Premium Care – to its 2011 Model Year products. Providing scheduled maintenance is a way to demonstrate commitment to the customer, reduce ownership costs and increase customer loyalty. BMW has been offering scheduled maintenance for years and has effectively shed its “Break My Wallet” image that existed prior to the scheduled maintenance program.

Premium Brands Abandoned Standard Scheduled Maintenance  In the past, most of the European luxury brands included standard scheduled maintenance – BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Land Rover. As costs went up and belts had to be tightened all with the exception of BMW dropped out. Surprising because consumer input to AutoPacific has indicated that standard scheduled maintenance is a strong enticement in selecting one brand over another.  BMW was winning the battle with no competition.

Standard Scheduled Maintenance Returning as Customer Satisfaction and Marketing Tool  Brands have begun to slowly return to standard scheduled maintenance as a customer satisfaction enhancer and sales enticement… Volvo, Volkswagen are now on board.  Jaguar has added its Platimum Coverage for 2011 that provides all scheduled maintenance for 5-years or 50,000 miles.  2010MY Land Rover models include scheduled maintenance for a short period after
purchase. Perhaps they will follow Jag’s lead.

In any event, standard scheduled maintenance appears to again gain traction in the marketing wars at the top of the market.  That VW has adopted it may indicate adding standard scheduled maintenance even to popular high volume brands.

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Autopacific Announces 2010 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards

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AutoPacVSAlogo10.jpgNational Survey Reveals Cadillac as Top Premium Brand, Buick as Top Popular Brand, Ford Motor Company Has Most Awards with Seven, Suzuki Kizashi as Top Car and Lincoln MKT as Top Truck
TUSTIN, Calif. (May 20, 2010) — AutoPacific today announced its 14th Annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA) to help consumers make informed vehicle purchase decisions.
“While the auto industry is showing signs of improvement, more than ever before, manufacturers need to be able to differentiate themselves. Proof of satisfied customers is as good as gold,” says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. “We’ve found that more than 25% of new car buyers are positively influenced by owner-based awards like the VSA when deciding on a new car or truck.”
AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award is an industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new car or light truck. This study by the Southern California-based automotive research firm summarizes the results of over 42,000 new vehicle owners.
“Vehicles that score highest in the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards are delivering value and satisfaction across a wide range of attributes,” says Peterson. “The winners perform well in 48 separate categories that objectively measure the ownership experience.”


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Too Early to Declare the Auto Recession Over?

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Two-Year Purchase Intention Down
AutoPacific_VV.jpgTUSTIN, Calif. (May 3, 2010) – AutoPacific, an authoritative automotive research and insight company, regularly tracks the impact of fuel prices on the type of vehicles Americans will consider buying. The results for the just completed Fuel Price Impact Survey show some surprising results, and are summarized below.
While there are many indications that the recession is ending, at least in terms of new vehicle sales it may be too early to declare victory, as expressed intent to purchase a new car or truck in the next two years has slightly declined over the January to March period.
Over 1,000 respondents completed AutoPacific’s March 2010 wave of its Fuel Price Impact Survey.


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Recalls and Used-Car Shopping: GM and Carfax Team Up

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Being a company focused firmly forward, we don’t talk used cars much. But a program like this deserves some virtual ink.
Recalls have been in the news this year like rarely before. The depth and scope of Toyota’s problems has increased sensitivity to any manufacturer’s recalls–and make no mistake, there are many issued. Most not so severe as Toyota’s problems with accelerator shims, but out there all the same.
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Half of the equation for ensuring cars on the road have had any recall work performed is in the owner’s hands. Often, owners ignore recall notices, particularly for minor issues, or figure it’ll get handled with the next oil change, to have it fall off today’s crowded to-do lists.
GM and Carfax announced a measure of help for anyone looking to purchase a used vehicle, making it easier to find out if the car was affected by a recall and if the work was done. GM is providing VINs to Carfax of millions of Buicks, Cadillacs, Chevrolets, GMCs, Saabs, Saturns, Pontiacs, and Hummers with open recalls.


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WOW! $25,000 For an EV? Here Comes Nissan LEAF!

