Toyota bumped, VW and Ford lead

The 2009 Total Value Awards have been announced, and what do you know, it's more good news for Ford. First, a primer: the "the Total Value Index™" (TVI) took into account more than 48,000 buyers of 2009 models from September, 2008 to March, 2009. Assumptions made by owners of the car – expected reliability, fuel economy, price, etc – are then weighed against "the variables that make up the ownership experience," and voila, you have the TVI.

In last year's awards, Toyota took the top spot in seven of 23 categories, and three more if you count Lexus. The next best efforts were Honda and Chevrolet, each with three. Ford had none.

This year, Toyota and Lexus didn't win a single category. The Yaris hatch was bumped by the Ford Focus Coupe, the Prius was bumped by the Volkswagen Jetta and Passat sedans. The Toyota Solara convertible was ousted by the Ford Mustang convertible, and the Toyota Sequoia was beat by the Ford Expedition.

In all, Ford put four of its lineup in the winner's circle, with the F-250 and -350 bumping the GMC Sierra. VW had five in the top slots, making both Ford and VW the two best makers in the survey, with Honda again pulling up third with three. It's another bit of welcome press for Ford and VW. Now if Ford could just get those pesky labor contracts settled...

[Source: Strategic Vision]


PRESS RELEASE

The 2009 Total Value Awards®
Toyota led quality "Evolution" inspires Volkswagen, Ford "Revolution"

San Diego - Strategic Vision announces its 2009 Total Value Index™ (TVI) to help customers and automotive manufacturers understand what parts of the value equation are key motivators in the consumers' new car shopping process. Results show a revolution in buyer perceptions as, for the first time ever, Toyota Motor Sales does not have a vehicle leader in any segment. "Toyota has evolved to be defined by customers as a paradigm of reliable and durable vehicles," reports Darrel Edwards, Ph.D. Strategic Vision's Founder and Chairman. "Toyota meets an essential part of the purchase contract. Toyota provides buyers the Security needed to make the purchase. However, with so many manufacturers, inspired by Toyota, improving in perceived quality, customers have a wider range of options to choose from in our current economic climate. This allows them to find both value and love in their new vehicle."

Fueled in part by a recovering economy, this revolution has an impact across all vehicle segments, including luxury buyers. For example, the Hyundai Genesis is the Near Luxury Car Segment leader. The Genesis has brought luxury buyers to Hyundai as Genesis buyers have household incomes very close to BMW 3-Series and Mercedes C-Class buyers. We see many Lexus, Infiniti, Cadillac and BMW owners trading in their vehicles for the Genesis. Hyundai competes by meeting a customer's security needs with perceived quality and successful programs such as "Hyundai Assurance" combining price, warranty and value a customer can love.

"Durability alone and simply satisfying customers is not enough for buyers who demand both immediate and long term Value," says Alexander Edwards, President Strategic Vision. "Customers no longer feel constrained to consider only the 'usual suspects.' Because of increased quality, competitive prices and manufacturers fighting for their lives to provide Loveworthy‚Ą† vehicles, this is truly an exciting time for car buyers, today and in the near future," says Edwards. "Manufacturers are listening and reacting quickly to stay competitive."

Ford Motor Company, the most improved brand and corporation, led many segments with Focus Coupe, Mustang Convertible, Flex, Expedition and F-250. Volkswagen of America delivered the following leaders: CC Sedan, rating the highest TVI score of any model, Tiguan, Jetta and Audi Q7. American Honda continues its' strength with Value leaders like Odyssey and Ridgeline, and provided revolutionary leadership with an affordable hybrid, the Insight (Small Car Segment winner). "Insight opens the door, leading to a larger number of hybrid "wanna be's" (a good thing by the way) who will 'do the math,'" says Christopher Chaney, Strategic Vision's Vice President. "People will not buy hybrids in larger numbers until they have all their demands/needs met and 'the math' (MPG + 'Eco' + 'I Love This Car' + 'Right Price'= Purchase) makes sense," says Chaney. "Not an easy task, but look at MINI Cooper as having a correct solution to the equation. They have the ratings and sales to back it up," continues Chaney.

General Motors also provides some Value through innovation. Similar to perennial winner Honda Ridgeline, Chevrolet Avalanche is an example of the importance of "True Innovation" influencing Total Value. True Innovation is rich, makes an impact, is intuitive, motivational, in-depth and specific. "Truly Innovated" products are what will motivate fence sitters and initial consideration shoppers to become buyers. The Chevrolet Corvette Coupe continues to lead among Premium Coupe class and although some question Saab's future, the Saab 9-3 Convertible was the leader of Convertibles over $30k which is symbolic of buyers enjoying a sense of Value with unique character as an aspect of luxury.

Buyers rated the following vehicles top in Total Value (TVI) in their segments:


Segment Winner(s) TVI Score
Small Car Honda Insight 795
Small Multi-Function Ford Focus Coupe 801
Mid-Size Car Volkswagen Jetta Sedan
Volkswagen Passat Sedan
808
807
Mid-Size Multi-Function Volkswagen Jetta Wagon 769
Full-size (Larger) Car Volkswagen CC Sedan 846
Near-Luxury Car Hyundai Genesis 838
Luxury Multi-Function Mercedes-Benz R-Class Wagon 792
Luxury Car Mercedes-Benz S-Class 828
Specialty Coupe MINI Cooper Hatchback 827
Premium Coupe Chevrolet Corvette Coupe 840
Mid Specialty Honda Accord Coupe 802
Convertible Ford Mustang Convertible 799
Premium Convertible Saab 9-3 Convertible 807
Minivan Honda Odyssey 745
Small (Entry) Utility Volkswagen Tiguan 801
Mid-Size Crossover Utility Ford Flex 784
Mid-Size Traditional Utility Chrysler Aspen 766
Large Utility Ford Expedition 803
Near-Luxury Utility BMW X3 806
Luxury Utility Audi Q7 792
Standard Pickup Honda Ridgeline 748
Full-Size Pickup Chevrolet Avalanche 787
Heavy Duty Pickup Ford F-250/350 709


The Total Value Index™ was calculated from 48,228 buyers who bought 2009 models during September 2008 to March 2009. Strategic Vision has presented Total Value Awards™ annually since 1995. The calculation of Total Value begins with clear statements that owners make about value (e.g. expected reliability, expected fuel economy, price paid, expected resale value, innovation, etc.). Total Value then incorporates the importance of the variables that make up the ownership experience, and it is here that Strategic Vision finds "True Value" - the worth of the attribute weighed against the costs.

Strategic Vision is a research-based consultancy with thirty-five years of experience in understanding the consumers' and constituents' decision-making systems for a variety of clients, including most automotive manufacturers, American Airlines and Procter & Gamble. 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. J. Susan Johnson, CEO of Strategic Vision, coined the phrase "True Innovators" and we measure this construct in the detailed Total Value Index report. The ValueCentered® psychology and research methods were defined by Dr. Darrel Edwards 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 or visit www.strategicvision.com.