Reputation is everything, according to a new survey by J.D. Power and Associates. The 2012 Avoider Study found that 43 percent of buyers who steer clear of a particular model due to quality concerns do so merely because of common knowledge. Ratings and reviews – our stock in trade – were cited by 38 percent, while previous ownership of a model caused scorn in only 14 percent of respondents.

"The fact that so many new-vehicle buyers may be basing their opinions about quality and reliability on pre-conceived [sic] notions, rather than concrete information or data, demonstrates how important it is for automakers to promote the quality and reliability of their models," said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power and Associates, in what reads like a nakedly self-serving press release.

Other interesting data from the survey included an all-time high for xenophobia, with respondents who avoided import models because of their origin rising to 14 percent, the highest in the nine years of the study. Buyers avoiding domestics for the same reason dropped to six percent, the lowest in the study's history.

The most influential reason for purchasing a specific model in 2012 was fuel economy, trumping reliability, "the deal," and exterior styling, which were tops in 2010.

To read the entire press release, click past the jump.
Show full PR text
J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Many New-Vehicle Buyers Avoid Certain Brands Due to "Conventional Wisdom" about Reliability, Rather Than Specific Information
Avoidance of Models Due to Foreign Origin Increases to Historically High Level


WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Jan. 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 40 percent of new-vehicle buyers who avoided a particular model due to quality or reliability concerns say they based their opinions on conventional wisdom or common knowledge rather than personal experience, reviews, ratings or recommendations, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Avoider Study,SM released today.

The study, now in its ninth year, examines the reasons consumers fail to consider-or avoid-particular models when shopping for a new vehicle.

Perceptions of vehicle reliability have consistently been a prominent reason for avoiding a particular brand or model. The study finds that, among buyers who avoid a particular model due to concerns about quality and reliability, a sizable proportion-43 percent-say their avoidance was due to "the brand's vehicles, in general, are known to have poor quality/reliability." A smaller percentage-38 percent-based their avoidance decision on ratings and reviews, while an even smaller proportion-14 percent-based their decision on prior ownership of the model.

"The fact that so many new-vehicle buyers may be basing their opinions about quality and reliability on pre-conceived notions, rather than concrete information or data, demonstrates how important it is for automakers to promote the quality and reliability of their models," said Jon Osborn, research director at J.D. Power and Associates. "For some brands, namely those that have created marked improvements in their quality and reliability in recent years, it's even more vital to tell their improvement story, rather than just waiting for perceptions to change over time."

According to Osborn, it's also important for consumers to challenge their perceptions about what they may think they know about the quality and reliability of a particular model. The automotive industry has undergone significant quality and dependability improvement during the past decade, and fierce competition has created an environment in which only the strongest brands and models can survive. Although a brand or model may have had a poor reputation for quality or reliability in the past, actual quality or reliability performance may have improved since then. Seeking reviews and recommendations from trusted sources is particularly helpful in making consideration or avoidance decisions.

The study also finds that the percentage of buyers who avoided import models because of their origin has increased to 14 percent in 2012-the highest level since the inception of the study in 2003. Conversely, the percentage of buyers who avoided domestic models due to their origin has declined to 6 percent, a historically low level.

"The decline in avoidance of U.S. models due to their origin reflects a buy-American sentiment that surfaced as the economic recession led to domestic job losses and adversely affected major U.S. institutions such as the Detroit Big Three," said Osborn. "In addition, the quality, dependability and appeal of domestic models has improved during the past several years, as well, and this may also be a cause for declining avoidance."

The study finds that gas mileage is the most influential reason for purchasing a particular vehicle model in 2012, surpassing the influence of other key reasons such as reliability, the deal and exterior styling, which were the most influential purchase reasons in 2010.(1)

With the emphasis of the importance of gas mileage affecting both the automotive market and consumer purchase decisions, certain alternative fuel vehicles-the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Toyota Prius-captured much attention from new-vehicle buyers. While both gas mileage and environmental impact were among the two most-often-cited purchase reasons for each of these models, there were marked differences between the models for the next-most-cited reason. For the Volt, the image the model portrays is a prominent reason for purchase, while buyers cite low maintenance costs for the Leaf and reliability for the Prius.

Among buyers who avoided the Volt, purchase price was the most-often-cited reason, while the most prominent avoidance reason for the Leaf and Prius is exterior styling. For the Volt and Leaf, a notable proportion of buyers cited the models' small size as an avoidance reason. For the Prius, performance is a prominent reason for avoidance.

The 2012 Avoider Study is based on responses from approximately 24,045 owners who registered a new vehicle in May 2011. The study was fielded between August and October 2011.

