31
Aug

Auto Manufacturers’ Response to the Takata Airbag Recall

Auto Manufacturers’ Response to the Takata Airbag Recall

By Greg Deinzer, Research Director

If you are like 62% of Americans, you are aware of the largest-ever U.S. auto recall by Japanese company Takata Corporation for defective airbag systems. The recall affects tens of millions of vehicles and dozens of vehicle manufacturers/brands, and has expanded dramatically over the past six months. Findings from Morpace’s July 2016 Omnibus survey of 1,000 U.S. respondents provide consumers’ opinions and feedback on this critical concern.

According to media reports in May of this year, at least 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries have been linked to the airbag problem worldwide. Additionally, the recall is expected to take place in phases over the next 2-3 years, and a few auto manufacturers are still equipping their new vehicles with the type of Takata airbags that are currently being recalled. Here’s hoping the other 38% who are unaware of the recall stay off the road for the next three years.

Somewhat surprisingly, those aware of the recall have about the same impression of the auto industry as those who are unaware, with more than one-third rating it “Good” or “Excellent”, over half rating it “Fair”, and only 1-in-10 rating it “Poor” or “Very Poor.” Ratings are higher for those on the recall list and for drivers who have been notified by the manufacturer or have had their airbags replaced. Even so, one-fourth of those who heard about the recall before this survey have a somewhat lower or much lower opinion of the auto industry in general.

Honda/Acura and Toyota/Lexus automobiles account for over half of the vehicles mentioned by survey respondents as being on the recall list. Although 6-in-10 vehicles on the list have already been replaced, 82% of those who are still waiting for replacement airbags have not been given an estimated time frame for their repairs.

Dealer Manufacturer actions chart

Seventy percent of those who are still waiting for replacement airbags are driving their vehicle as usual. That is, they are not taking any additional actions or precautions such as driving the vehicle less often, or not allowing anyone to sit in the front passenger seat. Likewise, in over one-fourth (28%) of pending recall replacements, the dealers or manufacturers are not providing any amenities to those who are waiting.

On the other hand, many companies are taking steps to alleviate or correct the situation by installing airbags from another supplier, providing a rental car, or deactivating or removing the airbags altogether until they can be replaced.

Some feel that mistakes happen and that recalls are inevitable. As one respondent put it, “auto manufacturers should not be blamed for the defects of one supplier.” Yet others hold vehicle manufacturers to a higher standard and expect quicker notification, an action plan, and replacement in a shorter period of time.

Many hold a more negative view—that automakers are willing to cut corners at the expense of safety. One respondent referenced an ironic fact: “a safety airbag manufacturer that manufactures unsafe equipment.”  Still, in relation to the airbag recall, only 7% do not feel at least moderately safe driving their vehicle.

Consumers are split on their feelings of how Takata is handling the recall. Thirty-four percent are “Very” or “Completely Satisfied”, 33% are “Moderately Satisfied”, and 33%are “Not Very” or “Not at all satisfied.” Auto manufacturers receive higher satisfaction ratings. Almost half of respondents are “Very” or “Completely Satisfied” with the way their vehicle manufacturer is handling the recall.

This illustrates the importance of open communications by suppliers and OEMs in clearly disseminating information and warnings to the public even if your hands are tied for months or even years. In this case, and probably many others like it, the public is likely to be more forgiving when transparency is used with consumers.

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24
Aug

5 Myths About Being a Moderator

5 myths about moderators

By: Kea Wheeler, Senior Project Director

1: Travel for work = vacation

Being a moderator and traveling for work, people often comment on how “lucky” I am to travel for my job.  It is true that I am lucky to have a career that I enjoy, but being “lucky” because of my work travels is an overstatement.

When I travel for a project, I usually work 9-12 hours per day inside of a temperature controlled, windowless facility. After my interviews are complete, I stagger out into the night air in search of food and beverages and then hurry back to my hotel room to write-up my notes for the day…then repeat. I know what you’re thinking “wait, that sounds like…work.” Well it is work.  And this cycle could last for 1 day or up to 10 days if I am participating in a clinic. So travel yes; vacation it is not.

