Auto Manufacturer Websites Losing Ground to Specialty Sites; Relevant Content Is King for New-Vehicle Intenders
Buick, Shanghai Volkswagen and Audi Are the Three Most Considered Brands
Shanghai: 28 August 2015 — While the Internet is a frequent source of information for new-vehicle intenders, auto manufacturer (OEM) websites are losing ground to specialty sites, underscoring the need to provide intenders with more relevant and tailored information as well as a more engaging online shopping experience, according to the J.D. Power 2015 China New-Vehicle Intender StudySM (NVIS) released today.
The study, now in its seventh year, is designed to provide automakers with key consumer insights by examining brand awareness, brand perception, make and model consideration, purchase consideration and information sources, as well as perceptions of various models among new-vehicle intenders. New vehicle intenders are defined as consumers who intend to purchase a new passenger vehicle within the next 12 months—in 78 cities.
A majority (90%) of intenders use the Internet as source of information when shopping for a new vehicle. Among those intenders, 40 percent visit an OEM website, a significant 11 percentage point drop from 2014. The proportion of intenders choosing specialty websites has increased to 66 percent from 58 percent in 2014. This trend presents a huge challenge for OEMs in terms of connecting with intenders, who, overall, perceive specialty websites as providing more objective information related to pricing, product reviews and vehicle owner comments. For example, intenders want to see more information on financing services/ loan services and expert comments; however, intenders indicate this information is insufficient on OEM sites.
“Intenders seek relevant and tailored information during their decision-making process and want a more engaging experience during the actual shopping process, a critical step that OEM websites need to improve to entice potential buyers,” said Dr. Songlin Mei, vice president and managing director at J.D. Power China. “With the weak sales volume in China, automakers need to adjust their website strategy to capture the attention of new-vehicle intenders by providing them with an engaging experience that might convert them into buyers. To improve the website experience, it’s vital for OEMs to understand and analyze what the specialty sites are doing.”
Models with the highest rates of consideration in each vehicle segment are:
- Compact Mini: smart fortwo
- Compact: Chevrolet Sail
- Compact Upper: Volkswagen Polo
- Midsize Basic: Buick Excelle
- Midsize: Chevrolet Cruze
- Midsize Upper Economy: Volkswagen Sagitar
- Midsize Upper: Buick Regal
- Compact Luxury: Audi A4L
- Midsize Luxury: Audi A6L
- Large Luxury: Audi A8L
- Compact SUV: Buick Encore
- Midsize SUV: Volkswagen Tiguan
- Large SUV: Buick Envision
- Compact Luxury SUV: Audi Q3
- Midsize Luxury SUV: Audi Q5
- Large Luxury SUV: BMW X5
- SUV is the fastest growing segment in China. Among all models considered, the share of SUV models has increased to 36 percent from 27 percent in 2014. The share of midsize cars, the largest segment in terms of consideration share, has dropped to 48 percent from 54 percent in 2014.
- SUV intenders have a higher budget in mind for their vehicle purchase than midsize car intenders. More than half (55%) of SUV intenders expect to purchase a model that costs at least RMB 200,000, on average, compared with just 36 percent for midsize car intenders and 45 percent for the study average.
- A higher proportion of intenders indicate an intention to finance their vehicle purchase with a loan than the proportion of buyers who actually purchase with a loan (29% vs. 17%, respectively). In the mass market segment, 30 percent of intenders indicate an intention to purchase with a loan, compared to just 15 percent of buyers who actually purchase with a loan.
- Buick is the most considered brand among new-vehicle intenders for purchasing within the next 12 months, followed by Shanghai Volkswagen, Audi, FAW-Volkswagen and Chevrolet.
The study also includes a brand influence score (BIS), which measures familiarity and favorability of automotive brands among new-vehicle intenders in China. BMW achieves a BIS of 684 on a 1,000-point scale, followed by Audi (666), Mercedes-Benz (646), Shanghai Volkswagen (639) and FAW-Volkswagen (636).
The 2015 China New-Vehicle Intender Study is based on responses from 9,732 new-vehicle intenders. The study includes 62 brands and was conducted online from May to June 2015.
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