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Imports top the list of vehicles preferred by Hispanics

November 23, 2010
But group dissatisfied with service experience

The 10 most favored vehicle brands among Hispanics, who represent about 14 percent of the U.S. population and 8 percent of new-vehicle buyers, all are import brands, according to a J.D. Power and Associates study released Jan. 13. The 2002 U.S. Hispanic Automotive Segment Report traced a high penetration of imports among Hispanics in metropolitan, suburban and rural markets. Suzuki topped the preference list, followed by Mitsubishi and Nissan. "By 2020, the Hispanic population in the United States is expected to double to 70 million people, and new-vehicle sales to Hispanics also will experience significant growth, increasing from 8 percent of total sales to 13 percent," said J.D. Power's Bill Williams. "When put in the context of the phenomenal growth of the segment, the predisposition for imports among Hispanics becomes particularly important for domestic makes. It is crucial that manufacturers and dealers pay close attention to the experiences and expectations of Hispanic new-vehicle buyers," Williams said. Hispanic buyers rate fuel economy, purchase price and resale value significantly higher in their vehicle selection than do non-Hispanics, the study found. But while Hispanics tend to rate their new vehicles- domestic and import-as "outstanding," they are much less enthusiastic about their vehicle service experiences overall. "Hispanics," said Williams, "are particularly critical of their experience with dealer service, rating virtually every step of the process significantly lower than do non-Hispanic owners, particularly in the performance of the service advisor, but also in the quality of the service work." The study gathered the opinions of 12,000 Hispanics using online focus groups and English-language questionnaires.