“Nobody Loves Their Cars Like Gen Y,” says Strategic Vision, Announcing the Most Loved Vehicles of 2015

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–“Love” is the holy grail of the customer experience. Strategic Vision
research shows that true advocacy and brand loyalty begins not when
buyers are simply “satisfied,” but when they truly love their
experience. With this in mind, Strategic Vision has created the Customer
Love Index (CLI). This new metric continues the company’s rich tradition
of cutting-edge research, and reveals in their most recent automotive
research which vehicles are doing the best at creating love, and shows
why they can be more successful than their competition.

CLI research shows that Gen Y loves their car even more than many
suggest. Strategic Vision has always held to the idea that millennials
love their vehicles more than everyone else, and the Customer Love Index
confirms this. It shows a staggering difference between millennials, who
give an average CLI score of 470, and the rest of the industry, which
gives an average score of about 400. Not only are their scores higher,
but millennials are much more likely to be buying mass-market vehicles
designed to maximize value, not love. Essentially, they love their
compact hatchbacks so much that they rate them similarly as owners of
luxury convertibles.

When younger buyers are able to enter the luxury market, they have a
substantial impact. Buyers under forty singlehandedly gave awards to the
Infiniti QX80 (Luxury SUV) and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 5-Door
(Near-Luxury Utility) as their undeniable enthusiasm tipped the scales
in favor of those models. “As new younger buyers enter any market they
essentially crush hard on their choices, believing that their first love
will always be their only,” reports Christopher Chaney, Senior Vice
President of Strategic Vision. “Of course, this isn’t new to
millennials. Every generation in their youth can remember their first
love and the deep emotional impact it had on their lives, and future
decisions in life,” Chaney continues. Also shown in the research is that
hybrid owners are NOT in love with their vehicles as much as some think,
and the sales numbers tend to support this. Hybrid vehicles are billed
as innovative and great for both your wallet (via MPG) and planet Earth.
Yet even minivans, which are often disparaged as being bland, boring,
and completely uncool, obtain higher CLI scores than most hybrid
vehicles. No matter the fuel type, a vehicle must first address the
values and priorities of the customer. Although hybrid vehicles satisfy
the needs of owners in having an environmentally friendly vehicle, most
hybrid and many electric vehicles fail to generate enough love to stay
viable in the future, because they only satisfy “professed” (MPG)
long-term financial benefits or emissions-environmental factors.
Focusing on the right product enhancements and messaging, however, these
Alternative Powertrain (APT) vehicles have the potential to sell at much
higher rates even if they have higher prices. For example, Toyota Prius
models may have dominated this space in sales, but not because of being
among the first to market, but because of the love customers have
professed about unique exterior styling and interior innovations such as
the instrument panel, and how it displays information at a luxury
segment level.

“Most US customers will not spend more than an additional $50 per month
for a vehicle just for MPG enhancing or environmentally friendly
powertrain. Instead, creating a product that customers can love will
allow buyers to spend significantly more money because it has the right
balance of styling, innovation, performance and environmental
friendliness,” says Alexander Edwards, President of Strategic Vision.

SUMMARY OF THE WINNERS

Manufacturing origins are equally represented by segment winners, and
each one takes advantage of what it does best to create an experience
that buyers love. Asian automakers (10 winning models) do well in the
more economically minded segments, European automakers (9) do well in
the more luxury oriented segments, and Domestic automakers (10) do well
in the more “American” segments of trucks, utility vehicles, and
convertibles.

Volkswagen Group of America (VWGoA) consistently delivers vehicle
experiences customers love. They earned the distinction of being the
most loved full-line corporation. It is important to note that the
results are based on feedback from people who bought their new vehicle
before September 2015. When trust is violated, love is diminished. The
good news for VWGoA is that they will be working from a position where
customers have initially loved their experience. When love is lost,
that’s when the real work begins.

Impressive is Porsche Macan having the highest CLI score in the industry
among qualifying models. The Macan’s domination in almost every category
gives it a score of 629, making it one of only two models to reach the
600-point plateau.

