DOT, IIHS and 20 automakers commit to AEB standard on new vehicles

McLEAN, Va. — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced today a historic commitment by 20 automakers representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. auto market to make automatic emergency braking a standard feature on virtually all new cars no later than NHTSA’s 2022 reporting year, which begins Sept. 1, 2022.

Automakers making the commitment are Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA. The unprecedented commitment means that this important safety technology will be available to more consumers more quickly than would be possible through the regulatory process.

AEB systems help prevent crashes or reduce their severity by applying the brakes for the driver. The systems use on-vehicle sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warn the driver and apply the brakes if the driver does not take sufficient action quickly enough.

NHTSA estimates that the agreement will make AEB standard on new cars three years faster than could be achieved through the formal regulatory process. During those three years, according to IIHS estimates, the commitment will prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries.

“It’s an exciting time for vehicle safety. By making automatic emergency braking systems standard equipment on their vehicles, these 20 automakers will help prevent crashes and save lives,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “It’s a win for safety and a win for consumers.”

Based on mounting evidence that AEB effectively reduced crashes and injuries in the United States and around the world, NHTSA and IIHS issued a challenge to the industry in September 2015 to encourage automakers to voluntarily make AEB a standard feature. A series of meetings followed to establish details of the commitment.

“IIHS member companies strongly support the adoption of effective safety technologies,” said IIHS Board Chairman and CEO of American Family Insurance, Jack Salzwedel. “Deploying AEB on a wide scale will allow us to further evaluate the technology’s effectiveness and its impact on insurance losses, so that more insurers can explore offering discounts or lower premiums to consumers who choose AEB-equipped vehicles.”

“We’re getting these safety systems into vehicles much faster than what would have been otherwise possible,” said NHTSA Administrator, Dr. Mark Rosekind. “A commitment of this magnitude is unprecedented, and it will bring more safety to more Americans sooner.”

“The benefits of this commitment are far reaching, from injuries and deaths averted to the recovery of productivity that would otherwise be lost in traffic jams caused by the crashes prevented,” said IIHS Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer David Zuby. “It also assures that all Americans will benefit from this technology.”

“With roadway fatalities on the rise, the commitment made today has the potential to save more lives than almost anything else we can accomplish in the next six years,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council, who attended today’s announcement. “Including all models in the agreement ensures that safety isn’t for just those who can afford it.”

NHTSA and IIHS also announced that Consumer Reports will assist in monitoring automaker progress toward meeting the AEB commitment. Jake Fisher, Director of Auto Testing for Consumer Reports, said, “We have been calling on automakers to make automatic emergency braking standard in all new vehicles, and today is an important step toward reaching that goal. This proven technology is among the most promising safety advances we’ve seen since electronic stability control almost two decades ago. We look forward to working with NHTSA and IIHS to help put this plan into action and hold automakers accountable for their commitments.”

Today’s commitment will make AEB standard on virtually all light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 pounds or less beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2022. AEB will be standard on virtually all trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 8,501 pounds and 10,000 pounds beginning no later than Sept. 1, 2025.

As NHTSA continues its regulatory work in this area, NHTSA will track the progress industry is making towards its commitment.

The commitment takes into account the evolution of AEB technology. It requires a level of functionality that is in line with research and crash data demonstrating that such systems are substantially reducing crashes, but does not stand in the way of improved capabilities that are just beginning to emerge. The performance measures are based on real world data showing that vehicles with this level of capability are avoiding crashes.

To encourage further development of AEB technology, NHTSA will accelerate its research on more advanced AEB applications, including systems that reduce the risk of collisions with pedestrians. In December, NHTSA announced plans to rate AEB systems and other advanced technologies under its 5-Star Safety Ratings beginning in model year 2018.


Fact sheet:
Auto Industry Commitment to IIHS and NHTSA on Automatic Emergency Braking

Participating manufacturers: Audi, BMW, FCA US LLC, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan, Porsche, Subaru, Tesla Motors Inc., Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo Car USA — representing more than 99 percent of the U.S. new-car market.

Details of the commitment: Participating automakers commit to make AEB standard on virtually all light-duty cars and trucks with a gross vehicle weight of 8,500 pounds or less no later than Sept. 1, 2022, and on virtually all trucks with a gross vehicle weight between 8,501 pounds and 10,000 pounds no later than Sept. 1, 2025.

