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Each year, J.D. Power and Associates surveys owners of vehicles three years after they purchased them new, to find how many problems they are experiencing. The result is published at the industry, make, and model levels in PP100, problems per 100 vehicles. The 2009 model year vehicles in this year's study had just 132 PP100, compared to 151 PP100 for the 2008 model year vehicles that were measured last year. That's nearly a 13% improvement in one year! And it adds to the continuous improvement that has been going on for many years. There are several ways you can take this information to the bank.
1. Reexamine what you are paying for service contracts. The number of vehicle problems is declining faster than the cost to fix them is increasing. That should mean lower costs for service contracts. Your providers are not likely to walk in and hand you a discount. You need to see what is available and negotiate terms.
2. Promote this news flash to your advertising advantage. Share the information in the brilliant way Volker Jaeckel recommended in his related article yesterday. The study release is always a big news splash, and that means an SEO opportunity to attract new shoppers to your websites.
3. Use this information to document the value of your used vehicles and suggest that your new vehicles will perform even better. This follows in the footsteps of Joe Webb's fantastic article yesterday on Validation Selling. As an example, Lexus led the industry with 136 PP100 in 2006, today, that level of dependability would rank below average. Dodge, Chrysler, Jeep, and RAM all did poorly relative to other 2009 models examined this year, but those same results would have placed any of those brands among the top 7 just six years earlier. For crying out loud, these are vehicles that were made while the firm was in bankruptcy. Surely the dependability of the vehicles being made today is much higher still. Don't just present price to the customer, present documented value using this kind of contemporary news.
4. Demonstrate the dependability of newer cars. The average age of the U.S. fleet is 11 years old, older than it has ever been. Compared to the great quality of vehicles coming off the line today, every older vehicle rolling through your service lane is inferior. Get some of those people into new vehicles with this kind of documentation and enhance their quality of life.