2: Traveling gets you away from the office

When I relate my tale of what it is truly like for me to travel for work, I often hear “well at least you are away from the office.” With the advent of smart phones, and other mobile devices, is anyone ever truly away from the office? Not really. And this holds true for moderators too. Just because I am not physically positioned at my desk in our office building, does not mean that I am “away” from the office.

Once back at my hotel in the evenings, I am answering all of the emails that I received while I was conducting interviews. The work back home doesn’t stop while I’m out on the road and neither do the email/text notifications.

3: Moderating is easy

This is my favorite moderator myth.  There are some who look from the outside and see me “talk” for a living. But moderating is much more than simply talking to someone. It is engaging in conversation about topics that consumers may not even know they could converse about at length. When I conduct interviews about a topic or product that consumers take for granted, such as a cleaning product, my interviewees wonder, “What is there to talk about for an hour?” Once we are engaged in the conversation and our time together has expired, respondents are shocked to realize that we did, indeed, talk for an hour.

I will say it is easier to speak to someone about a concept vehicle, but it takes skill to keep a somewhat natural conversation going about toilet cleaner.

Besides maintaining a conversation, my job also entails observing what is happening around me and determining my next move.  In all things, body language is important. And as a good moderator, this should always be taken into account. Body language tells me when I need to follow-up on a response, when I need to ask another respondent what their position is on a subject, or when I should let a line of questioning lapse until the respondent feels more comfortable speaking on a certain topic.

So yes, I talk about everything from consumer concept vehicles to toilet cleaners, but if I didn’t also observe what is happening around me, I would only be getting part of the conversation.

4: Report writing is a breeze

I once had a colleague tell me that every time he tries to write a qualitative report, it goes something like this, “I write some people said this, some people said that…and then I die a little inside.”  I don’t know if I would equate qualitative report writing to the withering of your entire existence, but for those accustomed to reading tabs and writing reports from the data, qualitative reports can be daunting.

The hardest part about writing a qualitative report as a moderator is trying to make sense of a ton of unstructured data. Not only are you looking for the answers to your questions and behavioral themes, but you are also searching for any context that may be important for a client to understand.

And while a quantitative report is sometimes rated on how many charts and different data cuts can be obtained, a qualitative report is judged by its ability to tell a story in the briefest possible manner.  Think more twitter post, than blog. And while not as soul crushing as my colleague indicates, you may just be a little more bruised after your report is finished.

5: We don’t like numbers

I call foul on this. I like numbers.  Numbers are necessary as they help to get a story across to a large number of people.  This will never change. But what I will say is that in today’s world, you need both numbers and the human context behind the numbers to truly make a difference. Think about all the times you hear people say “I don’t want to be just another number.” It’s not that they don’t want to be counted. What they don’t want is for companies to treat them as only a widget to be tallied and tossed into a heap of others to be tabulated and charted. They want to be regarded as a person.

Qualitative helps to define the humanity behind the numbers. And once you can define the humanity, that’s where change can truly occur in how a company produces and markets their products and services. Once this change occurs, consumers flock to these companies as one that “gets” them.  And that will add numbers to a company’s consumer base, its likes, its shares, and its sales – all numbers. Who doesn’t like that?

While there are certain myths about my job as a moderator that I have to contend with, I still love what I do. And I’ll admit sometimes the stars do align and I can tack on a few extra days to schedule a vacation after a project is complete. Not as glamorous as all the myths, but the truth never is.

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26
Jul

Pokémon Go Consumers, You Gotta Catch ‘Em All

Pokemon Go Consumers, You Gotta Catch 'Em All

By: Cory Kinne, Project Director

It’s 2016 and the Pokémon craze has struck again, this time in the form of a mobile app called “Pokémon Go”. As of July 21, Over 30 million downloads have occurred since the app’s release earlier in the month, and the hype doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.

Not surprisingly, many Pokémon Go players are adults, since Pokémon first came out more than two decades ago. It’s nostalgia for many in their 30s and 40s and the game’s social features appeal to most millennials as well, not to mention teens.

Because of this broad appeal, Pokémon Go presents retailers with an opportunity for free promotion. No matter how big or small a business may be, welcoming Pokémon Go players to their shops and restaurants, or malls and boutiques has little downside.