What is AEB? Automatic emergency braking helps prevent crashes or reduce their severity by applying a vehicle’s brakes automatically. The systems use on-board sensors such as radar, cameras or lasers to detect an imminent crash, warn the driver, and apply the brakes or increase braking effort if the driver does not take sufficient action.

Performance requirements: Participating manufacturers will ensure vehicles have both a forward collision warning system that meets a subset of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s current 5-Star Safety Ratings program requirements on the timing of driver alerts and an automatic braking system that earns at least an advanced rating in the current Insurance Institute for Highway Safety front crash prevention track tests. The baseline performance measures are a speed reduction of at least 10 mph in either the IIHS 12 or 25 mph tests, or a speed reduction of 5 mph in both of the tests.

Safety benefits: IIHS research shows that AEB systems meeting the commitment would reduce rear-end crashes by 40 percent. IIHS estimates that by 2025 — the earliest NHTSA believes it could realistically implement a regulatory requirement for AEB — the commitment will prevent 28,000 crashes and 12,000 injuries.

Monitoring progress: IIHS and NHTSA will monitor automakers’ progress toward the commitment and provide annual updates on that progress. Commitment letters from each of the manufacturers, along with annual submissions on their progress, will be posted at www.regulations.gov under docket number NHTSA-2015-0101.

Subaru, Mazda keep pace with lux brands in Consumer Reports’ survey


Audi, Subaru, Lexus, Porsche, BMW lead the pack

YONKERS, NY— Consumers don’t always have to spend top dollar to get a great car. The Consumer Reports 2016 Brand Report Card reveals mainstream brands like Subaru and Mazda can often deliver as much quality as more opulent luxury brands.

The highest overall brand scores in Consumer Reports’ annual indicator of which brands make the best cars went to Audi (80) and Subaru (78). Consumer Reports currently Recommends 100 percent of each brand’s models that it has tested. Luxury brands Lexus (76), Porsche (76), and BMW (76) rounded out the top five in CR’s rankings.

Mazda finished just outside the lead pack in sixth place, with GM’s premium brand Buick in seventh place. Consumer Reports is currently Recommending 100 percent of the Mazda models and 80 percent of the Buick models it has tested.

“It’s not enough to make cars that drive and handle well. Consumers are best served when those vehicles are also highly reliable and safe,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing.

In total, 30 brands were included in CR’s 2016 Brand Report Card. To determine which marques consistently deliver cars that serve consumers well, Consumer Reports tabulated the overall score, road test score, and predicted reliability results for each tested model of a brand. Then CR’s auto experts averaged those scores at the brand level as an indicator of which brands make the best cars.

CR’s rankings are based only on vehicles that are currently for sale on the market and that the organization has tested at its 327-acre Automotive Test Center in Connecticut. Audi and VW diesel vehicles that have been pulled from dealerships—following their recall and stop-sale last year for cheating on EPA emissions tests—are not included in the scoring. The rankings do not account for corporate practices or brand perceptions, and despite Audi’s score, Consumer Reports strongly believes that Volkswagen AG, the maker of VW and Audi vehicles, should be held accountable for manipulating emissions testing with its vehicles.

Scores for all 30 brands included in the Consumer Reports 2016 Brand Report Cards are available in the Annual Auto issue of Consumer Reports or by visiting the Consumer Reports 2016 Autos Spotlight on ConsumerReports.org.

Along with the Korean brand Kia (9th place), the largest Japanese brands rounded out the top 10. Toyota’s strong reliability score was enough to balance its middling road test score and secure eighth place.  Honda finished in the 10th spot with Consumer Reports Recommending 88 percent of its tested models.

Other domestic brands didn’t fare as well as Buick. Ford, Lincoln, and Chevrolet finished mid-pack and were largely bogged down by their inconsistent reliability scores. All Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) brands finished in the bottom third of the rankings, with Fiat coming in last.

This is the ninth consecutive year Consumer Reports has compiled and published its Car Brand Report Card. However, changes in the scoring methodology preclude comparing results from the 2016 report to information from any of the previous years.

This year, Consumer Reports does not have Brand Report Cards for Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Maserati, Ram, Smart, and Tesla, because the organization has fewer than two currently tested models from those makes. Ratings on individual models from those brands are available at ConsumerReports.org

The complete 2016 Brand Report Card is available in the Annual Auto Issue of Consumer Reports and online at ConsumerReports.org.  Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information.

