Tag Archives: automobiles

Vehicle Dependability Study

Cars are one of the most expensive and involved purchases that consumers make. They have an extended decision-making process, use multiple information sources, and include multiple evaluation criteria before making a final decision. The decisions that car buyers make impact not only their immediate budgets, but also their long-term budgets with respect to repairs and vehicle dependability (post-purchase behavior).

One source often used by consumers is the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. According to the most recent study, car buyers avoid models with poor reputations for dependability. The good news is that buyers do not have to spend a lot of money in order to get a dependable vehicle.

The study examines problems experienced over the past 12 months by original owners of 3-year cars. Eight categories are examined, including exterior, engine/transmission, audio/communication/entertainment/navigation, interior, features/controls/displays, the driving experience, heating/ventilation/air condition, and seats. The survey examined responses from 35,186 original owners of 2014 auto models.

Check out the report and see where your vehicle placed.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Poll students: What are factors that influence consumer purchases of cars?
  3. Divide students into teams.
  4. Have each team select two criteria and draw a positioning map for automobiles using those criteria (Ex: price and reliability).
  5. Show the J.D. Power report and video:
  6. http://www.jdpower.com/cars/awards/Vehicle-Dependability-Study-%2528VDS%2529-by-Category/1882ENG
  7. Based on the J.D. Power ranking, how could different auto manufacturers use the rankings to reposition their products?

Source:  J.D. Power, Manufacturing Business Technology

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Self-Driving Minivan from Waymo and Chrysler


It seems that we can’t get enough of self-driving vehicles. The technology keeps advancing rapidly, and now technology and automotive companies are teaming up to bring self-driving cars to the roads as soon as possible. Recently, Waymo (the self-driving car company spun-off from Google) and Fiat Chrysler announced that they are ready to deploy a fleet of self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans at the end of January.

Waymo is making all of the technology itself, building the cameras, sensors, and mapping technology. This work is bringing technology costs down by approximately 90% – from $75,000 in 2009 to $7,500 today. Working with Fiat Chrysler to integrate technology with the car’s architecture, the minivan is built with the specific mission of driving itself. Vehicles will take to the roads in another month in Mountain View, Calif., and Phoenix, Ariz. (The roomy, seven-person minivan does have a steering wheel though as it is required by many state laws.)

The van is equipped with three rings of 360 degree LIDAR sensors to give the vehicle both long and short range vision, allowing vehicles to see objects that are very close as well as spot tiny objects that are farther away. Waymo stated that it has more than 2.5 million miles on self-driving cars, and an additional one billion miles in simulations.

Ready for a ride?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show the video of the Waymo/Chrysler minivan:


  1. Another video of an interview with the CEO of Waymo: https://youtu.be/-pO-MIHGlgc
  2. Discuss competition: What are the direct competitors for this product? Indirect competitors?
  3. Divide students into teams. Have each team compare Waymo’s minivan with a competitive product. What are the points of difference (what makes the product different from competition)?
  4. Debrief the exercise.

Source:  New York Times, The Verge, CNBC, CNET, other news sources

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Good Things Come in Large Packages


It’s an oft-repeated phrase that “good things come in small packages.” But sometimes, a large package can be just as much fun to open. A new campaign from Hyundai in the U.K. illustrates how easy the company wants to make it for consumers to buy its cars, right down to having it delivered to the driveway.

The campaign, called “Click to Buy,” was launched in January in the U.K. to promote how easy it can be to buy a new car. Instead of going to a car dealership and getting confused by all the options, let alone all the price haggling with sales reps, Hyundai aims to make car buying as simple and easy to buy a car as the rest of your online shopping.

From the comfort of home, customers go to Hyundai’s Web site and get quotes, configure the car, apply for financing, and make a deposit. How does it work?

  1. Determine how much to spend.
  2. Configure cars and compare price quotes.
  3. Select the dealership.
  4. Apply for financing and pay a deposit.
  5. Pick up the car – or have it delivered (without the box unfortunately).

The campaign is geared to make car buying, simple, transparent, and free of price haggling. With six models of cars, various options can be configured and explored.

Now if only it really came in the large box!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the role of packaging in marketing.
  2. Poll the class about their car buying experiences. What do students like? Dislike?
  3. Show the advertisement video: https://youtu.be/XM0MIrATFXw
  4. Show Hyundai’s U.K. Web site: http://clicktobuy.hyundai.co.uk/
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a car manufacturer and model. What is the process for buying a car, and obtaining pricing, from the different manufacturers?
  6. Debrief the exercise by having students develop a process for other car manufacturers.

Source:  Ad Age Daily

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