Simple in-game purchases can be made by businesses in order to draw more customers through the doors. Items like “Lures”, which draw Pokémon to a certain location, can be purchased for as little as $1. New customer bases can be reached and the return on investment is promising; one New York pizzeria is boasting huge returns by investing only $10 in the Pokémon “Lures”, causing a 75% increase in business over the course of a single weekend.

Businesses can also be a “Pokéstop”, a place where players (or “trainers” as they are referred to in the game) go to receive items like “Poké Balls” and “revives”, or a “gym”, a place where players battle their monsters to become leaders. You literally have to be within a few feet of a Pokéstop to take advantage of the bounty of items within.

Such features of Pokémon Go draw players to the area, and businesses can up their marketing prowess by offering incentives such as discounts, prizes, or a free gift for players stopping by to increase interest in their products or services.

Our research and technology partner Qualtrics had some interesting statistics from Pokémon Go trainers they surveyed. See some fun and interesting infographics here.

For any retailer, it’s an opportunity they can’t afford to pass up. Engage customers in simple e-marketing campaigns, inviting Pokémon players, and informing them of nearby gyms or announcing your status as a “Pokéstop” is easy to do and costs little more than time. You literally have to be within a few feet of a Pokéstop to take advantage of the bounty. Better yet, business owners, managers and even employees should download the app and play the game to become familiar enough to converse with customers about it.

You may not get to level 30 in Pokémon Go, but chances are many of your customers have that as a potential goal. If your retail location hasn’t started using Pokémon Go, you don’t want to miss out.

For further insights contact the Morpace Retail team at ckinne@morpace.com. When we’re not catching the Wild Rattata lurking in our hallways or checking out the three nearby gyms adjacent to our Detroit headquarters, we’ll be there to answer your questions on how to take advantage of this craze. After all, you gotta catch ‘em all (customers that is)!

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14
Jul

X, Y, Z … Boom! How will Changing Demographics Impact Corporate Culture?

Are you ready?

By: Donna Taglione, Vice President

Full transparency: I am a baby boomer. Born right in the middle of the largest generation–until Millennials. For many of my generation, retirement is a dirty word; it’s an inevitability to be delayed as long as possible. As a group, Baby Boomers have been fighting aging since we turned 30! After all we weren’t supposed to trust anyone over 30 until, of course, we became 30 ourselves and realized we were just getting started.

All kidding and old jokes aside, the reality is that 10,000 Boomers will turn 65 every day between now and 2029. Retirement has already started for many and isn’t that far off for more than half of the Baby Boom generation. My children, Millennials that they are, are probably saying “Finally! What’s taking you so long?” But the sheer volume of pending retirements is staggering and prompts the question how will the obvious “changing of the guard” affect corporate life?

Demographers and business historians estimate that Baby Boomers currently hold 56% of corporate leadership positions. Additionally, two-thirds of all businesses (about 4 million companies) are owned by Baby Boomers. Yet, according to a survey of Fortune 1000 employers, and of critical importance to business in general, 62% of Fortune 1000 employers believe that Baby Boomer retirements will result in a skilled labor shortage sometime in the next five years. In the next 5 years! How is this possible? What should people and companies be doing to prepare for a potential gap in skills? Are companies and their mid-career managers (Gen X and Gen Y) prepared for corporate memory to walk out the door?

Truth be told, with each generation there is always a need for new and fresh perspectives. Somehow it is a lot easier to swallow that new idea when you are on the younger end of the continuum espousing it rather than on the side that finds itself thinking “been there done that”!  Yet companies and managers are going to have to creatively manage the knowledge transfer required as the current generation of executives makes room for the next generation.

Partial retirement or flexible working arrangements–typically a two-year offer with reduced hours and benefits–is one way companies are exploring the retention of certain levels of management so their knowledge can be shared with those next in line for their pay grade. Reverse mentoring, popularized by former GE Chairman Jack Welsh, matches senior executives with 20 and 30-somethings to share experiences. Reverse mentoring closes the knowledge gap for both older and younger age groups and can identity future leaders. Succession planning prepares others internally to assume key business positions. Encore consultancy – when a person “retires” on Friday yet returns on Monday as a part-time consultant for the job they just left – has caught on in some organizations. Are these enough? Are companies paying attention to what corporate life will be like after a generation of workers retire?

