A Study in Factors Affecting Customer Satisfaction

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1. 1 INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY Customer satisfaction is defined as the measurement of how a company’s products or services meet or surpass its customer’s expectations. It is also a measure of how the customer perceives the way the company’s representatives dealt with his or her needs. Customer satisfaction plays an important role in determining the likelihood of an organization’s success and profitability over the long term.

It is an important way of business to develop customer loyalty that in turn builds repeat business through customer retention.

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Generally speaking, there are three different levels of customer satisfaction: Dissatisfied customers who are seeking for another supplier; satisfied customers who will buy from the company in the future and loyal customers who will remain so despite competitive offers. Unless a business organization develops a base of satisfied customers, it will be difficult if not impossible to remain viable in the market place. Moreover, any business not focused on satisfying its customers will be at the mercy of competitors who will eventually satisfy that persons needs and desires.

Taking prompt action to resolve a customer’s problems can make the 85% of them repeat customers.

It costs on the average six times as much to find a new customer as it does to keep an existing one happy. This underscores the importance of customer satisfaction. “In researching satisfaction, firms generally ask customers whether their product or service has met or exceeded expectations. Thus, expectations are a key factor behind satisfaction. When customers have high expectations and the reality falls short, they will be disappointed and will likely rate their experience as less than satisfying.

The study Factors Influencing Customer Satisfaction Of Mahindra’s Passenger Vehicles At TVS & Sons, Maradu, Ernakulam helps to find out the satisfaction level of customers towards the company’s product and services of the Mahindra through TVS & Sons, cochin.

It tries to suggest the management of TVS & Sons, Cochin, the ways through which the customers can be satisfied and the way at which the Mahindra can satisfy their customers by making very small changes in their products. 1. 2 INDUSTRY PROFILE

INDUSTRY PROFILE; AUTOMOBILE INDUSTRY The history of the automobile begins as early as 1769, with the creation of steam engined automobiles capable of human transport. In 1806, the first cars powered by an internal combustion engine running on fuel gas appeared, which led to the introduction in 1885 of the ubiquitous modern gasoline- or petrol-fueled internal combustion engine. Cars powered by electric power briefly appeared at the turn of the 20th century, but largely disappeared from use until the turn of the 21st century.

The early history of the automobile can be divided into a number of eras, based on the prevalent means of propulsion. Later periods were defined by trends in exterior styling, and size and utility preferences. In the beginning automobile industry was dominated by steam powered engines. The vehicles were expensive and difficult to maintain. The incidences of frequent boiler explosions and other safety problems has made the prospective buyers from the passenger cars. Commercial history of the automobile started with the invention of gasoline powered internal combustion engines.

The German inventor Karl Benz invented the first gasoline powered internal combustion vehicle in 1885 at Mannheim, Germany. Commercial production of the Benz started in 1885. Panhard ET Levassor of France was the first company exclusively builds and sells automobiles from 1889. The early 1900’s saw so many automobile companies came into existence in a number of European countries and United States. The first automobile produced in US was the curved dash’s old mobile. It had a three horse power machine and sold 5,000 by 1904.

In 1960’s a big invention in the automobile industry has happened. The 1960’s saw rapid rapid developments in the automobile manufacturing technology. A milestone in the history of automobile was achieved by the invention of efficient fuel injection process and independent suspensions and turbo chargers. Pontiac Tran s AM was the best selling car from 1969 to 1980. Computer Aided Design (CAD) was introduced for design of vehicles from 1980’s. Ford Taurus was the first vehicle to be built using CAD.

The automobile business is evolving rapidly on a worldwide basis. Car and parts manufacturers are emerging, component design and manufacture are now frequently outsourced instead of being created in-house, brands are changing and the giant automobile companies are expanding deeper into providing financial service to the car buyers. Meanwhile, all of the biggest, most successful automobile industry firms have become global in nature. Globalization is in evidence throughout in the automobile industry.

The evolution of the automotive industry has been influenced by various innovations in fuels, vehicle components, societal infrastructure, and manufacturing practices, as well as changes in markets, suppliers and business structures.

