We all are aware that consumers worldwide have a different taste when it comes to buying vehicles. But it seems vehicle buying behaviour among consumers in India itself differs from region to region. Recently, a study was conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific to know this behaviour better and they have come with their reports. With the increasing upper middle-class population in India, several changes have occurred pertaining to shopping behaviour, the ownership experience and the vehicle usage.
The study is based on responses of 8687 buyers who purchased their vehicle between September 2012 and April 2013. Another study, why new vehicle buyers consider but ultimately reject certain models in favour of another, was conducted from March through July 2013. Here are some key highlights from the study –
- Nearly 70 percent of buyers in the west and 57 percent of buyers in the east are purchasing a car for the first time. In the north, the number of people buying their first car is decreasing while the trend remains unchanged in the south.
- Buyers in the north are heavily influenced by the vehicle’s design but in the south, buyers put heavy emphasis on fuel economy.
- New vehicle buyers in the south are more value conscious and do extensive research by visiting dealerships and taking test drives. However in the north, buyers rely solely on the salesperson.
- Internet plays a vital role in helping buyers decide a car in the south while people in the north rely on word of mouth to make a decision.
- More households have multiple vehicles in the north compared to other regions but the average number of people travelling in vehicles is much higher in the west and the south.
- North buyers are opting for bigger cars and thus small car sales are declining there. However in the south, preference for small cars remains high.
These changes are due to urbanisation and also increasing buying potential of the younger generation. The study also says that immediate delivery of vehicles is considered as a primary reason in influencing customer’s decision. Longer delivery time is the second most influential reason for rejecting a vehicle. Customer retention has improved to 40 percent in 2013, compared with 38 percent in 2012.
Mahindra and Maruti Suzuki have particularly high customer retention rates among automotive brands in India, mainly because of their dealerships which are spread everywhere and the spares being perceived as cheaper. As expected, Maruti Suzuki is the winner for the ninth consecutive year, with 37 percent of all shoppers eventually purchasing one of its models.