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Nissan has today announced U.S. LEAF pricing. On the eve of the New York show, they have successfully caused a near-unanimous “WOW” across the industry with an amazingly low price for high-technology system. Profit per vehicle is not something automakers are happy to talk about in any situation, but the expectation is that Nissan may not make any profit on the LEAF for many, many years. Still, the combination of an affordable price and the years of deep legwork Nissan has done in preparing consumers and communities for the product, the LEAF is the biggest step yet in advancing the cause of electric vehicles. What does this mean for the success of LEAF? Here’s my first reaction…
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Pricing Summary
$32,380 ($25,280 after $7500 Federal tax credit)
$349/month for 36-month lease (Nissan takes the credit to enable that price)
$2200–AeroVironment home-charging dock and installation (also eligible for tax credit)
$99 Registration fee, refundable (www.nissanusa.com)


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Consumer Car Choices Counter to What Government Mandates

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AutoPacific_VV.jpgInterest in Small Cars, Hybrids
Declines Despite Fuel Price Increase

TUSTIN, Calif. (February 11, 2010) – AutoPacific regularly tracks the impact of fuel prices on the type of vehicles Americans will consider buying. The results for the just-completed Fuel Price Impact Survey show very surprising results.
Governmental mandates and consumer desires appear to be moving at cross-purposes. At a time when Congress and the Obama Administration are mandating more fuel efficiency, fuel price increases have moderated. Consumer preferences are swinging in the direction opposite what the government desires. Consideration for small cars and hybrids, the most fuel efficient vehicles, is down dramatically, while consideration for pickups and SUVs is up dramatically. Over 1,000 respondents completed AutoPacific’s January 2010 wave of its Fuel Price Impact Study.


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Toyota Recall Customer FAQs

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logo.jpgThe Toyota recalls over sticking accelerator pedals are causing quite a stir this week, one which has grown in volume, really, over months and years. The fallout may be severe for Toyota, depending on how long it takes to fully resolve the issues and whether or not an additional recall regarding the Prius brake system is also required–voluntary or not. The situation is particularly bad for a company that had built a personality based on reliability and safety. No doubt, they will be taken to task. No doubt, mistakes were made. Also no doubt, the media frenzy is turning an already difficult and serious recall situation into recall fever.
But, while the drama plays out on local and national news, and our hard-working Congresspeople ensure they publicly flog Toyota and get their two cents in and “keep us safe,” there are real people with real questions. Toyota has some answers for customers, and we’d like to share them with you.
Follow the jump for Toyota’s relatively thorough and clear FAQs, including information on both the accelerator pedal and floor mat recalls, and what to do in an emergency.


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What to Expect in 2010 and Beyond

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AutoPacific’s Ed Kim appeared on Fox Business News today to discuss what lies ahead in the near future for the auto industry. Yes, 2009 was a real bummer, so what can we expect in the years ahead?
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See the interview after the jump.

Posted in: The Car Biz

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PickupTrucks.com and AutoPacific Announce the Most Significant Trucks of the Decade

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PickupTucks.com and AutoPacific have taken a look at all the new trucks sold in the past 10 years and made their picks for the most significant trucks of the decade. The trucks that made the list introduced cutting edge technologies and pushed the segment into new territory.
“Despite the economic challenges of the past two years, it’s hard not to look back at the last ten years without calling it the decade of the pickup truck,” said PickupTrucks.com editor Mike Levine. “Sales of full-size pickups hit 2.56 million units in 2004 and Ford’s F-Series trucks remain the nation’s best-selling vehicles, 33 years in a row.”
Though there are many trucks that had a significant impact in the last decade, it’s clear that the 2009 Ford F-150 earned the title of “Most Significant”.
“On balance, we thought the 2009 Ford F-150 was the most significant pickup of the last decade,” said Jim Hossack, vice president of consulting for AutoPacific. “It sells in high volume, owners like it and its body, chassis and powertrain are all first rate. Features abound, and there are more models, series and options than can be counted. It’s a good looking truck and suitable for the widest possible range of tasks and uses.”
After the jump are those trucks deemed most significant, in no particular order.


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AutoPacific Sales Forecast: U.S. Light Vehicle Sales Set to Recover…Slowly

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Gradual Recovery Over the Next Five Years, But No Return to 17-Million Unit Years Anytime SoonAutoPacific_VV.jpg
TUSTIN, Calif. (December 21, 2009) — 2009 will be a memorable year for the automotive industry — unfortunately for all the wrong reasons. The U.S. light vehicle market is expected to close out 2009 at a disastrous 10.3 million sales, down from 16.1 million sales just two years prior and the lowest industry volume since AutoPacific began forecasting automotive sales in 1988. Naturally, the national economic collapse had a profound impact on retail sales of light vehicles.
The industry can look forward to year-on-year recovery over AutoPacific’s five-year forecast period, but at a relatively gradual pace. In the near term, AutoPacific forecasts industry volume of 11.4 million units in 2010 as the economy slowly heals but also as unemployment hampers faster industry sales recovery. 2015 will see industry sales of 15.4 million, a significant improvement from 2009 volumes but still a far cry from the near-17 million unit years seen through much of the past decade.


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