I distinctly remember going to my father’s retirement party. Lots of people I’d never met before talking about a side of my dad that I never really knew at home. It was quite enlightening to hear that your dad–the guy who fell asleep on the couch waiting up for you–was a person others looked up to and respected. I don’t think a lot of companies “do” retirement parties anymore. My dad worked for the same company for 37 years. That kind of tenure is almost unheard of now. When I retire, even though I’ve been in the same industry for over 30 years, I’ll have worked at the same company for about 12 years. Certainly not worthy of a full blown celebration. But party or no party, over the course of the next fifteen years, one very large generation, used to setting standards for how things get done (Baby Boomers), is about to retire and be replaced by an even larger generation (Gen Y/Millennials) in the early to middle stage of their careers. Are we ready?

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1
Jul

Change, Courage, and Possibilities

OpportunityBy: Dania Rich-Spencer, Vice President

As you may know, the Q1-Q2 2016 GRIT report was recently released. I always look forward to learning what’s new and exciting in the market research world, and to gaining a deeper appreciation for our client’s perspective. With the most comprehensive sample to date–2,144 completed interviews and participants from 70 countries–this wave delivers an impressive examination of an industry in the process of reinventing itself.

As I was processing the breadth of information in the report, I glanced at a picture on my office wall. A colleague gave me a beautiful picture with the saying “Change of any sort, requires courage.” I frequently look at this picture for inspiration when dealing with personal and professional challenges, and honestly, some days it’s hard to look away!

There is no doubt the disruptive change the market research industry is experiencing requires courageous adjustments from both Research Buyers and Suppliers. ESOMAR recently presented the “Future of Market Research” webinar where they highlighted the necessity for a team-based approach. The case was made that in order to effectively communicate research findings and influence C-Suite decision makers, a multi-disciplinary approach is required. Weaving together a cohesive story and presenting it in a consultative fashion requires contribution not only from a researcher, but also from a data scientist, a synthesizer, a journalist, and an influential storyteller. This insights team needs to be comprised of creative individuals who are motivated by intellectual curiosity, have a desire to influence, and are comfortable working in a fast-paced, unstructured environment.

I’m confident the industry will successfully manage the human capital transition and adopt a more consultative role to drive positive, sustainable change. However, unless we have a comprehensive understanding of what influences consumers’ decisions and precisely why they choose one product or service over another, the impact of the Voice of Customer will be under-stated.

Online research communities deliver vibrant customer stories riddled with illuminating detail that provide contextual understanding. Unlike brand communities or social media, research communities offer an agile solution for developing a synergistic and mutually respectful relationship between customer and company.

As an example, when defectors in an ad hoc Exit Survey were asked the reason for leaving a health plan, cost was the primary reason year after year. However, when exploring potential defection with members of the client’s research community, when cost was comparable, members’ experience with customer support and their emotional attachment to the company played a much larger role in their decision to change carriers. The ongoing, two-way dialogue inherent in a research community enables the customer relationship to be transformed from survey taker to trusted advisor.

It takes courage to build this type of relationship with customers and it takes courage to put legacy systems behind us. The market research industry has a history of making courageous adjustments to consumers’ changing habits and demands of the marketplace. I have another picture on my wall–“When nothing is certain, everything is possible.”

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16
Jun

Top 3 Reasons Why Consumers are Rejecting Autonomy

Top 3 reasons why consumers are rejecting autonomy

By: Greg Swando, Senior Research Director

Autonomy.

This one word is the beginning of the current automobile industry’s disruption, as OEMs across the world race to incorporate various levels of autonomy and services into their vehicles.  New features such as Forward Collision Warning, Lane Keeping Assistance, and Emergency Braking, among others, have been emerging on the market and becoming more commonplace across vehicle portfolios and advertising campaigns.

But what exactly do consumers think about these new Automated Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)?

While today’s consumers will see more advances in vehicle technology over the next five years than in the past 50, their rate of technology adoption may be slower to respond, as found by the report “A Consumer-Centric Journey Towards Autonomy”. This report was developed by our automotive team in partnership with SBD and Gamivation, in order to understand the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in the journey toward next generation autonomous vehicles.

