January 05, 2004 09:08 AM US Eastern Timezone
Delight: Revolutionary New Metric Exposes Japanese Gains in US Truck Market
SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 5, 2004--Determining that satisfaction among new vehicle owners was not enough, Strategic Vision, Inc. developed a new metric to help product planners develop delightful vehicles that will beat the competition in a highly competitive marketplace. The San-Diego-based research and automotive consulting firm today announced winners on its Total Delight Index(TM) (TDI).
"This more sensitive measure shows the emergence of Japanese truck strengths in 2003," states Dr. Darrel Edwards, Strategic Vision president. "Just a few years ago, American products would have owned the truck category, now Japanese imports are dominant, winning five out of nine categories."
Honda led the way with its Odyssey minivan and the Element small SUV. The Odyssey excels with its fold flat rear seats, showing innovation and functional superiority. The Element wins by transforming functional superiority captured by space and adjustability into superior comfort, previously a domestic advantage.
The domestics held on to three winning positions with the Ford Excursion, the Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 and the Dodge Ram 2500/3500. The highest scoring vehicle in the truck classes was the Land Rover Range Rover.
European imports dominated the car classes with Mini Cooper retaining its top position. The highest scoring vehicle on the 2003 Total Delight Index(TM) was the 2003 Mercedes SL followed by last year's highest scoring vehicle the BMW 7 Series. The Volkswagen Golf and the Audi A4 were also winners in their segments.
The domestic manufacturers showed poorly in cars, with only three winners. Ford Motor took two of them with the Mercury Marauder and Ford Mustang Convertible winning in their classes. Honda was the only Japanese representative in the car classes with the Honda Accord Sedan and the Honda Accord Coupe winning. Toyota was noticeably missing in car delight.
Following are the winners of the Most Delightful vehicles in their class (Total Delight Index(TM) scale):
Class Most Delightful Vehicle Delight Score
Small Car Pontiac Sunfire 565
Compact Car Volkswagen Golf 544
Mid-Sized Car Honda Accord Sedan 620
Larger Car Mercury Marauder 630
Small Specialty Coupes Mini Cooper 654
Medium Specialty Coupes Honda Accord Coupe 618
Near Luxury Car Audi A4 653
Luxury Car BMW 7-Series 751
(Less Than $30,000) Ford Mustang Convertible 573
(Greater Than $30,000) Mercedes SL 777
Vans and Trucks
Minivans Honda Odyssey 523
Small SUV Honda Element 595
Mid-Size SUV Nissan Murano 654
Full-Size SUV Ford Excursion 589
Near Luxury SUV Infiniti FX45 691
Luxury SUV Land Rover Range Rover 707
Compact Pickup Subaru Baja 526
Full-Size Pickup Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 588
Heavy Duty Pickup Dodge Ram 2500/3500 564
With a possible score of 1000, these latest scores demonstrate the enormous potential for improvement on product delight in all vehicle segments.
Arriving at this new metric has been a long process. In 1995, Strategic Vision introduced its Total Quality Index(TM) measure to the automotive industry. This more complete measurement of quality considered the whole ownership vehicle experience including the customers' emotional response.
"We found that we had 'stretched' satisfaction while enhancing the measurement of quality at the same time. However, my new measure goes further," says Edwards, inventor of the Total Delight concept. "A Delight rating requires a more positive, complete response than simply excellent or completely satisfied." asserts Dr. Edwards.
"Important to understanding delight was uncovering that 'satisfaction, even completely satisfied' meant the manufacturer had fulfilled the basic contract with the customer," continues Edwards. "You can even create an 'excellent' vehicle without delighting your customer. When you delight your customer, you create stronger bonds of emotional commitment to the product, the brand and the manufacturer."
The Total Delight Index(TM) is intended to help automotive planners, engineers and designers understand specifically how to do their job better. The scores can also direct customers to models with specific characteristics that might stand out in a class. Delight will be the more sensitive, informative, and useful score for 2003 and beyond.
Delighting customers with products that go beyond just satisfaction will be the key for the domestic manufacturers to make their ways back into the hearts of the consumers. For more information, contact Dr. Darrel Edwards or Alexander Edwards at 858-576-7141, or visit www.vision-inc.com