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12.06.2003 – 13:33

Adient Ltd. & Co. KG

Johnson Controls conducts consumer study in SUV segment
Spotlight on the driver

Burscheid (ots)

Product solutions for the automotive interior
must not only fulfill automakers' requirements, but must also
dovetail with consumers' needs and desires. That's why Johnson
Controls, one of the world's leading suppliers of automotive interior
systems, regularly conducts consumer research in which drivers are
given the opportunity to evaluate vehicle interiors. The Consumer
Research Department recently invited about 100 test persons to
participate in just such a Car Interior Clinic at an independent test
studio in Monheim, Germany. The study featured three models in the
SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) segment: the BMW X5, VW Touareg and Volvo
Just a month ago, the company carried out a similar consumer study
of vehicles in the lower-midsize segment, in cooperation with the
independent market research institute, GfK (Gesellschaft für
Konsumforschung), based in Nuremberg.   This time, the weeklong Car
Interior Clinic will spotlight the SUV segment.
Car Interior Clinic as consumer research tool
At a Car Interior Clinic, half of the respondents quantitatively
evaluate the interiors of the vehicles on display in Monheim. They do
this with the aid of a detailed questionnaire and rating system. The
respondents in the second group are interviewed on the pros and cons
of each vehicle interior by a trained psychologist applying the
methods of depth psychology. This procedure forms the qualitative
component of the Car Interior Clinic. During such clinics the
respondents do not test drive the vehicles. "The car's body and
handling while driving are not decisive aspects for us. We are much
more interested in the driver's perception of the car's interior",
says Silke Jagla, Consumer Research Manager at Johnson Controls. The
interviewers ask the respondents for their overall impression of the
vehicle interior, but also pose specific questions about individual
components, for example whether seat adjustment is user-friendly or
the cockpit controls are within easy reach.
Strict criteria for choice of interview partners
The market research institute recruits respondents either per
telephone or direct approach - at a supermarket parking lot for
example. Interview partners are chosen for the study based on strict
criteria: The person must own and drive a model belonging to the
segment under examination and must have purchased the car new no more
than four years ago. "The respondent should be the person who made
the decision to buy the car", explains Silke Jagla. People who work
in the automotive industry, in marketing or in the media are
disqualified from participating in the interviews, as their responses
could skew the results.
Consumer research from day one
For Johnson Controls, it is crucial that consumer research
accompany the entire product development cycle. Directly following
the market observation that ushers in every new concept, the consumer
research department steps in to actively sound out the wishes and
visions of consumers in the relevant target groups. This enables
Johnson Controls to carefully tailor its products to the exact needs
and desires of the consumer. The company's designers, engineers and
marketing specialists use the results of the Car Interior Clinic in
both product development and marketing. "With the help of market
research, we are able to identify current opinions and trends within
specific segments of the automobile market at an early stage, reflect
these in the products we develop, and thus offer automakers valuable
support in their decision-making process", says Silke Jagla.
Johnson Controls, Inc. is a global market leader in automotive
systems and facility management and control. In the automotive
market, it is a leading supplier of seating and interior systems and
batteries. For non-residential facilities, Johnson Controls provides
building control components and systems and facility management
services. Johnson Controls (New York Stock Exchange: JCI), founded in
1885, has its headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The European
headquarters is in Burscheid, Germany. Its sales for 2002 totaled
20.1 billion US-Dollars, the Automotive Systems Group alone
accounting for 15 billion US-Dollars of this figure. In the current
"Industry Week" business magazine rankings, Johnson Controls has been
listed as one of the top 100 best run companies in the world for the
fifth time in succession.
ots Original Text Service: Johnson Controls GmbH
Further information is available from:
Johnson Controls GmbH
European Headquarters
Astrid Schafmeister
Industriestr. 20-30
51399 Burscheid
Tel.: +49 2174 65-3189
Fax:  +49 2174 65-3219

Original content of: Adient Ltd. & Co. KG, transmitted by news aktuell