SOURCE: Biz360

November 24, 2008 12:57 ET

Study Finds American Auto Brands Rated More Positively by Consumers Than Japanese Counterparts

Measurement of Customer Opinions Posted Online Using Opinion Insights, Biz360's Latest Analytics Technology, Reveals Surprising Results That Could Bode Well for Future of U.S. Automakers

SAN MATEO, CA--(Marketwire - November 24, 2008) - An analysis of consumer opinions from the past 12 months of non-luxury car brands collected from leading automotive review websites has just been released by Biz360® Inc., a provider of media and market intelligence solutions.

One of the study's findings indicates that top American non-luxury auto brands received higher ratings from online consumers than competing Japanese brands. Biz360 analyzed nearly 300,000 online opinions, culled from review websites such as Auto Mall USA, Edmunds, IntelliChoice and Yahoo Autos for the period October 31, 2007 through November 1, 2008. The company's new Opinion Insights product was used to analyze the online comments.

Fast facts

--  Overall, Ford & Chevy brands outranked Honda and Toyota on Biz360's
    "Net Advocacy" measurement.
    
--  Both Honda and Toyota accounted for a higher percentage of negative
    opinions than their two domestic counterparts.
    
--  Performance, comfort and exterior styling are the most important
    product attributes according to consumer reviews.
    

"Net Advocacy" is Biz360's proprietary metric that factors the positive and negative sentiment of individual comments, as well as the impact of the source of each comment, to yield an indicator of a product or brand's referral value in the marketplace. This process is automated by Biz360's Opinion Insights product, which lets companies quickly compare advocacy scores of different brands, models, product attributes and features. By measuring consumer sentiment on a specific product or feature, Opinion Insights is able to deliver marketers ongoing insight into consumer opinion more cost effectively than traditional research.

Report findings

Note to reporters: more details of the study are available from Tim Cox, ZingPR, tim@zingpr.com.

--  The study highlighted the attributes and features most likely to be
    commented on by consumers. Their comments indicate which factors most
    influence satisfaction and purchase decisions in the automotive category.
    
--  For non-luxury auto manufacturers, four key product attributes
    accounted for more than 75 percent of all online opinions: performance,
    comfort, exterior styling and general opinions.
    
--  Ford and Chevy ranked higher on more key product attributes than did
    Toyota and Honda, and Ford outranked all three car companies overall in
    rankings across these attributes.
    
--  Over the past year, Toyota vehicles received 16 percent more negative
    comments than the average of the negative comments for the four vehicles
    combined.
    
--  Both Ford and Chevrolet outranked Toyota and Honda on overall Net
    Advocacy.
    

"With the national spotlight focused on the fortunes of U.S. auto makers, we were interested in looking at consumer feedback of the most popular brands in the mid-size car category," said Stephen Foster, senior director of analyst services at Biz360. "The results of the analysis are encouraging for these domestic brands. They indicate that certain American cars brands are considered superior to equivalent Japanese brands by consumers when they discuss the key attributes of performance, comfort & exterior styling."

"Technology has changed the buying landscape forever. Consumers now have the tools to be more vocal and influential than ever before. Whether satisfied or not with a product, they can reach out and communicate their opinions to a world of other consumers. And whether we like it or not, consumers are listening and are influenced by those heartfelt opinions expressed by their peers," said Brad Brodigan, CEO of Biz360. "In order to make smart business decisions, it is essential that marketers embrace new tools to understand and interpret the new online consumer dialogue that is happening around them."

Research methodology

Approximately 300,000 consumer opinions from October 31, 2007 through November 1, 2008 were analyzed by Biz360 Research. The study included opinions from a universe of leading consumer review and shopping sites including Auto Mall USA, Edmunds, IntelliChoice and Yahoo Autos.

About Opinion Insights

Opinion Insights captures and analyzes consumer opinion from thousands of expert and consumer review and shopping sites. This proprietary Web-based solution is built on advanced data aggregation and analytics techniques, including natural language processing (NLP) to enable expert and consumer review extraction and analysis across multiple brands, products, attributes and features. It provides marketers with a series of real-time metrics that can be leveraged over time in product planning and development.

About Biz360

Biz360 delivers media and market intelligence solutions to Global 2000 business decision makers, providing them with a 360-degree view of their marketplace. The company gathers and analyzes vast amounts of traditional news media, social media and customer opinion information about an organization, its brands, products and competitors to deliver real-time insights that help its clients make better and faster business decisions. Biz360's clients include AAA, Aetna, AstraZeneca and Sun Microsystems. Biz360 can be reached at 866.424.9360 or www.biz360.com.

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