Overall satisfaction among tractor owners in India improves almost 20% from last year, according to the J.D. Power 2017 India Tractor Product Performance Index (PPI) Study,SM released today, echoing upbeat farm sentiment fueled by healthy monsoons.
The study, now in its third year, examines satisfaction with tractor performance among owners of 12- to 24-month-old tractors. Overall product performance satisfaction is measured in two indices: machine performance and quality and reliability. In the machine performance index, the study captures tractor owners’ evaluations in seven categories (in order of importance): hydraulic and couplings; driveability; engine and transmission; overall styling and design; driving comfort; tractor structure; and tyres. The quality and reliability index covers owners’ experiences and ratings of actual and perceived quality issues.
Tractor owners’ overall satisfaction with product performance improves to 823 (on a 1,000-point scale), a 52-point increase from 2016. The surge in satisfaction is evident in both the machine performance and quality and reliability indices.
The study measures the number of problems owners experience with their tractor across 88 problem areas. Problems are summarised as number of problems experienced per 100 tractors (PP100), with a lower score reflecting higher quality. The number of reported problems has declined, as the average PP100 at the industry level is 150 PP100 in 2017, down from 245 PP100 last year.
Excessive or uneven tyre wear continues to be the most frequently reported problem for a third consecutive year. It is also noted as the most bothersome problem by tractor owners, with overall satisfaction declining by 99 points when owners report problems related to their tractor tyres vis-à-vis when such problems are not reported. The increasing use of tractors for non-farming operations aggravates the issue further, as problem counts on excessive tyre wear increase by 6.5 PP100 when the tractor is also used for non-agricultural applications vs. when its use is solely reserved for farm applications. The study also notes that a higher proportion of owners who use their tractor for non-agricultural purposes have replaced and re-treaded their original tyres, in comparison to those who have used their tractor only for farming activities.
“Tyre wear can result in higher fuel consumption as well as an uncomfortable and unstable ride,” said Yukti Arora, manager at J.D. Power. “Customers who report excessive or uneven tyre wear provide much lower ratings on fuel efficiency, traction and ride smoothness of their tractor. When tractors are used for non-farming activities, improper tyre pressure, changing ground-surface conditions from fields to paved roads, and uneven load distribution during haulage operations can cause tyres to wear faster. In order to improve satisfaction with the original tyres, manufacturers and dealers should educate tractor owners on proper tyre maintenance for enhanced performance and extended tyre life.”
While the incidence of problems reported by tractor owners in 2017 has decreased to 49% from 56% last year, the resulting strain on customer satisfaction is much higher this year. “With increased penetration of superior quality products and luxury items, improved information accessibility and enhanced exposure to urban influences, customers in rural India are now more demanding than before and expect higher quality standards from their tractor,” said Arora.
The overall product performance index score drops significantly by 90 points when customers report problems with their tractor versus when no problems are recalled. “While tractor OEMs continue to compete aggressively on improving their product’s quality to match mounting aspirations and evolving perspectives of customers in rural India, sophisticated product offerings with minimal defects that give customers a ‘bang for their buck’ have become an indispensable requirement for gaining acceptance in the rural market,” said Arora. “Indeed, OEMS that can deliver superior product quality will be best positioned in this developing market.”
The India Tractor Product Performance Index Study ranks tractors in the following segments: below 31 horsepower; 31-40 horsepower; 41-50 horsepower; and above 50 horsepower.
Eicher ranks highest in the below 31 HP segment with a score of 856 and performs particularly well across three of seven machine performance categories.
New Holland ranks highest in the 31-40 and 41-50 HP segments, scoring 862 and 866, respectively. New Holland leads in all seven machine performance categories in both of these HP segments.
Mahindra ranks highest in the above 50 HP segment with a score of 889, and achieves the highest score across five machine performance categories.
The 2017 India Tractor Product Performance Index Study is based on evaluations from 3,440 tractor owners across 14 states. The study was fielded from December 2016 to April 2017 and includes owners who purchased a new tractor between December 2014 and March 2016 from an authorized dealership.
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