Our report revealed that there are 3 main reasons consumers are not only nervous about the new ADAS features, but may also be rejecting them entirely:

  1. Today’s driver assistance systems are being underutilized and/or misunderstood
  2. A significant number of current ADAS owners find the technology distracting and even irritating
  3. Many consumers reject needing any assistance–and are against giving up control of their vehicle

These and other surprising insights were revealed through the study, including how consumers are viewing the implementation and use of current ADAS features in vehicles. The types of consumers most open and receptive to these features, and those who are more likely to be suspicious or frightened by the new technology, are also revealed in the report, along with why consumers are reacting in these ways.

Our Automotive team and partners will help you learn how your competitors are implementing autonomous features and compare and contrast consumer viewpoints among each of these systems. After determining these points, our team can map out best-practice guidelines to differentiate your features as part of your overall brand, and help to make the consumers’ transition to autonomous features a smoother ride.

To find out more about “A Consumer Centric Journey Towards Autonomy” click here.

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8
Jun

How Long Are People Willing to Wait for the Tesla Model 3?

How Long are Consumers Willing to Wait for the Tesla Model 3?By: Kimberly Doherty, Senior Project Manager; Pam Cunningham, Research Manager

With 373,000 deposits in for the Tesla Model 3, questions are circulating around consumers’ expectations: How long do they plan to wait for delivery? What features do they expect the vehicle to come equipped with, and what do they want to add on? In search of answers, we reached out to our MyDrivingPower (MDP) community members who put down a deposit to uncover their insight and opinions.

The Model 3’s competitive price has captured the attention of EV and gas-powered vehicle owners alike, not to mention current Tesla owners. How much it will cost to equip the vehicle with additional features though is still unknown. Curious about consumers’ willingness to pay for add-ons, we asked MDP members that placed deposits on the Model 3 how they plan to configure their new vehicle. In true vehicle enthusiast fashion, none plan to drive off with a base model.

Most members we reached out to are realistic about the upgrades they want. They do not plan to buy a ‘fully loaded’ vehicle, but will weigh the cost against benefits of each individual feature. Typically, these consumers estimate they will spend $45,000 – $50,000 for the final product. Some of the ‘must have’ features are functional, including extended battery range, all-wheel drive (dual motor), and supercharging.  A few expressed an interest in autopilot, but it generally is not a ‘must have’. The possibility of a tax credit will also factor in how much extra they are willing to spend on their vehicle.

For example, here were two direct member quotes:

“I assumed I would spend ~$50k to get what I want. All-wheel drive is mandatory. Longer range is mandatory. All other options will be decided on costs/benefits.”

“I plan to get all-wheel drive, a battery that is close to 85kwHr as they have a supercharger (if there is a fee), and autopilot. Once the prices are known, I’m hopeful that will price the car near $45,000.”

There is a significant gap between when deposits were made for the vehicle and when the Model 3 will be released (many industry experts estimate mid 2018 at the earliest). But how long are people actually willing to wait to buy? Many MDP members claim they are committed to their planned purchase and don’t mind the long wait. Some are trying to manipulate their current lease-end date to coincide with the release of the Model 3. Still others say they will try to extend their current lease or see if the dealership will allow them to continue to lease on a month-to-month basis, or will make due with another vehicle in their household. Additional member quotes highlight this:

“I’m considering this an EV pioneer experience so…as long as it takes.”

“I’ll wait until the end of February 2018 when my Model S lease is up. That seems pretty consistent with the time they are saying deliveries will begin. If   there is a delay beyond that date, I guess I’ll be stuck driving my Spark EV for a while.”

Placing a $1,000 down payment indicates a level of consumer interest and commitment, and our community members are a historically dedicated group, but do they have faith in their fellow enthusiasts? Many believe at least 50% of those who placed a deposit will follow through with an actual purchase. Timing may play a role, they say, as not everyone has control over when they need a new vehicle. Moreover, a person’s ability to purchase may be affected should their financial situation change between deposit date and vehicle availability.

Other MDP members speculate the potential for competitors to release new EV products before the Model 3 is ready, which may sway shoppers hoping to get their hands on a vehicle sooner. As seen from the member comments below, there is doubt as to whether another automaker could introduce a true competitor before the Model 3 is ready, but some admit they would consider other options they see as tempting.