Some historians cite examples as early as the year 1600 of sail-mounted carriages as the first vehicles to be propelled by something other than animals or humans. However, it is believed by most historians that the key starting point for the automobile was the development of the engine.

The engine was developed as a result of discovering new energy carrying mediums, such as steam in the 1700s, and new fuels, such as gas and gasoline in the 1800s. Shortly after the invention of the 4-stroke internal combustion gasoline-fueled engine in 1876, the development of the first motor vehicles and establishment of first automotive firms in Europe and America occurred. During the 1890s and early 1900s, developments of other technologies, such as the steering wheel and floor-mounted accelerator, sped up the development of the automotive industry by making vehicles easier to use.

Almost simultaneously, in America, the societal infrastructure that would provide fertile ground for the proliferation of automobiles was being set. Driver’s licenses were issued, service stations were opened, and car sales with time payments were instituted. Famous vehicle models such as Ford’s Model T were developed during these times and, by 1906, car designs began abandoning the carriage look and taking on a more “motorage” appearance. During the 1910s, the development of technologies and societal infrastructure continued in addition to new manufacturing practices and business strategies.

Traffic lights started appearing in the U. S.

and thousands of road signs were posted by B. F. Goodrich on over 100,000 miles of U. S. roads. Henry Ford’s famous assembly line was launched in 1913, which allowed vehicles to be mass produced and thus achieved economies of scale.

Ford also introduced the concept of using interchangeable and standard parts to further enable the mass production process. Automakers also started to merge with other companies (e. g. , GM acquired Chevrolet) and to expand to other markets (e. g. GM of Canada).

In the 1920s, the development of infrastructure, adoption of new manufacturing practices, and the merging of companies continued (e. g. , Benz and Daimler, Chrysler and Dodge, Ford and Lincoln). In the U. S. , the Bureau of Public Roads and the enactment of the Kahn-Wadsworth Bill helped facilitate road-building projects and develop a national road system.

In manufacturing, mass production methods became better established, which led to the availability of a wide range of satisfactory cars to the public.

While Ford had focused on a single model, GM adopted a new production strategy for providing greater product variety, which helped the company increase their market share by 20% and reduce Ford’s by 24%. In the 1930s, several new vehicle brands were developed (e. g. , Ford Mercury, Lincoln Continental, Volkswagen) and trends in vehicle consumer preferences were established that differentiated the American and European market.

In the U. S. market, consumers preferred luxurious and powerful cars, whereas in Europe consumers preferred smaller and low-priced cars.

Also during this time, GM’s product variety strategy continued to give them a competitive advantage over Ford, allowing GM to continue increasing their market share while Ford kept losing theirs. In the 1940s, during World War II (WWII), automotive factories were used to make military vehicles and weapons, thus halting civilian vehicle production. After WWII, the economies of most European and some Asian-pacific countries, such as Japan, were decimated; this required the development of new production and business strategies such as those of Toyota, which began to develop what is now known as Just in Time (JIT) manufacturing.

Most of the first models produced were similar to the pre-war designs since it took some time for the plants to revamp their operations to make new designs and models. In the 1950s and 1960s, more technological innovations, such as fiberglass bodies and higher compression ratio fuels, allowed vehicle developers to appease the growing consumer interest for vehicle comfort, look, and feel. Car designs were highly influenced by emerging safety and environmental regulations. Vehicle speed limits and front seat belts became standard, in addition to other features such as heating and ventilation equipment.

The 1970s were marked by stricter environmental regulations and the oil embargo of the early 70s, which led to the development of low emission vehicle technologies, such as catalytic converters, and a 55-mph nationwide speed limit in the U. S. Foreign cars like the Japanese Honda Civic started appearing in the U. S. market. The Civic was marketed as a fuel efficient and low-emissions vehicle, which given the recent high oil prices and strict environmental regulations made it well-received.

Despite the entrance of new competitors into the U.

