Home > Automotive, Consumer Behavior & Trends, Monthly Consumer Survey, Retail > Consumer Buzz: Touring the Autobahn

Consumer Buzz: Touring the Autobahn

When we last took a spin in our monthly auto data, we found that Subaru owners were the most likely to recommend their vehicles to friends and family. While that’s still true of the 18 vehicle nameplates* we analyzed for this new report, we thought it would be interesting to add some new faces to the mix – and analyze this data by each automaker’s country of origin.

Auto NPS Index - KeyBefore we begin today’s tour, though, let’s review some of the details. By applying the Net Promoter Score (NPS)** metrics system to our May Consumer Survey data, we can see which drivers (i.e. Ford owners, Toyota owners, etc.)  are buzzing about their current cars as well as which think their autos are wrecks. For this new analysis, we took the percentage of a nameplate’s detractors and subtracted them from the number of those who actively promote their current automaker, which helps us evaluate the strength of a brand’s image. We then took these scores and indexed them to the national average of ALL vehicle owners, +18.5%. Please note that all graphics are based on the Net Promoter Score Index, where an index of 100 = average.

First Up: Germany

When one thinks of the European nameplates hailing from this country, the words quality and/or luxury may come to mind…that is, unless you ask a few BMW owners. While each of the German automakers we took a look at (BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Volkswagen) scored a positive Net Promoter Score, BMW’s rating was the only one to fall below the national average for all vehicle owners (index = 93). The force is definitely with Volkswagen in this grouping [still loving that Super Bowl commercial], where the automaker secures a NPS which nearly doubles that of the overall average (index = 191).

Auto NPS Index - Germany

Next Stop: Japan

What might be more impressive than VW’s 191 NPS index? Try Toyota’s 274. The world’s largest automaker is a word-of-mouth hit with consumers, as is its luxury counterpart, Lexus (index = 261), and one of its staunchest competitors, Honda (index = 239). Of course, the aforementioned Subaru drives away the winner in this region (index = 287). Overall, owners of Japanese nameplates are positively abuzz about their vehicles, each scoring above average:

Auto NPS Index - Japan

Final Destination: United States

In general, drivers seem to have love-hate relationships with the BIG 3. On one hand, it’d be great to “buy American,” but on the other, these automakers have been plagued by bankruptcies, inflated prices, as well as safety and quality issues [insert any number of vehicular anagrams here]. Among some of the U.S.-based nameplates, though, we can find a ray of light; Net Promoter Scores for both Cadillac and Ford index above average. Unfortunately, Chevrolet, Buick, Lincoln, Chrysler, and Dodge suffer from below average ratings. In fact, out of the 18 nameplates we analyzed for this blog, Dodge was the lone automaker suffering from a negative Net Promoter Score (NPS = -0.6%), which means its detractors slightly outweighed its promoters. Lincoln and Chrysler just barely eked out positive ratings with 5.3% and 7.1% Net Promoter Scores, respectively. So while the Detroit automakers are working on turnarounds, it does seem that they continue to be hindered by Americans’ perceptions of their vehicles.

Auto NPS Index - USA

All told, it’s evident that the BIG 3 still have A LOT of work to do when it comes to improving their brand image with consumers, which is key because we’re the ones ultimately doing the buying, right?

Auto NPS Index - Overall

*Select Currently Owned Vehicle Nameplates (Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick, Ford, Lincoln, Chrysler, Dodge, Toyota, Lexus, Honda, Acura, Nissan, Infiniti, Subaru) were analyzed for this blog. Respondent counts for each nameplate ranged from N = 42 to N = 1085.

**Net Promoter, NPS and Net Promoter Score are trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company, and Fred Reichheld

The NPS which takes a simple question–Would you recommend us to a friend?–has helped countless organizations better understand “promoters” and “detractors” and paint a clear picture of their company’s performance through the eyes of their customers. By applying the Net Promoter Score*, executives can identify their customer base and move beyond “sufficient” to brand loyalty and growth.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey – MAY-12 (N = 8789, 5/2 – 5/8/12)

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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  1. Michael Hollon
    May 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Pam, Thanks for sharing this. There were at least two other brands I was hoping to see scores for: Hyundai and Mazda. Were they included?

    • Pam Goodfellow
      May 15, 2012 at 6:20 pm

      Hi Michael, We track 41 auto makes in each of our monthly surveys – including what consumers currently own, what they are planning to buy (1st and 2nd choice), and what they recently purchased. I suppose I owe you Mazda, as a Japanese automaker (NPS Index = 101)…we’ll call Hyundai a bonus (NPS Index = 148). Thanks for reading!

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