(1) J.D. Power and Associates last issued the Avoider Study in December 2010. Comparisons between the 2010 and 2012 studies span a one-year period, rather than a two-year period. The study was not published in 2011.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company providing performance improvement, social media and customer satisfaction insights and solutions. The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies
McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two public companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2010, the Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 78 Comments
      The Other Bob
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Other interesting data from the survey included an all-time high for xenophobia, with respondents who avoided import models because of their origin rising to 14 percent," Autoblog, I read you and comment here a lot, but you reached a real low. Avoiding an import brand isn't xenophobia. You are real jerks to say so. Some nations are protectionist and have tariff and non tariff barriers to American made and other imported products. I think you know this. People like myself avoid products made in Japan and other locations becuase one way trade is bad for our economy and bad for the auto industry. It isn't about the people or xenophobia, it is about our screwed up trade system. If a country is open to our products, much like Canada is, we should support their economy. If we sign a free trade agreement with S. Korea, which will drop the tariff's on our exported cars, we should then support Korean made cars.
        jtav2002
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Other Bob
        Actually most people being anti-import has nothing to do with tariffs and all that since most don't understand any of that. Most people buy solely because of the buy American mentality. Not saying that's good or bad, but it's the pre-concieved notion that they're automatically better supporting the economy even though they don't know where the car was actually made. They just assume buying American is always better for the economy.
        Jorsher
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Other Bob
        When the cars are built here, and parts sourced here, and labor purchased here, no tariffs are being paid. Read further down in the comments.
      Hector David Salinas
      • 3 Years Ago
      I usually read car reviews to form a general idea about the advantages and issues with a car I am considering. But often those review mean nothing to me. Why? Because they usually are focused on how a car performs on the race track. I am not buying a car for racing, but to run errands and drive with my family. So usually when I read that a car has too much of a soft suspension I think, "Good, it must have a very comfortable ride" . The little details are what interest me like are the wipers fast enough, do the headlights do a great job at night (my current Santa Fe has terrible lights at night). How much legroom, trunk space etc. does a car has. Unexciting things that I use every day.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hector David Salinas
        [blocked]
        JF
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hector David Salinas
        Like you, I'm interested in the more practical aspects of car ownership. I enjoy the video reviews at www.drivencarreviews.com; very informative and down-to-earth. Check them out (I'm not affiliated with Driven or Tom, just a fan of the site).
      Xedicon
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't believe it took a study to garner this information. Really? Wait for it - *shock face* There have been many, many, MANY occasions where I see that someone bought a car knowing nothing more than what company the badge on the front represents. I even once got a response from a recent buyer when asking what car they bought, "it's one of those Japanese ones." Yeah...
        bobmarley
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Xedicon
        its amazing how so many people make big decisions like. With buying cars and even voting for POTUS. When you hear people say things like "I wouldn't vote for him because he sounds like a liar when he talks"??? How can people buy cars and vote for the most important thing they will ever vote on doing any research or knowing anything. A guy from my work bought a highlander and spent almost 6 months trying to find the one he wanted with the right options and price. Once he bought it I asked him if it was AWD or FWD and he said "hmmmm I think its all wheel drive?".
        bobmarley
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Xedicon
        its amazing how so many people make big decisions like. With buying cars and even voting for POTUS. When you hear people say things like "I wouldn't vote for him because he sounds like a liar when he talks"??? How can people buy cars and vote for the most important thing they will ever vote on doing any research or knowing anything. A guy from my work bought a highlander and spent almost 6 months trying to find the one he wanted with the right options and price. Once he bought it I asked him if it was AWD or FWD and he said "hmmmm I think its all wheel drive?".
        ruissimo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Xedicon
        Watch... it was probably a Hyundai or Kia... XD
      Shoe
      • 3 Years Ago
      It may be easy for many to dismiss "brand reputation" as less scientific, but often our long held experiences with a manufacturer do have a source. I believe that we as drivers and owners can see patterns of reliability that are not always reflected by testing and statistics. Also basing "quality" on recalls or the number of things that happen to break in the first few months while the car was under warranty is a total farce. Dependability and durability have to due with truly long term. If the "average" age of vehicles our roads is over 10 years, than why is there not more focus on the reliability of vehicles out to 15 years? How about an index for the cost of ownership for the first year out of warranty? What determines long term quality and dependability is more the attitude and the system that built the product than the product itself. If a manufacturer has as it true goal and passion to create the best vehicles it is capable of producing within its means it is more likely to do so than one whose true goal is to balance costs and revenue to provide a decent profit for it's shareholders. Both are capable of making great products or mistakes, but the former is more likely to have repeatable success and an earned reputation for quality.
      bobmarley
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is understandable. Personal experiences can leave people scarred for life...or even shared experiences among freinds and family members. So many peoples first car have a HUGE influence on their future cars whether it be good or bad...the first car is always a well kept memory This is why quality sells, when brands try to cut corners to increase profit margins while decreasing quality they soon are greeted with a bad reputation ie GM and Chrysler.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Shiftright
      • 3 Years Ago
      LEAVE YUGO ALONE!!!!!.....
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 3 Years Ago
      Image is everything. Brand is king and product is largely irrelevant. This should not be news.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Halldór Björn Halldó
      Not exactly surprising results. I mean how else would Range Rover stay alive?
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Halldór Björn Halldó
        [blocked]
      SloopJohnB
      • 3 Years Ago
      That is because ratings and reviews are so last millennium. Who can you trust? CR is pretty liberal and not enthusiast-oriented, I don't care what they say. Car and Driver, etc., all seem to be shills for the companies that 'lend' them the specially tuned and kitted cars they test, if they don't give them write-ups for the C&D writers to start from.
        J
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        Automobile Magazine, is the one to read, if you want unbiased reviews and stories on carrs.
        tipdrip215
        • 3 Years Ago
        @SloopJohnB
        They're good for appliances and stuff like that, but CR could probably review which of my dog's turds stink worst better than they could review automobiles.
      donnieorama
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'll file this under the 'DUH' category.
    • Load More Comments