Many of the winners from this year bring something unique and exciting
to the table that may not appeal to everyone but is certainly loved by
those who buy them. The Fiat 500 Hatchback (Micro Car), Fiat 500e (Small
APT Car), BMW i3 (Near-Luxury APT Car), and Ford Flex all fit into this
category. So do the Kia Soul (Small Multi-Function Car), MINI Cooper
Hardtop (Specialty Coupe), and Kia Sedona (Minivan) to some extent. In
these cases, the uniqueness of the vehicle brings a distinct sense of
individuality to buyers.

In some cases, a quality new vehicle has created a buzz and excitement
that has led to a high CLI score. The BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo (Luxury
Multi-Function Car), Chevrolet Colorado (Standard Pickup), and Jeep
Renegade (Entry SUV) all do this and have good enough products to keep
momentum going in the near future.

Subaru has grabbed hold of the mid-size car segments. Feelings of love
come less from the WRX and Outback themselves and more from the fact
that they are a “Subaru.” It turns out that love is what makes a Subaru
a Subaru. Since their “Love” marketing campaign started in 2008,
Subaru’s sales and market share have almost tripled. That is the power
of love. Other winners satisfy everything demanded of a vehicle in their
category and add something leverageable on top. The Mazda3 Sedan (Small
Car) typifies this by providing everything buyers need from a small car
while adding performance and styling, which gives buyers a sense of
excitement. Other cases involve the prestige of the Mercedes CLA-Class
(Near-Luxury Car), the value of the Nissan Titan (Full-Size Pickup), the
towing capability of the GMC Sierra 2500/3500 (Heavy Duty Pickup), and
the refined feeling of the GMC Yukon XL (Full-Size Utility).

Based on Strategic Vision’s quantitative NVES study of over 44,000
owners, the Customer Love Index results presented below represent the
Most Loved Vehicles in their segments as rated by new vehicle buyers:

                   
Micro Car Fiat 500 Hatchback 449
Small Car Mazda3 Sedan 438
Small Multi-Function Car Kia Soul 408
Small APT Car Fiat 500e 408
Mid-Size Car Subaru WRX 451
Mid-Size Multi-Function Car Subaru Outback 408
Mid-Size APT Car Toyota Prius / Toyota Camry Hybrid

354/354

Full-Size Car Dodge Charger 543
Near-Luxury Car Mercedes CLA-Class 564
Near-Luxury APT Car BMW i3 474
Luxury Car Mercedes S-Class Sedan 563
Luxury Multi-Function Car BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo 466
Specialty Coupe MINI Cooper Hardtop 547
Premium Coupe Chevrolet Corvette Coupe 598
Standard Convertible Ford Mustang Convertible 564
Premium Convertible/Roadster Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 617
Standard Pickup Chevrolet Colorado 423
Full-Size Pickup Nissan Titan 482
Heavy Duty Pickup GMC Sierra 2500/3500 467
Entry SUV Jeep Renegade 490
Entry CUV Hyundai Tucson 451
Mid-Size SUV Dodge Durango 465
Mid-Size CUV Ford Flex 460
Full-Size Utility GMC Yukon XL 483
Near-Luxury Utility Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 5-Door 516
Luxury SUV Infiniti QX80 524
Luxury CUV Porsche Macan 629
Minivan Kia Sedona 391
Best Model Porsche Macan 629
Best Full-Line Corporation Volkswagen Group of America 422
 

Strategic Vision is a research-based consultancy with over thirty-five
years of experience in understanding the consumers’ and constituents’
decision-making systems for a variety of Fortune 100 clients, including
most automotive manufacturers. Its unique expertise is in identifying
consumers’ comprehensive, motivational hierarchies, including the
product attributes, personal benefits, value/emotions and images that
drive perceptions and behaviors, using ValueCentered® psychology.
Strategic Vision also uses comprehensive algorithms and discriminating
scales that measure customer love and go beyond typical outdated and
ineffective satisfaction scales. ValueCentered® psychology and research
methods were defined by Darrel Edwards, Ph.D. in 1968, and enhanced by
co-founders J. Susan Johnson (1972) and Sharon Shedroff (1975). For
further information, contact Alexander Edwards or Christopher Chaney at
(858) 576-7141.

Contacts

Strategic Vision
Alexander Edwards / Christopher Chaney,
858-576-7141