I just filled out a JD Power survey on my new s60. I don't know what percentage of buyers receive these surveys, but since they are so prominent in advertising I didn't just trash it like I do with most surveys. I did find some things interesting.
The questions, I believe, reveal what the manufacturer thinks is important to buyers. There was a series of questions comparing photos from every angle of an Acura (probably a TSX), a BMW (looked like a 5 series), and something that looked like a cross between a C30 and a 4 door Golf. They asked specific questions about the headlights, taillights, and grill openings.
Before this experience I figured that this JD Power stuff was fairly generic, asking the same questions for all cars/buyers, but there were several parts of this that make me think it was customized, like the styling comparison to Acura and BMW (and whatever that other thing was). Who tweaked the questions, Volvo? Maybe other buyers get to compare styling of another selection of cars.
They asked about which other cars you considered and which other cars you own/replaced. In my case they might be disappointed to find that the most serious competitor was a Ford Fusion, but it turned out to be more expensive than the s60. And it was a Ford.
There were plenty of questions about the seats (keep up the good work there!), the instruments, controls, and of course Sensus stuff. Even how the interior smelled and how the doors sound when closed. Kind of cliche but I guess no one wants a smelly car that has fragile sounding doors.
They asked about virtually everything, it took me two half hour sessions to work through it, and there were few opportunities to add comments which were outside the available answers/categories. There were questions where you are supposed to choose up to 3 interior/exterior features from a list that you like and 3 that you don't like. I had trouble finding things I didn't like.
The survey did make me think about things I hadn't even considered. How do I feel about the size of the trunk opening? How long does it take to reach the desired interior temperature after I begin driving? How well do the windshield wipers and washers work? How often do I drive just for pleasure (daily, once a week, once a month?)? Not often enough, I think.
There was ONE question about the engine/transmission availability as a deciding factor in the buying decision, so if anyone thinks that manufacturers are still on the fence about offering MTs in this class it seems to me that they have already made up their minds. I think they were more interested in gauging hybrid acceptance, or focusing on trouble spots because there were several questions about fuel economy and "smooth shifting."
A lot of the questions asked for a 1-10 ranking of some feature, but it was sort of skewed toward the higher end because "average" was 4, "outstanding" was 7, and "really outstanding" (or something like that) was 10. I'd have to think that something was pretty pathetic before giving it anything below a 4. Rain sensing wipers? No, they're better on this car...at least they seem to be trying.
Anyway, I just thought I'd share in case anyone was curious about these surveys. I've purchased a few new cars and this is the first one I've had a chance to participate in.