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Volvo, Renault top Oz satisfaction survey

On a roll: Renault has tied with Volvo for equal first place in Roy Morgan's European car satisfaction survey for Australian drivers.

Roy Morgan survey puts Volvo and Renault first for Euro car ownership satisfaction

21 Jul 2011

VOLVO and Renault drivers are the most satisfied owners of European cars in Australia, according to Roy Morgan’s latest Automotive Currency Report. The survey, in which Citroen and Saab owners emerged the least satisfied, asked 2805 drivers of European cars Down Under how satisfied or dissatisfied they were with their car, inviting five responses ranging between ‘very satisfied’ and ‘very dissatisfied’.

Conducted in the 12 months to March 2011, the study found 94 per cent of Volvo and Renault drivers were either very satisfied or fairly satisfied with their ownership experience.

This figure was four points higher than the overall average of 90 per cent achieved by 11 European car brands from five different countries, including Germany, Sweden, France, Italy and the UK.

The findings represent a marginal improvement for both companies over the previous survey conducted in 2005-06, with Volvo jumping from equal fourth place (92 per cent) and Renault moving from equal second (93 per cent).

The overall average of all European manufacturers is down two percentage points from the results of this previous study, with Mercedes-Benz (third place with 93 per cent satisfaction) the only other car-maker to make gains over the period.

128 center imageEuropean contenders: Mercedes-Benz C-class, Peugeot 308, Saab 9-5, Citroen C5.

Another French company, Peugeot, was the fourth best performing brand with 92 per cent (down from 93 per cent), while previous winner Audi fell to fifth place with a 91 per cent satisfaction rating (previously 95 per cent).

The lone Italian contender, Alfa Romeo, joined Audi on 91 per cent satisfaction (down from 93 per cent), while German giant Volkswagen matched the overall average of 90 per cent (down from 91 per cent).

Fellow German brand BMW and Indian-owned Land Rover registered below-average satisfaction ratings of 89 per cent (both down from 92 per cent previously).

Rounding out the field were French car-maker Citroen and beleaguered Swedish company Saab – which only recently re-commenced Australian sales –with satisfaction ratings of 82 per cent.

This represented a drop of 10 per cent for Citroen from its 2006 result, while Saab also fared the worst of the eleven brands in the previous study with an 87 per cent satisfaction rating five years ago.

The cars in the survey relate to existing owners and are not restricted to recent purchases, meaning the test features a wide array of vehicles. All drivers involved in the study were aged 18 or over.

The report estimated that there are currently 14.9 million drivers on Australian roads, approximately one million of whom sit behind the wheel of a European car.

This figure represents an increase of 45 per cent over the five years since the previous Roy Morgan report on the same subject, which took place between April 2005 and March 2006.

Roy Morgan’s industry communications director Norman Morris said that vehicle satisfaction ratings are one of the main drivers of brand loyalty and are therefore an important statistic for manufacturers to be aware of.

“This is an excellent result for Volvo, who has also decreased their total driver dissatisfaction figure over the same timeframe,” he said.

“Also doing well is niche importer Renault, moving from equal second overall in 2006 to now sit equal with Volvo in top spot.

“With almost two thirds of all European cars on Australian roads coming from German-owned companies, it is interesting to note that only Mercedes-Benz have made gains over the last five years.” Mr Morris said the findings should be of concern for Saab, pointing out that the company’s new 9-5 large car is set to go head-to-head with the well-established Mercedes-Benz E Class and new BMW 5 Series, both of which returned driver satisfaction figures of more than 90 per cent.

Managing director of Renault Australia Justin Hocevar said: “This is a fantastic result and proof of our customer-centric approach at Renault.

“We are focused on building great cars and providing exceptional value to our customers. The research proves we are successfully hitting these targets.

“The report coincides with a marked uplift in Renault sales in the past year, driven by a raft of successful new products.” The French car-maker delivered 410 new vehicles in June - its best result in Australia since April 2002 – on the back of a raft of new models including the Megane hatch and Fluence sedan.

The company has plans to maintain this momentum, recently announcing a 2.9 per cent finance deal on cars ordered before the end of August and delivered before the end of September.

The deal is available across its passenger range (excluding the Megane Renault Sport 250). It also renewed the 3.9 per cent finance rate available across its light commercial vehicle line-up, including both the Kangoo and Trafic.

Meanwhile, Volvo Cars Australia managing director Matt Braid said that the result was very rewarding for both the company and its dealers.

“It is evidence of our commitment to delivering first-class purchase and ownership experience and reflects the immense efforts we put into producing stellar products that exceed customer expectations,” he said.

The Roy Morgan findings follow the Scandinavian manufacturer’s best June sales figures ever in Australia, with 638 deliveries eclipsing the previous record of 620 sales achieved in 2009.

Volvo also took out a recent JD Power satisfaction study conducted among 17,158 car owners in Germany, gauging vehicle quality and reliability, ownership costs and service satisfaction.

The 2011 Germany Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study was based on an online survey after an average of two years of car ownership, and took place between January and March this year.

Sweden’s biggest car-maker did not have an individual winning model in any of the survey’s vehicle segments, but was a model of consistency in narrowly pipping Mercedes-Benz, the winner of last year’s survey.

Interestingly, the other big German premium contenders in BMW and Audi fell down the table in this year’s JD Power study, to eighth and sixth respectively – a result that was mirrored by the performance of both brands in the local Roy Morgan survey.

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