There is a gap between the promise of fuel efficiency made during the purchase process and the actual fuel efficiency experienced by vehicle owners in India.

In 2012, 67 per cent of new vehicle owners reported that their vehicle’s fuel efficiency was less than what their salesperson communicated to them during the purchase process, an increase of 5 per cent since 2008, JD Power Asia-Pacific 2012 India Initial Quality Study said on Friday.

“Fuel efficiency perceptions remain an area that the industry still needs to work on,” Mohit Arora, Executive Director at JD Power Asia Pacific, said.

“As technological advancements make vehicles more sophisticated, clearer communication during the purchase process will help set more realistic owner expectations on product performance,” he said.

He said it would be prudent for automakers and their dealer networks to continue efforts to bridge the gap between expectations and reality on product performance.

However, the study also said that there has been a reduction of 23 per cent in the incidence of problems related to excessive fuel consumption during the past five years, which indicates that automakers in India are producing more fuel-efficient vehicles.

Vehicle owners report fuel economy figures in 2012 that are 10 per cent higher than in 2008.

“Historically, fuel efficiency has been one of the key drivers of model consideration and purchase in India,” said Arora adding that the reduction in fuel consumption-related problems is a result of both the advancements in engine technology and the adoption of smaller engine capacities in the Indian automotive industry.

“The effectiveness of these initiatives is clearly visible via fewer owner-reported problems with excessive fuel consumption,” he added.

The 2012 India Initial Quality Study is based on evaluations from 8,688 owners who purchased a new vehicle between November 2011 and July 2012.

The study included 94 vehicle models from 16 manufacturers. The study was fielded from May to September 2012 in 25 cities across India.

(This article was published on November 30, 2012)
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