Tag Archives: product positioning

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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Lamborghini SUV Targets Female Buyers


Quick: What comes to mind when picturing a Lamborghini sports car? And, who comes to mind as the ideal customer for the Lamborghini cars? Most likely, you said the customer is a wealthy male. After all, Lamborghini uses a bull as its brand. But, consider what would have to change if the company were to refocus its efforts to attract a new customer base – females.

Lamborghini is doing just this – the company is working on a new SUV model which is due to the marketplace by 2018. It hopes the new SUV will attract women and families as primary customers. This is a big switch for Lamborghini – currently only 5% of its global buyers are female. Money isn’t the main issue for women – the issue is that women don’t think the manufacturer understands the needs of female buyers.

Women are a large and valuable percentage of the SUV market. According to J.D. Power & Associates, women buy 53% of all small SUVs, and 48% of all small premium SUVs. And, for the single woman market, sales of premium small SUVs grew by 177% from 2010 to 2015. Plus, two-thirds of female buyers report that their vehicle purchase decision is entirely their own.

So, what do women want? Well, it sure isn’t a “shrink it and pink it” answer. In order to gain female buyers, Lamborghini is going to have to show that it understands the needs of women and families. The new SUV will need to be one that women can use often, and in comfort.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Visit Lamborghini’s Web site and view several of the car models: https://www.lamborghini.com
  2. Ask students to describe the target market for the company.
  3. Also, have students develop a positioning map for Lamborghini cars.
  4. Now, talk to students about changing the target market.
  5. Divide students into teams. Have each team prepare a re-positioning map for Lamborghini to reflect a new target market of women.
  6. What happens to the marketing mix when the target market changes?
  7. Have students develop the 4Ps for the new SUV: product, price, place, and promotion.

Source:  Bloomberg News

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Consumer Report’s Annual Car Reliability Rankings


Other than homes (and education), probably the most expensive purchase the average household makes is for a car. Since it is so large a part of our lives, automotive reliability is a key issue for Americans. Cars that are not reliable cost consumers’ time and money, and most notably, affects overall satisfaction and willingness to buy the brand again.

Research company Consumer Reports publishes an annual reliability survey based on data gathered from its subscribers. The report is based on those who have owned or leased more than a half a million vehicles, from years 2000 to 2016, covering more than 300 models of automobiles. This year’s survey includes the ranking of 29 brands, with eight brands listed as “more reliable,” 10 brands ranked as “reliable,” and 11 brands ranked as “less reliable.”

In the top eight more reliable brands were Lexus, Toyota, Buick, Audi, Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, and Infiniti. The next 10 reliable brands included BMW, Honda, Subaru, Acura, Nissan, Mini, Chevrolet, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Ford. Among the less reliable brands were Volvo, Lincoln, Cadillac, Volkswagen, Jeep, GMC, Tesla, Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram

Did your vehicle make the reliable list?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Consumer Reports’ report on car reliability: http://www.consumerreports.org/car-reliability/car-brands-reliability-how-they-stack-up/
  2. Show the video of car rankings: http://youtu.be/g_RkhbF2CVg
  3. An FAQ on the research methodology can be found at: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2011/10/consumer-reports-car-reliability-faq/index.htm
  4. Discuss how companies can use the report in their marketing.
  5. What should companies that didn’t make the top list do to promote their vehicles?
  6. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for a category of automobiles.

Source:  Consumer Reports

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