 

Dealers that embrace technology have better sales, sales experience: Survey

Porsche Ranks Highest among Luxury Brands; MINI Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands for a Sixth Consecutive Year

The use of technology—i.e., tablets and computer displays—by dealers during the sales process can substantially improve customer satisfaction among new-vehicle buyers, according to the J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM released today.

The study, now in its 29th year, measures satisfaction with the sales experience among new-vehicle buyers and rejecters—those who shop a dealership and purchase elsewhere. Buyer satisfaction is based on four factors: working out the deal (17%); salesperson (13%); delivery process (11%); and facility (10%). Rejecter satisfaction is based on five factors: salesperson (21%); fairness of price (8%); experience negotiating (8%); facility (7%); and variety of inventory (7%). Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale. Overall sales satisfaction improves to 688 in 2015 from 686 in 2014.

Given an increasingly tech-savvy consumer, dealerships that integrate technology tools into their sales process deliver a superior customer experience. Dealers that fail to invest in consumer-facing technologies risk being trumped by competitors. According to the study, among both non-premium and premium buyers, use of tablets by sales personnel to perform such tasks as record customer vehicle needs, demonstrate vehicle features and display pricing information yields higher satisfaction with technology usage than when a tablet is not used (8.12 vs. 7.02 and 8.63 vs. 7.52, respectively, on a 10-point scale). Notably, handwritten price quotes have a negative impact on buyer satisfaction with technology usage, with a -0.55 point gap in satisfaction between non-premium buyers when this method is used and when it is not and a -0.45 gap between premium buyers.

Finance and insurance (F&I) products, such as extended warranties, pre-paid maintenance contracts and tire/road hazard protection are not only highly lucrative for dealers, but satisfaction is also higher among customers who are offered these options. For example, among non-premium owners, satisfaction is 46 points higher when a dealer offers them a pre-paid maintenance contract vs. when they do not (788 vs. 742, respectively), and among premium buyers the gap is 26 points (827 vs. 801). Moreover, when F&I product and pricing/payment options are presented on a computer or tablet screen, satisfaction is higher than when any other method is used, including printed materials, verbal quotes/descriptions and handwritten figures.

“With retail vehicle sales in the United States in 2015 forecast to reach 14.2 million units[1] and this positive momentum expected to carry into 2016, dealers face challenges in properly servicing a high volume of new-vehicle buyers who are increasingly tech savvy,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of the automotive retail practice at J.D. Power. “Dealerships should understand that customers want and trust technology and that it can enhance efficiencies. Dealers that disregard it may risk being left behind in 3-5 years. Customers are experiencing interesting uses of technology in many of their other retail transactions—and now expect this in auto.”

Gen Y[2]—the single most impactful generation on all markets due to numbers and purchase power—is among the buyers flocking to car lots and accounts for 29%1 of new-vehicle retail sales. Furthermore, average transaction prices for new vehicles exceed $30,000.1 “There is every incentive for dealers to use the most effective tools available to satisfy customers and build a relationship with them during the initial purchase process. This relationship should translate quickly into future service business. Implementing tools and processes that meet the needs of Gen Y will ultimately benefit all consumers,” said Sutton.

image004

Following are some of the key findings in this year’s study:

  • Sales Staff Remain Vital to Sales Experience:The most impactful sales satisfaction key performance indicator (KPI)—best practice—is interacting with a salesperson who understands the customer’s needs completely (+106 points). Such salespersons are good listeners, ask relevant questions and are able to deliver on customer requests. This KPI demonstrates that even with the growing prevalence of online communications and emphasis on an efficient transaction, the salesperson still plays a key role.
  • 5 of Top 10 KPIs Relate to Working Out the Deal:Among the most impactful KPIs are five that involve making customers feel comfortable (not pressured) and confident they are receiving the most transparent and up-front information to aid their decision-making while at the dealership. Delivering on these best practices improves satisfaction and builds loyalty and advocacy.
  • Gen Y Equally Interested in Safety and Protecting Vehicle Value as Other Generations:Among generational groups, Gen Y is as likely to purchase F&I products as other generations. For example, by generation, the following proportions of customers purchase tire/road hazard protection: Gen Y (21%); Gen X (21%); Boomer (20%); and Pre-Boomer (20%).

 image002

Brand Sales Satisfaction Rankings

Porsche ranks highest in sales satisfaction among luxury brands, with a score of 752, improving by 14 points from 2014. For a sixth consecutive year, MINI ranks highest among mass market brands, with a score of 762, a 35-point increase from 2014.

