Ger­many still rules

Townsville Bulletin - - Today’s Television -

GER­MAN car­mak­ers still rule in Aus­tralia. New re­search shows that de­spite the mil­lions ri­vals spend to pro­mote their cars and names, it is still BMW, Benz, Volk­swa­gen and Audi that do best with own­ers. Not only that, but Aus­tralia’s own — GM Holden, Ford and Mit­subishi — were a poor third af­ter Ja­panese car­mak­ers in­clud­ing Subaru, Honda and, de­spite its de­sire to be known as a lo­cal, Toy­ota. The work was done by the Univer­sity of Melbourne, which sur­veyed 2000 car own­ers to dis­cover how — and if — they would rec­om­mend their cars to friends. The team used a sys­tem called the net pro­moter score (NPS), which mea­sures the dif­fer­ence be­tween the per­cent­age of own­ers who give high re­sponses and the num­ber who give low ones. The re­sults are based on the sin­gle ques­tion: How likely is it that you would rec­om­mend this com­pany to a friend or a col­league? BMW did best, ac­cord­ing to as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor Mark Rit­son who led the study, with a score of 59. Volk­swa­gen was next on 47, fol­lowed by Audi on 45 off the back of a big sales and mar­ket­ing push in Aus­tralia, then MercedesBenz on 39. Mit­subishi and Holden both scored mi­nus 16, but Ford was worse with mi­nus 25. The low­est-ranked brand was Saab. Rit­son says more than half of the own­ers of Ger­man brands are ‘pro­mot­ers’, mean­ing they will ac­tively en­cour­age oth­ers to buy that brand, as well as prob­a­bly choos­ing their next car from the same com­pany. ‘‘Per­haps even more im­pres­sive is the re­mark­ably low num­ber of de­trac­tors th­ese brands have. More than a third of Holden driv­ers are de­trac­tors and they will spread an enor­mous amount of neg­a­tive word-of-mouth about their car,’’ Rit­son says. ‘‘Con­trast that with ei­ther BMW or VW, which have al­most no de­trac­tors to speak of. Their whole cus­tomer base is ei­ther pas­sive or a pro­moter of the brand.’’ Rit­son says there is more to the sur­vey than the num­bers. ‘‘It’s im­por­tant in a cat­e­gory like au­to­mo­tive to recog­nise the cru­cial im­por­tance of low num­bers of de­trac­tors for a brand. De­trac­tors spread more than 80 per cent of the word-of­mouth on a brand — we are much more likely to tell our friends bad things about our prod­ucts than the good things,’’ he says. He says the study is not good for Mit­subishi, GM Holden or Ford, which all posted dire re­sults, and dis­as­trous for Saab. ‘‘There are many po­ten­tial ex­pla­na­tions for this po­si­tion, but per­haps the most likely is that Saab’s op­er­a­tions in Aus­tralia are han­dled by Holden. This is a com­pany that strug­gles to gen­er­ate pos­i­tive NPS for its own brand, and is prob­a­bly too busy and too dis­tracted with this mis­sion to suc­cess­fully man­age an ad­di­tional brand,’’ Rit­son says.

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