S. market, U. S. automakers underestimated the threat of foreign automakers to their market shares.

In the 1980s, the U. S. automotive industry began losing market share to the higher quality, affordable, and fuel efficient cars from Japanese automakers. In response to this market share loss, U. S. automakers began focusing on improving quality by adopting different Japanese manufacturing management philosophies, such as JIT.

Although their adoption of JIT and other philosophies helped improve the quality of

U. S. vehicles, it did not fully bridge the gap between the quality of U. S. and Japanese cars.

This gap remained because U. S. automakers tried applying JIT techniques without a full understanding of the whole Japanese manufacturing system, while Japanese automakers had decades to develop, refine and master their JIT approach. Another significant paradigm of the 1980s was the global nature of vehicle manufacturing. Automakers started assembling vehicles around the world.

This trend was accelerated in the 1990s with the construction of overseas facilities and mergers between multinational automakers. This global expansion gave automakers a greater capacity to infiltrate new markets quickly and at lower costs. The increased product offerings in many markets led to consumers having a greater variety of vehicles from which to choose. To this new vehicle buffet was coupled the explosion of the internet, which made vehicle-related information readily accessible to consumers.

Internet-informed and empowered consumers now wanted a vehicle that was “personalizable,” inexpensive, reliable, and quickly obtainable.

Consumers desired vehicles that were less harmful to the environment, which led to the introduction of hybrid vehicles by Japanese automakers in the late 1990s. In the current decade, the recent trend of increasing sophistication and empowerment of the consumer has led automakers to identify new and more specialized markets within saturated markets with diverse customer bases, such as that of the U. S.

Another trend is to infiltrate new emerging markets such as Southeast Asia and Latin America, which has further motivated the establishment of production facilities overseas and the establishment of global alliances and commercial strategic partnerships with foreign automakers. Of these new markets, China appears to be the most promising. An Overview of the Indian Automobile Industry Starting its journey from the day when the first car rolled on the streets of Mumbai in 1898, the Indian automobile industry has demonstrated a phenomenal growth to this day.

Today, the Indian automobile industry presents a galaxy of varieties and models meeting all possible expectations and globally established industry standards. Some of the leading names echoing in the Indian automobile industry include Maruti Suzuki, Tata Motors, Mahindra and Mahindra, Hyundai Motors, Hero Honda and Hindustan Motors in addition to a number of others. During the early stages of its development, Indian automobile industry heavily depended on foreign technologies. However, over the years, the manufacturers in India have started using their own technology evolved in the native soil.

The thriving market place in the country has attracted a number of automobile manufacturers including some of the reputed global leaders to set their foot in the soil looking forward to enhance their profile and prospects to new heights.

Following a temporary setback on account of the global economic recession, the Indian automobile market has once again picked up a remarkable momentum witnessing a buoyant sale for the first time in its history in the month of September 2009. The automobile sector of India is the seventh largest in the world. In a year, the country manufactures about 2. million cars making up an identifiable chunk in the world’s annual production of about 73 million cars in a year. The country is the largest manufacturer of motorcycles and the fifth largest producer of commercial vehicles.

Industry experts have visualized an unbelievably huge increase in these figures over the immediate future. The figures published by the Asia Economic Institute indicate that the Indian automobile sector is set to emerge as the global leader by 2012. In the year 2009, India rose to be the fourth largest exporter of automobiles following Japan, South Korea and Thailand.

Experts state that in the year 2050, India will top the car volumes of all the nations of the world with about 611 million cars running on its roads. At present, about 75 percent of India’s automobile industry is made up by small cars, with the figure ranking the nation on top of any other country on the globe.

Over the next two or three years, the country is expecting the arrival of more than a dozen new brands making compact car models. Recently, the automotive giants of India including General Motors (GM), Volkswagen, Honda, and Hyundai, have declared significant expansion plans.

