Maruti first in customer satisfaction

Mumbai: There is good news for all Maruti fans. The public sector behemoth Maruti Udyog has been adjudged first in customer satisfaction in automotive dealer service, according to the latest JD Power Asia-Pacific 2001 Customer Satisfaction Index. Maruti scored 119 points.

The study, which is currently in its fifth year, examines customer satisfaction with respect to vehicle quality and dealer service, after 15 to 18 months of ownership of the vehicle. The three factors, which contribute 60 per cent to the Customer Satisfaction Index, are service advisor, service performance and service timings. Maruti leads in all the three.

According to the report, Rajeev Lochan, the business manager with JD power Asia-Pacific, has opined that the customer satisfaction level in the Indian automotive industry has seen consistent improvement since 1997, the inaugural year of the study. Maruti has been in the forefront of effecting this radical change. Its dealers have been proactive in meeting and exceeding customer expectations and Maruti has made significant progress on a majority of 15 service standards.

Honda Siel stood second behind Maruti, scoring 117 points followed by Hyundai (116 points) and HM/Mitsubishi (114 points). All of these are above-the-industry average of 113 points. The ones that have fallen behind are Toyota Kirloskar (112 points), Daewoo (106 points), Ford (106 points), Mahindra (103 points), General Motors (102 points), Telco (99 points) and Fiat (91 points) respectively.

In the meantime, Maruti has unveiled its new multipurpose vehicle, Versa. Versa, marketed as a family vehicle, will be available in three models to begin with: DX version (Rs 5.15 lakh), DX-2 version (Rs 5.45 lakh) and SDX version (Rs 5.80 lakh). The car will be available in six colours - ruby red, superior white, starlit silver, pearl silver, mystic blue and exotic green.

To be endorsed by matinee idol Amitabh Bachchan and son Abhishek Bachchan, Versa is targeted at those who are looking at upgrades from the Zen or Wagon R or other B-categories buyers and also at those who are C-category buyers. The company expects Versas sales to get a big boost, once the national highway project gets over and out-of-town and family excursion trips get moving. The sales are expected to double to 3 million cars worldwide by the year 2005 from 1.5 million sold in the year 2000.