“Perhaps[people will be swayed] if the enhanced CCS [Combined Charging System] network I read about last week actually takes off and becomes competitive with supercharging, and Nissan or GM bring out cars able to take advantage of it, but there’s no sign of that happening.”

“I feel approximately 50% will follow through. Why not a higher percentage? The very long period of time between deposit and delivery. This results in two issues, first, changes in buyers’ personal/financial situation and second, time for competition to take business.”

As seen in two quotes below, MDP members anticipate Model 3 production to begin in December 2017, with a 6-month grace period. Although these consumers have no idea where they are ‘in line’, they suspect their vehicle will be ready sometime between mid and late 2018. While their rank in the waitlist is unclear, Tesla did announce that current Tesla owners will be given priority, and those who reside in California–home of Tesla headquarters –will be among the first to obtain their vehicles.

“I will be pleasantly surprised if I see my car in 2018. 2019 is a safer bet. And for the record, I’d far rather wait for a car that’s done right, than get one soon that needs to be fixed in short order…costing me time and Tesla more money.”

“I am hopeful that deliveries will start in Dec. 2017, but I have allowed for up to 6 months to take delivery of mine specifically. I really have no idea my place in line.”

Many MDP members indicated that they are not familiar with the Tesla delivery process, but do expect to be able to pick up their Model 3 at a local dealer. Some would not mind driving a considerable distance to pick up their EV (up to 90 miles one-way), while others consumers expect it to be delivered directly to their home.

“I am not familiar with the delivery process on a Tesla, but I plan to take delivery in my home state of CA.”

“I hope to go to the factory to pick it up–it is only 90 minutes away. Or get home delivery–like my Model S.”

“I’ll pick it up from the Tesla store in Portland, OR, which is about 80 miles north of me.”

Plans are already in place for their next electric vehicle and based on feedback, most community members plan to do whatever it takes to get their own Model 3. How things evolve as more vehicle details are released and the release gets closer remains to be seen. We’ll be following up to see what MyDrivingPower members think as time goes on.

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2
Jun

What is Missing to Spur EV Consideration?

What comes first, the electric vehicle or the electric vehicle charger?

By: Dave Emig, Senior Research Director; Andy Moylan, Senior Project Director

What came first, the chicken or the egg? This question has fueled a bevy of philosophical discussions over many centuries. The answer to this question is unclear and quite possibly will never be answered, but it will continue to lead to some interesting discussions and be the impetus for critical thinking.

Let’s apply this to the electric vehicle industry. What comes first, the electric vehicle (EV) or the electric vehicle charger? Seems like a silly question to begin with because they are one in the same, right? For the purposes of this article, let’s forget about the standard electrical outlet most consumers have in their garage and focus on the sale of the vehicle.

Typically, when purchasing an electric vehicle, the consumer is given options about what charging unit could be installed at their home, and arrangements are made for it to be placed at the owner’s residence. So to answer the question, with the purchase of an electric vehicle, the consumer gets the charging unit first. But let’s take one additional step back and think about consumer’s consideration of the electric vehicle in the first place.

Previously, word of mouth, the motivation to be environmentally conscious, and tax credits were some of the factors driving purchase.  Now, design variations and more information surrounding the technology are the catalyst for increased consideration.  Still, it is difficult to take the leap to commit with something that is so important to our daily lives.

The evidence shows that the electric vehicle market is heating up and gaining more momentum. Tesla has made another major splash and is planning on riding those ripples into a boat load of sales. To date, there are over 373,000 pre-orders of the Model 3, which is on the heels of the Model X launch. Many automotive manufacturers are stepping up their EV game:  improvements are coming to the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3 is getting more range, the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt is expected to be available for consumers to purchase soon, and according to Green Car Reports, Audi just announced a serious commitment to electric vehicles starting with an all-electric SUV in 2018.

What seems to be the biggest barrier to purchasing an electric vehicle is overcoming range anxiety.  How does one manage their day and still have the ability to be spontaneous while managing the unexpected, such as heavy traffic or that extra errand that needs to be run? Any anxiety from a myriad of circumstances will not be fully solved by simply adding more range to vehicles. There must be a means to provide consumers with peace of mind for not only the typical day, but for the unforeseen, unplanned events that come with life. So how is this possible?