On account of its huge market potential, a very low base of car ownership in the country estimated at about 25 per 1,000 people, and a rapidly surging economy, the nation is firmly set on its way to become an outsourcing platform for a number of global auto companies. Some of the upcoming cars in the India soil comprise Maruti A-Star (Suzuki), Maruti Splash (Suzuki), VW Up and VW Polo (Volkswagen), Bajaj small car (Bajai Auto), Jazz (Honda) and Cobalt, Aveo (GM) in addition to several others. History of the Automobile industry in India

The economic liberalization that dawned in India in the year 1991 has succeeded in bringing about a sustained growth in the automotive production sector triggered by enhanced competitiveness and relaxed restrictions prevailing in the Indian soil.

A number of Indian automobile manufacturers including Tata Motors, Maruti Suzuki and Mahindra and Mahindra, have dramatically expanded both their domestic and international operations. The country’s active economic growth has paved a solid road to the further expansion of its domestic automobile market.

This segment has in fact invited a huge amount of India-specific investment by a number of multinational automobile manufacturers. As a significant milestone in its progress, the monthly sales of passenger cars in India exceeded 100,000 units in February 2009. The beginnings of automotive industry in India can be traced during 1940s.

After the nation became independent in the year 1947, the Indian Government and the private sector launched their efforts to establish an automotive component manufacturing industry to meet the needs of the automobile industry.

The growth of this segment was however not so encouraging in the initial stage and through the 1950s and 1960s on account of nationalization combined with the license raj that was hampering the private sector in the country. However, the period that followed 1970s, witnessed a sizeable growth contributed by tractors, scooters and commercial vehicles. Even till those days, cars were something of a sort of a major luxury. Eventually, the country saw the entry of Japanese manufacturers establishing Maruti Udyog.

During the period that followed, several foreign based companies started joint ventures with Indian companies.

During 1980s, several Japanese manufacturers started joint-ventures for manufacturing motorcycles and light commercial-vehicles. During this time, that the Indian government selected Suzuki for a joint-venture to produce small cars. Following the economic liberalization in 1991 and the weakening of the license raj, several Indian and multi-national car companies launched their operations on the soil. After this, automotive component and automobile manufacturing growth remarkably speed-up to meet the demands of domestic and export needs.

Experts have an opinion that during the early stages the olicies and the treatment by the Indian government were not favorable to the development of the automobile industry. However, the liberalization policy and various tax reliefs announced by the Indian government over the recent past have pronounced a significantly encouraging impact on this industry segment. Estimates reveal that owing to several boosting factors, Indian automobile industry has been growing at a pace of about 18% per year. Therefore, global automobile giants like Volvo, General Motors and Ford have started looking at India as a prospective hot destination to establish and expand their operations.

Like many other nations India’s highly developed transportation system has played a very important role in the development of the country’s economy over the past to this day. One can say that the automobile industry in the country has occupied a solid space in the platform of Indian economy.

Empowered by its present growth, today the automobile industry in the country can produce a diverse range of vehicles under three broad categories namely cars, two-wheelers and heavy vehicles. Exports of Automobile Industry Today, India is among the world’s largest producers of small cars.

The New York Times has rated India as a very strong engineering base with an incomparable expertise in the arena of manufacturing a number of low-cost, fuel-efficient cars has encouraged the expansion plans of the manufacturing facilities of a number of automobile leaders like Hyundai Motors, Nissan, Toyota, Volkswagen and Suzuki. On 22 February 2010, Hyundai motors exported its 10,00,000th car, the feat which was achieved by the firm in just over 10 years. Hyundai Motors is the largest passenger car exporter and the second largest car manufacturer in the country.

In the similar lines, General Motors has announced its plans to export not less than 50,000 cars made in India by the year 2011. In yet another proposal, Ford Motors is to setup a manufacturing facility costing about US$500 million in India with an annual capacity of 250,000 cars. The firm has stated that the facility will play a major part in its strategic plan to make India a hub for its global production business. In yet another significant move, Fiat motors has stated that it will source a big volume of auto components from India worth about US$1 billion.

In the year 2009, India overtook China by emerging as the fourth largest exporter of cars in Asia .

