The importance of the interiors of a car has been gaining massive ground on the overall satisfaction of the owners, especially among small and utility vehicles space, which are the two fastest-growing segments in the country, over the past four years, says a JD Power study.
The study also puts Maruti Suzuki in the top category with three awards, followed Toyota models with two awards.
Significantly, the domestic market is still driven by fuel efficiency, which is second to visibility and driving safety that top the charts.
"New-vehicle satisfaction is increasingly being driven by the vehicle interiors and this has been consistently rising in the past four years, with the interior factor seeing a 28-point improvement compared with 2009, and an 8-point improvement over 2011," says the JD Power Asia Pacific 2012 India automotive performance, execution and layout (Apeal) study released today.
The report, however is quick to add that "visibility and driving safety, followed by fuel economy, continue to be the leading drivers of satisfaction among new-vehicle owners in the country."
"To improve the quality and aesthetics of their models, automakers have made significant efforts and investments to enhance the overall design and quality of the interiors, even in the small car segment," notes JD Power Asia Pacific executive director Mohit Arora.
He further says the importance of interiors is evident both in new as well as refreshed models launched this year with both of them performing 17 points higher in the interior factor compared with other models.
Despite the recent 13 per cent hike in diesel price, the study also notes that the satisfaction is higher among owners of diesel vehicles. Moreover, the gap in satisfaction scores between owners of diesel and petrol vehicles has changed significantly during the past four years.
"In 2012, the Apeal score for diesel vehicles is 22 points higher than for petrol vehicles, while in 2009 the score for petrol vehicles was just 3 points higher. Further, diesel vehicles achieve an average Apeal score of 839 for fuel economy in 2012, which is 24 index points higher than for petrol vehicles," says Arora.
According to the study, the preference for diesel models is reflected in their overall level of satisfaction as well, since they seem more critical of various aspects of the vehicle, such as fuel economy.
On the scorecards, the Chevrolet Spark and Maruti Estilo rank highest in a tie in the compact car segment with a score of 837 each.