Morpace recently asked a series of questions as part of its February Omnibus and the results were interesting. For starters, nearly 85% of consumers indicate that they travel less than 50 miles a day (in total) during an average week. Considering this, there are a number of electric vehicle options that would fit the needs of the majority, but there is always the ‘what if’ factor that causes unease, possibly preventing the purchase of an EV.

Currently, one-quarter of consumers cite an interest in considering an electric vehicle, according to our Omnibus. Now the key question: What if charging stations were more abundant at places of employment? Not necessarily the mall or the grocery store, but your place of work. Could that impact consumer acceptability of EVs, and lead toward higher sales?

Of those surveyed in our Omnibus, more than 8 in 10 indicate a level on unawareness when it comes to the location of charging stations in their area, with half being completely unaware and the remainder knowing there are some present, but not certain of the exact location. And when thinking about their place of employment, over 80% of those surveyed indicate there are no charging stations.

Charging stations at places of employment could be an area of great reward for manufacturers given the impact this would have on consumers. Having that safety net, that accommodation to gain back those precious miles needed for the ‘what if’ spontaneous moment, could give consumers the final nudge to take that leap to purchase an electric vehicle, and ultimately benefit manufacturers.

This belief is bolstered by the fact that about 1 in 3 respondents would be more likely to consider an electric vehicle if there was a charger at their place of employment. That repeatable action of going to work each day and seeing a line of open charging stations might encourage consumers to start asking questions and investigate EVs.

So, ask yourself the question…which came first, the electric vehicle charger at work or the electric vehicle?

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26
May

The Electrifying Introduction of the Tesla Model 3

The Electrifying Introduction of the Tesla Model 3By: Andy Moylan, Senior Project Director

It’s no secret that Tesla received more orders for the Model 3 than anticipated on the first day. According to Tesla, the current reservation count is around 373,000 for this premium-brand’s EV that can travel 210 miles on a charge, especially considering the largely attainable base price of $35,000.

Some of our Morpace MyDrivingPower community members placed a $1,000 deposit on a Tesla Model 3, so we wanted to hear more on what these influencers thought of the introduction and the deposit experience.

As unique as the Tesla Model 3 is, so was its introduction…for an automotive product, that is. The unveiling created a high-tech and energetic atmosphere that was more reminiscent of a technology product than that of an automobile. This was more than a car on a stage with the drape pulled off, followed by a series of conventional speeches. MyDrivingPower members referenced similarities to Apple including comparisons between Elon Musk and Steve Jobs in terms of their presentation styles, and they don’t believe any other automotive manufacturer could generate this kind of buzz.

“Clever PR getting the community excited and speculating, feels like Apple in the old days when Steve Jobs would come on stage and do the ‘oh and one more thing’.”

“The introduction process was very Silicon Valley; it was far more fun and genuine than the typical unveilings at auto shows.”

Tesla did something that positively no other automaker could execute with such fanfare. Tesla enjoys a brand halo that no others can seem to match. They have a hardcore fan base that admires their dedication to electric vehicles—there are no internal combustion engines in the line-up, not even as a backup. The large, tablet-like touch screen in the center of the dashboard (complimented by a rumored high-tech Heads Up Display), advanced battery technology, a proliferating supercharging network, and the Autopilot feature speaks more high-tech than any other brand.

“No one else builds or supports cars the way Tesla does (supercharging, styling, performance, updates and ownership experience).”

All of the initial orders  provided Tesla with a substantial cash infusion to continue the development and launch of the Model 3. Some MyDrivingPower members recognize that they are essentially loaning Tesla the funds necessary to bring this vehicle to market.

“I had no problem loaning Tesla a grand for however long it takes to deliver the Model 3.”

“I am eager to support what they’ve created and break free from the traditional automakers.”

Tesla offered online ordering as well as taking in-person orders at Tesla stores. Most of the community members went to their nearest Tesla store (in some cases, a 90 minute drive one way) and stood in line for hours. Despite the long wait, they enjoyed the camaraderie with other EV enthusiasts and felt like they were part of something historical. Placing a deposit at the store also gave some a feeling of confirmation because they delivered it to an actual Tesla employee. Those that ordered online preferred to avoid the lines and placed the deposit from the comfort of their homes.