Various Segments of the Indian Automobile Industry Motor cycles manufacture makes up the major share in the two-wheeler segment of the Indian automobile industry. About 50% of the motorcycles are manufactured by Hero Honda. While Honda manufactures about 46% of the scooters, TVS produces 82% of the mopeds running on the Indian roads. About 40% of the three-wheelers manufactured in India are used for transporting goods with Piaggio manufacturing 40% of the vehicles sold in the Indian market.

On the other hand, Bajaj has emerged as the leader in manufacturing three-wheelers used for passenger transport.

The firm produces about 68% percent of the three wheelers used for passenger transport in India. The Indian passenger vehicle segment is dominated by cars which make up about 80% of it. Maruti Suzuki manufactures about 52% of passenger cars while the firm enjoys a complete monopoly in the manufacture of multi-purpose vehicles. In the utility vehicles segment Mahindra makes up a 42% share. Tata Motors is the leader in the Indian commercial vehicles market while it holds more than 60% share.

Tata Motors also enjoys the credit of being the world’s fifth largest manufacturer of medium and heavy commercial vehicles. Potential of Indian Automobile Industry There is a very stiff competition in the automobile industry segment in India. This has helped many to realize their dreams of driving the most luxurious cars. During the recent past, a number of overseas companies have started grabbing a big chunk of the market share in both domestic and export sales. Every new day dawns in India with some new launches by active players in the Indian automobile arena.

By introducing some low cost cars, the industry had made it possible for common men to buy cars for their personal use. With some innovative strategies and by adopting some alternative remedial measures, the Indian automobile industry has successfully come unaffected out of the global financial crisis. While the automobile industry in India is the ninth largest in the world, the country emerged as the fourth largest automobiles exporter on the globe following Japan, South Korea and Thailand, in the year 2009.

Over and above, a number of automobile manufacturers based in India have expanded their operations around the globe also giving way for a number of reputed MNCs to enthusiastically invest in the Indian automobile sector. Nissan Motors has revealed its prospective plans to export 250,000 vehicles produced in its India plant by the year 2011.

General Motors has also come up with similar plans. During the current fiscal year, the Indian automobile industry rode high on the resurgence of consumer demand in the country as a result of the Government’s fiscal stimulus and attractively low interest rates.

As a result the total turnover of the domestic automobile industry increased by about 27 per cent. A reply produced in the Lok Sabha recently has quoted data from the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers and has revealed that the total turnover of the Indian automobile Industry in April-February 2009-10 was 1,62,708. 77 crore. This is a remarkable achievement compared with the total revenue of Rs 1,28,384.

53 crore reported during the same period of last fiscal year. Specifically, the segment of commercial vehicles witnessed the biggest jump in revenues by 31 per cent by reporting Rs 38,845. 9 crore. During the same period, the passenger vehicle segment in the country witnessed a growth of 27 per cent over the last fiscal year by reporting a total revenue of Rs 76,545. 96 crores. These figures imply a highly prospective road lying immediately ahead of the Indian automobile industry.

Predictions made by Ernst and Young have estimated that the Indian passenger car market will have a growth rate of about 12 percent per annum over the next five years to reach the production of 3. 75 million units by the year 2014.

The analysts have further stated that the industry’s turnover will touch $155 billion by 2016. This achievement will succeed in consolidating India’s position as the seventh largest automobiles manufacturer on the globe, eventually surging forth to become the third largest by the year 2030 behind China and the US. The Automotive Mission Plan launched by the Indian government has envisaged that the country will emerge as the seventh largest car maker on the globe thereby contributing more than 10 percent to the nation’s $1. 2-trillion economy.

Further, industry experts believe that the nation will soon establish its stand as an automobile hub exporting about 2. 75 million units and selling about a million units to be operated on the domestic roads. 1. 3 COMPANY PROFILE TVS & SONS T V Sundram Iyengar & Sons Limited, established in 1911 is the parent company of the TVS Group and is a leading automobile distribution company in India. During the year 2010-11 the company attained a turnover of 6000 Crores and has direct employee strength of 6000. It operates through its three divisions namely – TVS, Sundaram Motors and Madras Auto Service.

