Quality at Top of Buyers' Minds While on Dealer Lots
It is crucial to know exactly what customers are looking for when they are searching the lots and priorities range from dependability and speed to image and technology, to name a few.
But according to a recent CarMax survey, the most important element for buyers to consider remains "quality," for the third year running.
In fact, almost double the amount of respondents chose quality over price as the most important factor influencing a car-buying decision, according to a recent telephone survey conducted for CarMax by Ipsos Public Affairs.
"Consumers want to drive off the lot knowing they are in a high quality vehicle, and they also want to feel good about the price and safety of the vehicle," said Troy Flaherty, Mid-Atlantic region vice president of purchasing.
Interestingly, the results of a recent Global Quality Survey released by AIAG show that the methods currently used to measure quality in the industry are considered outdated by industry leaders who took part.
J. Scot Sharland, executive director of AIAG, noted that the automotive industry has made significant strides in improving quality over the past decade, something he said is evidenced in the upward trends in published product quality and customer satisfaction surveys.
"However," Sharland said, "continuous improvement is key to any manufacturing strategy, and AIAG is driving that discussion, using this study as a road map to identify likely trends as we reshape our vision of quality in the future."
Those who participated indicated they believe too many external quality metrics currently exist, with misaligned targets and objectives, AIAG said. Respondents suggested replacing these metrics with new ones that identify leading quality indicators, such as design and process.
Breaking the Carmax survey numbers down further, 41 percent of responders chose quality, followed by price (41 percent) and safety (17 percent), respectively.
And it seems men and women are buying with the same frame of mind, as both chose quality as their top factor individually too — 46 percent of men and 36 percent of women chose quality.
On the other hand, resale and environmental factors were least important, at 5 and 4 percent, respectively, according to survey results.
Interestingly, the rank results for the survey have been mostly the same for three years in a row, with the only change being resale value falling below environmental factors in 2010.
Earlier this year, though, when gas prices spiked past $4, high fuel prices made their mark on consumers, who were driving less and contemplating the move to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, according to recent survey by Consumer Reports.
The survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, found that 37 percent of those polled said their leading consideration when shopping for their next car will be fuel economy, with approximately two-thirds of car owners saying they expect their next vehicle to get better fuel mileage than their current one.
Other factors were considerably behind that number in the survey, with quality ranked tops by 17 percent of respondents; safety by 16 percent; value by 14 percent; and performance by 6 percent.