“I needed an early Model 3 to minimize my time without a car in that gap between my lease expiration and when I take delivery of the Tesla. This is why I waited in line to secure the earliest possible reservation number.”

“As a current owner, I was invited to put my name into a lottery for a ticket to the announcement, but after hearing horror stories about the last one, I decided to pass and watch it at home. I simply went to the website at 7:30 and entered my order without a hitch.”

So why would members be willing to put down a deposit for a car with a design and a feature list that is not yet finalized? Because there is a level of trust, based primarily on the design, performance, and safety associated with previous models—notably, the larger Model S. Members are confident that these traits will carry over to the Model 3.

“The reason I chose Tesla so far is because I know they have a history of producing beautiful cars with a lot of tech packed into them. They also believe in the future of their cars with constant software updates.”

“Based on my co-workers’ experience who have the Model S and my brief exposure to driving that car, coupled with Tesla’s commitment to the success of BEVs, I’m all in.”

So, the deposits are in. But, how long do they plan to wait for their vehicle? Will they take the base vehicle offered, or build up their future car with additional features or options? There is more to come as we continue the conversation with our community.

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23
May

Cardholder Sentiment for EMV “Smart” Chip-Enabled Cards is Mixed

Cardholder Sentiment for EMV “Smart” Chip-Enabled Cards is Mixed

By: Tim Taylor, Vice President; Steven Welling, Project Director; Jessica Tomlinson, Research Analyst

There have been a number of articles over the past several months related to the rollout of chip-enabled credit cards and how both retailers and consumers are reacting to them.

To better understand cardholder perceptions of this new technology, our Morpace Financial Services team posed questions to more than 1,000 U.S. consumers about their experiences with chip-enabled cards. Our results showed that customer perceptions are mixed.

Overall, more than one-third (37%) of cardholders prefer the EMV chip-enabled cards while another third (31%) prefer to swipe their credit/debit cards in the traditional manner. The remaining third (32%) stated they had no preference as long as their card works and is safe.

Interestingly, younger cardholders are more likely to prefer the traditional card (43% vs. 21%), while older cardholders are more likely to prefer the chip-enabled cards (48% vs. 30%). This finding took us by surprise given younger generation’s tendency to adopt new technologies quicker than older generations. As a result, we dove deeper into the data to see what is causing younger cardholders to resist this change.

We found that cardholders who report a preference for the traditional cards shared the following sentiments:

  • Do not feel the time it takes to pay using a chip reader is satisfactory
  • Are not always sure when to use the chip reader when making a purchase
  • Do not understand why the traditional cards are being replaced
  • Do not believe chip-enabled cards are more secure
  • Do not feel the card provider sent information about the chip-enabled card

This data led us to believe that there are two major barriers to chip card satisfaction among those who prefer to swipe their credit/debit cards in the traditional manner. First, cardholders believe that it takes longer to complete a purchase when using a chip reader. Millennials are well-known for their fast-paced lifestyle so it is unsurprising that transaction speed is a top mentioned reason for disliking chip-enabled cards.

However, the data suggests there is more to the story than speed alone. A lack of understanding surrounding this new technology also acts as a major barrier. Cardholders who prefer the chip-enabled cards are more likely to understand why they are receiving the new cards and the added security benefits of the chips, and therefore appear to be more adoptive of the technology.

So what role should card providers play in improving customer perceptions of chip-enabled cards?

First, they will want to find additional ways to communicate the benefits of chip-enhanced cards–especially to younger cardholders. These communications should serve to educate cardholders on why chip-enabled cards are being adopted as well as how and when to use the chip readers at retail locations.

To appeal to the younger crowd, card providers should consider providing anecdotal examples in a storytelling approach of how these cards enhance security and reduce the number of data breaches or by using infographics in communications with easy-to-follow facts and figures.

Secondly, card providers and retailers must work together to address the perception of longer transaction times. It will be important that card providers set appropriate expectations regarding the time it may take to pay using a card reader in order to mitigate dissatisfaction.

Recently published articles by national media outlets anecdotally support these findings, both in terms of perceived longer transaction times and the proven security benefits. Even in today’s digital world, we feel ongoing communication and education will be a key factor in making this ongoing transition more widely accepted.

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