The 2015 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 27,831 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle in April or May 2015. The study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience and measures customer satisfaction with the selling dealer (satisfaction among buyers). The study also measures satisfaction with brands and dealerships that were shopped but ultimately rejected in favor of the selling brand and dealership (satisfaction among rejecters), and was fielded between July and September 2015.

Learn more about the 2015 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study at http://www.jdpower.com/resource/us-sales-satisfaction-index-ssi-study

 

GM nabs 8 awards – 5 for Chevy in JD Power 2013 Initial Quality Study

Porsche Ranks Highest Among Nameplates; Most problems customers face in the first 90 days are design-realted and can be fixed at the dealership.
BY GERRY MILES

In some welcome initial quality study information, GM received 5 awards in just announced JD Power initial quality ratings, with Chevy’s Avalanche (tie), Camaro (tie), ImpalaSilverado HD and Tahoe receiving kudos.

According to the study, the majority of problems owners experience with their new vehicle in the first 90 days of ownership are design-related rather than manufacturing defects. These design problems are far less likely to be successfully resolved at the dealership than are defects, according to the J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) released today at an Automotive Press Association luncheon at the Detroit Athletic Club.

The J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, which serves as the industry benchmark for new-vehicle quality, has been redesigned for 2013. The study has been enhanced to better measure the quality of today’s vehicles, particularly problems related to new technologies and features now being offered. In addition, the study, now in its 27th year, allows for more detailed feedback from new-vehicle owners.

Nearly two-thirds of the problems experienced in the first 90 days of ownership are related to the vehicle’s design, as opposed to components that malfunction. For example, the component may be working as designed, but owners deem it a problem because it may be difficult to understand or operate.

Because design problems are not the result of a breakdown or malfunction, just 9 percent of these problems are taken to a dealership within the first 90 days of ownership. When owners take their vehicle to a dealership for a design-related issue, the problem is fixed only 13 percent of the time. In contrast, 28 percent of owners who experience a defect or malfunction with their vehicle within the first 90 days of ownership take it to a dealership, and 42 percent of the time the dealership is able to fix the problem.

“Automakers are investing billions of dollars into designing and building vehicles and adding technologies that consumers desire and demand, but the risk is that the vehicle design, or the technology within the vehicle, in some cases may not meet customer needs,” said David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. “Keep in mind that automakers are trying to design vehicles that appeal to a broad array of consumers, and what works for the majority may not work for all. The successful companies will be those automakers that find a way to give customers the technology they want while at the same time making it sufficiently intuitive so all customers find it easy to use.”

Overall initial quality for the industry averages 113 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100).1 The study finds that many of the problems owners have with their vehicle relate to the driver interface, which includes voice recognition or hands-free technology, Bluetooth pairing for mobile phones, and the navigation system, among others.

Features that are difficult for owners to operate, hard to understand, or inconveniently located in the vehicle likely will remain a problem for the life of the vehicle.

“Owners desire, and in some cases are demanding, more content in their new vehicles, especially technology-related features, and automakers are trying to provide it,” said Sargent. “The majority of owners don’t experience problems, but those who do are frustrated. That’s understandable, especially when owners often keep their new vehicle for five years or more. In contrast, when consumers have a problem with their smartphone, they are likely to replace the phone much sooner.”

GM, Porsche atop 2013 IQS Rankings
Porsche ranks highest among nameplates included in the study, averaging 80 PP100. GMC ranks second with 90 PP100, and Lexus ranks third with 94 PP100. Infiniti (95 PP100) and Chevrolet (97 PP100) round out the five highest-ranked positions.

Among the 26 model-level segment awards:

  • Chevrolet received 5
  • Honda received 2
  • Kia received 2
  • Mazda received 2
  • Porsche received 2

Chevrolet models receiving an award are the Avalanche (tie), Camaro (tie), ImpalaSilverado HD and Tahoe.

Honda receives awards for the Civic and CR-V; Kia for the Soul and Sportage(tie).

Mazda for the MAZDA2 and MX-5 Miata.

Porsche for the Boxster and911.

The Lexus LS ranks highest in the Large Premium Car segment and achieves 59 PP100, the lowest average problem level among all models in the study.

