JD Power: Motorcycle Satisfaction Study

Motorcycle Customer Satisfaction

Managing owner expectations through proactive communication and providing personal service has a considerable positive impact on overall satisfaction with the motorcycle ownership experience, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2010 U.S. Motorcycle Competitive Information StudySM released today.

The study, now in its 13th year, measures owner satisfaction with new motorcycles by examining six major factors of the overall ownership experience: product; build quality; cost of ownership; sales; service; and warranty.

The study identifies a number of action items based on key diagnostics that most significantly impact the overall motorcycle ownership experience.

These best practices can be used by manufacturers and their dealers to improve overall satisfaction.

Two of these best practices, which are common among high performers, are managing owner expectations through proactive communication (including following up after a sales visit) and providing personal service (including a fluid and seamless process in servicing their motorcycle).

When best practices such as these are met, satisfaction averages 878 on a 1,000-point scale-more than 50 index points above the industry average of 827. In comparison, when manufacturers and their dealers do not deliver on these best practices, satisfaction averages only 752.

Dennis Goodman
(Senior Research Manager of the Powersports Practice at J.D. Power and Associates) says: "In an industry currently confronted with limited consumer spending, it is to the advantage of motorcycle manufacturers and dealerships to identify and implement the best practices that satisfy owners that may lead to higher revenue."

"Slightly more than one-half of motorcycle owners state that their brand missed on two or more best practices, indicating that there is room for improvement across the industry."

In addition, the more best practices that are delivered, the more likely the motorcycle owner is to recommend and repurchase the brand.

For example, among motorcycle owners whose brand delivered on all of the best practices, 84 percent say they "definitely will" recommend the brand, and 63 percent say they "definitely will" repurchase the brand. In comparison, just 65 percent of motorcycle owners whose brand missed four or more best practices say they "definitely will" recommend the brand, and less than one-third say they "definitely will" repurchase.

The study also finds that quality has declined from 2009, with the industry average increasing by 29 problems per 100 motorcycles (PP100) to 152 PP100-the same level reported in the 2008 study. One-half of all owners report experiencing at least one problem with their motorcycle, with most of the problems being engine related (44%).

Among motorcycle owners who experience at least one problem, overall satisfaction is significantly lower than among owners who did not experience a problem with their new motorcycle (792 vs. 862, respectively). The problems that have the greatest negative impact on the overall satisfaction score are gearshift problems, clutch chatter and the engine lacking power.

The study also finds the following key trends:
Sales volumes and revenue of ancillary goods and services tend to be considerably higher-by an average of $957-at motorcycle dealerships that provide a highly satisfying experience vs. dealerships that do not.
The population of motorcycle buyers is aging, with the average rider age increasing from 40 to 49 years since 2001-an indication that many owners may soon exit the market. Additionally, the percentage of first-time buyers has declined for a second consecutive year, making it more critical now than ever for manufacturers to focus on attracting new customers.

The 2010 U.S. Motorcycle Competitive Information Study includes responses from 8,490 owners who purchased a new 2009 or 2010 model-year on-road or dual-sport motorcycle between September 2009 and May 2010. The study was fielded between September and October 2010.

About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction. 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
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a global information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2009 were $5.95 billion. Additional information is available at mcgraw-hill.com.


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