TVS Centra zooms past others in customer satisfaction

MUMBAI: The recently launched TVS Centra has zoomed past all others in the ?executive? bikes segment in customer satisfaction according to the findings of the 2004 total customer satisfaction study released by TNS.

At the make-level, Hero Honda continues to dominate the volume segments, while Royal Enfield enjoys a strong lead in the niche cruiser market, the study revealed.



Representing the responses of more than 6500 new-motorcycle buyers towards the performance of over 30 models in the key areas of sales satisfaction, product quality, motorcycle performance and design, after-sales service, brand image, and cost-of-ownership, the 2004 Motorcycle Total Customer Satisfaction (MTCS) study conducted by TNS specialist division, TNS Automotive, is the largest syndicated motorcycle study in India. The TCS index score provides a measure of commitment a given model or brand enjoys with its customers, informed an official release.

Joining the TVS Centra in the coveted number one slot, the Hero Honda CD Dawn, the Bajaj Pulsar and the Royal Enfield Machismo emerge as leaders in the standard, premium, and cruiser segments, respectively.

Furthermore, in addition to its top ranking customer satisfaction score, the Centra records the industry-best fuel efficiency at 69.5 kilometers per litre according to the owner-reported data.

"The industry average TCS score has improved marginally by one index point from 2003. The study reveals that manufacturers are meeting their customers? expectations in regards to performance and design and product quality, but fall short in the areas of after-sales service and cost of ownership," said TNS Automotive General Manager (Asia Pacific) Rajeev Lochan.

The challenges in managing customer expectations over time as the length of ownership increases is a finding common to both TNS? 2003 and 2004 studies. Compared to an average TCS score of 82 for one to six months owners, the score for post-warranty customers drops by seven index points to 75.

"Hero Honda, particularly Splendor, performs with a greater degree of consistency in satisfying their customers throughout the ownership period. The strong customer commitment that Splendor enjoys is not surprising and is reflected in its equally strong market place performance," Lochan.

The study also revealed that new models/ model variants such as Hero Honda Passion+, Hero Honda Karizma, and TVS Centra have performed well in meeting customer expectations, especially on performance and design.

In addition to the customer evaluations on various aspects of their ownership experience, this study also examines key trends in the industry. Some of the emerging trends are:

* Nearly one-fifth of owners surveyed indicate a preference for upgrading to cars within the next three years. Among those intending to purchase a new car in the near future, the budget ranges between Rs 200,000 to Rs 400,000.

* Increase in owners purchasing additional/ replacement motorcycles. Among owners who purchased a new bike in 2004, 26 per cent bought it as an additional/ replacement to another two-wheeler. This represents an eight-percentage point increase compared to those who purchased a new bike in 2001.

* Among makes currently not available in the market, Honda finds a strong preference. The preference is significant among owners of executive and premium bikes, particularly from Yamaha and Hero Honda.

* Weak preference for Chinese bikes with over 70 per cent owners either unaware or rejecting the brand.

"These trends are indicative of a shift in the market composition and its impact on future car sales," observes Lochan. "Small car manufacturers will certainly benefit from the rapidly growing base of motorcycle owners, while Honda?s entry into the motorcycle market will pose a stiff challenge to its competitors."

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