Also receiving segment awards are Acura TLBuick Encore (tie); Cadillac EscaladeChrysler Town & CountryFord Mustang (tie); GMC Sierra LD (tie);Hyundai Genesis SedanInfiniti FXMercedes-Benz GLK-ClassNissan Muranosmart fortwo; and Toyota Camry.

JDPower2013IntQuality

Top Three Models Per Segment: CUV, MPV, Van, Pickups

Top Three Models Per Segment: CUV, MPV, Van, Pickups

Top Three Models Per Segment:

Top Three Models Per Segment:

Plant Assembly Line Quality Awards
Toyota Motor Corporation’s Lafayette B Plant (SIA) in Indiana, which produces the Toyota Camry, receives the Platinum Plant Assembly Line Quality Award for producing models that yield the fewest defects or malfunctions. Plant awards are based solely on average levels of defects and malfunctions and exclude design-related problems.

Among plants in the Asia Pacific region, the Toyota Motor Corporation Yoshiwara, Japan, (TABC) plant, which produces the Lexus LX and Toyota Land Cruiser, receives a Gold Plant Assembly Line Quality Award.

In the Europe and Africa region, Audi AG receives a Gold Plant Assembly Line Quality Award for its Neckarsulm, Germany, plant, which produces the Audi A4, A5, A6, A7 and A8.

The 2013 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than 83,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2013 model-year cars, trucks and multi-activity vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 233-question battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate identification of problems and drive product improvement. The study was fielded between February and May 2013.

The study is used by manufacturers worldwide to improve quality and by consumers to help them make more informed purchasing decisions. Throughout the years, initial quality has been shown to be a leading indicator of long-term durability, which directly impacts customer loyalty and purchase decisions.

JDPowerPlants

Porsche, Nissan dealers tops responding to internet inquiries: Piped Piper

Audi, Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler lauded for improvement; 1 in 4 internet queries goes unanswered after 24 hours
BY GERRY MILES

It may seem obvious if the web sites you check show a pop up screen with a salesmen at the ready to answer your posit on a new vehicle on the lot, that they want your business (and we all know how many check websites before they do their showroom shopping) but a new study sales that 1 in 4 web checks is unanswered after 24 hours.

Overall, the study by Pied Piper PSI® Internet Lead Effectiveness™ (ILE™) Study showed salespeople responded to internet inquiries within 30 minutes nearly half the time (48%).  Two years ago it took a full hour to receive the same percentage of salesperson responses. Pied Pipe said that today the first response to a customer internet inquiry is an auto response 79% of the time, a personal response 14% of the time, and no response of any type 7% of the time.

Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to actual industry sales success.

Audi, Porsche and Hyundai dealerships showed the most improvement from the previous year. Nissan, as well as Chrysler Group LLC brands Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler, recorded the second year in a row of solid gains, which pushed Nissan, Dodge and Jeep into the top five of the rankings.

“Dealership performance handling internet leads can be invisible from dealership management, or even worse, hidden behind misleading data,” said Fran O’Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC.  “Shining a light on actual performance is the first step.”

Chrysler Group’s recent efforts have successfully pushed Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler’s PSI-ILE rankings from 27th, 30th and 29th in 2011 to 3rd, 3rd and 6th in 2013.

The study said that Mini, Volvo and BMW salespeople were twice as likely to reply with an answer to specific customer questions as salespeople from Lincoln, Kia or Land Rover dealerships.  Dealers encourage follow-up by telephone if customers provide a phone number.  Salespeople from Ford, Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz dealerships all attempted to follow-up by telephone at least 60% of the time.  Salespeople from Lexus, GMC, Volkswagen and Land Rover dealerships were least likely to attempt to follow-up by telephone.

Of course you can’t call whom doesn’t give you a number, and that makes sense. And if you ping the dealer with a question and the sales folk are all busy at that time, response time can be delayed. That makes sense, too.

If nothing else, it shows that Internet tire-kicking is taken seriously and those who treat it so will likely reap the benefits in the showroom with a sale.

The 2013 Pied Piper PSI® Internet Lead Effectiveness™(ILE™) Benchmarking Study (U.S.A.) was conducted between April 2012 and March 2013 by submitting internet inquiries to a sample of 11,353 dealerships nationwide representing all major brands.

%d bloggers like this: