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2013 Brazil Sales Satisfaction Index Study Results

7/2/2013
Word of mouth is the most commonly relied-upon method for gathering information on new vehicles among Brazilians who are deciding which one to buy, but the Internet is an almost equally popular source, according to the recently released J.D. Power 2013 Brazil Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.SM New-vehicle buyers cite friends and relatives (45%) and the Internet (43%) as their primary sources of information when deciding on a make and model of vehicle to purchase. Running considerably behind as the primary source are owners of the same vehicle (27%) or the salesperson or dealership owners (23%).

With 3.6 million new light vehicles sold in Brazil in 2012 and 3% growth expected in 2013, Brazil is now the fourth-largest new-vehicle market in the world, behind China, the United States, and Japan. As a result of continued expansion of Internet access, consumers are increasingly relying on information gathered online to help make informed vehicle purchase decisions.

"A new vehicle is a tremendous expenditure for consumers in Brazil, and they want to make sure they know as much as they can about the vehicles they are considering before they enter the dealership," said Jon Sederstrom, director and country manager at J.D. Power do Brasil. "With nearly one-half of consumers in Brazil having Internet access, and with approximately 55 million smartphones in use in the country, information gathered online is becoming a powerful and influential resource for new-vehicle shoppers."

In terms of how shoppers use the Internet to gather information, the most frequently visited website types include search engines such as Google (69%); automotive manufacturer websites (50%); specialty automotive websites, such as Webmotors and iCarros (42%); and dealer websites (37%). Additionally, 21% of new-vehicle shoppers in Brazil use a social network to research their purchase.

"Automakers and dealers will want to continue to monitor social media, as it is becoming an increasingly important information medium for shoppers, particularly those between 18 and 34 years old," said Sederstrom. "This group represents a large portion of current and future new-vehicle buyers, and social networks will become an even more effective way to communicate with them."

The Brazil SSI Study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience, based on the evaluations of more than 3,000 online interviews with Brazilian new-vehicle owners one to seven months after purchase. The study was fielded in April and May 2013. The study measures customer satisfaction with the selling dealer by examining four measures (listed in order of importance): salesperson (27%); delivery process (27%); dealership facility (23%); and working out the deal (22%).

Among the 12 nameplates included in the study, Ford, Hyundai-CAOA, Toyota, and Volkswagen perform particularly well in overall sales satisfaction in Brazil. The most influential reasons vehicle owners in Brazil purchased their specific make and model over others are: previous experience with the brand (cited by 11% of all owners); low price or payment/ability to obtain financing (9%); and reliability/durability of the vehicle (8%).

The study finds that shoppers consider an average of three vehicle brands during their shopping process. Moreover, while 84% of vehicle owners surveyed say they purchased their new vehicle to either replace another vehicle or to add another vehicle to their household, only 34% purchased their new vehicle from the same dealer from which they had purchased in the past.

"J.D. Power has found through its research that new-vehicle shoppers worldwide tend to gravitate toward the brands and vehicles with which they are familiar, that enjoy a solid reputation and that are reasonably affordable," said Sederstrom. "Yet when it comes to selecting a dealership in Brazil, shoppers show a willingness to try something new."

Test Drive Crucial to Making the Right Vehicle Choice
The study finds that a test drive is a crucial aspect of the sales experience. However, more than half of new-car buyers (51%) do not take a test drive either because they are not offered the opportunity or they choose not to.

"The test drive is an opportunity for shoppers to spend time with the vehicle they are considering and to help them determine if that is the right vehicle for them," said Sederstrom. "Creating a positive test drive experience is a challenge in many of Brazil's highest-volume markets due to urban congestion. However, having the vehicle in their inventory and allowing shoppers the time they need to drive the vehicle in a variety of conditions will help boost sales and increase sales satisfaction."

Based on the study, J.D. Power offers the following consumer tips:
  • When you're pre-shopping for vehicles on the Web, visit both the manufacturers' and the dealers' websites. Also, look for customer reviews of vehicles and dealers.
  • Read consumer magazines and Web articles to find independent comparisons of various vehicle makes and models. In any given year, one or two models usually get special praise from the critics.
  • Ask your friends and family for advice on individual salespeople. They can advise you as to which salespeople are the most honest and helpful, and which ones to avoid.
  • Visit dealerships at times when traffic is likely to be light. That way, your test drive will be easier to arrange, and you'll probably be able to drive the vehicle in a greater variety of situations.

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