Being the trading and distribution arm of the group, the business activities of TVS & Sons include Dealerships for automobile vehicles, Distribution of spares for after –market, sales and service support for Garage Equipment, products for off-highway application like Construction & Material handling. The global business operation of the company includes establishing & managing Joint ventures/ Alliances for automobile distribution / dealership business, sourcing and supply chain related activities. Currently it has its presence in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

TVS & Sons distributes Commercial vehicles, Multi Utility & Sports Utility vehicles, three wheelers, passenger cars representing leading automobile vehicle manufacturers such as Ashok Leyland, Mahindra & Mahindra, Mahindra Navistar, Daimler Chrysler, General Motors, Honda, Renault, Volkswagen and off highway equipment manufactured by Escorts, JLG, Ingersoll Rand, Pal Finger & Leyland Deere. The company has more than 150 outlets and sells around 60000 vehicles and services more than 600000 vehicles per annum.

Being the leading automobile distribution company in India, we have nine retail fuel outlets in Tamil Nadu representing Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. The company is also the largest distributor of automobile spare parts in the country, handling more than 80 suppliers,8090 customers and 35000 part numbers and markets TVS Quality Branded Products. TVS & Sons Ltd. , a dominant dealer in South India until 90s, has now become a PAN India organisation in automobile after-market vertical over the years.

All the outlets are constantly been upgraded in order to provide the right ambience to the customers; the company is also known for its contribution to the customers by reducing the down time of the vehicles and improve the profitability of customers using tools like Kaizen & LEAN. Joint Ventures: TVS Lanka (Private) Ltd TVS Lanka is a Joint Venture between TVS & Sons and United Motors Lanka Ltd of Sri Lanka.

Based in Colombo, TVS Lanka is the authorized Distributor & Dealer for TVS range of Two Wheelers & three wheelers.

In a very short span, considerably increased sales of TVS Two Wheelers and is the third highest seller of two wheelers in Sri Lanka. TVS Auto Bangladesh Ltd (TVS ABL) TVS Auto Bangladesh Ltd is a joint venture between TVS & Sons and Rian Motors of Bangladesh. Within three years of operation Company has become the third highest seller of two wheeler in the country among the Indian makes. TVSABL derives its synergies in the form of local knowledge from Rian Motors and expertise of TVS & Sons in managing distribution business for more than five decade.

Mahindra & Mahindra

TVS & Sons are authorized dealers for Mahindra & Mahindra’s range of Utility Vehicles, Micro Commercial Vehicles and Cars in Kerala. To facilitate convenient access for the customers, it has set up service and spares outlets across Kerala. Mahindra made its entry into the passenger car segment with the Logan in April 2007 under the Mahindra Renault joint venture. M;M will make its maiden entry into the heavy trucks segment with Mahindra Navistar, the joint venture with International Truck, USA. Mahindra”s automotive division makes a wide range of vehicles including MUVs, LCVs and three wheelers.

It offers over 20 models including new generation multi-utility vehicles like the Scorpio and the Bolero.

At the 2008 Delhi Auto Show, Mahindra executives said the company is pursuing an aggressive product expansion program that would see the launch of several new platforms and vehicles over the next three years, including an entry-level SUV designed to seat five passengers and powered by a small turbodiesel engine. [19] True to their word, Mahindra ; Mahindra launched the Mahindra Xylo in January 2009, and as of June 2009, the Xylo has sold over 15000 units.

Mahindra ; Mahindra grew from being a maker of army vehicles to a major automobile and tractor manufacturer. Mahindra ; Mahindra (M;M) was first known for assembly under licence of the iconic Willys Jeep in India. The company later branched out into manufacturing light commercial vehicles.

The company”s flagship UV, Scorpio, hit the Indian Markets and the success of this multi-utility vehicle saw the company winning the consumers hearts. M;M made its entry into the passenger car segment with the Logan in April 2007 under the Mahindra-Renault joint venture.

Its plants in Mumbai and Nasik manufacture multi-utility vehicles and their engines are produced at the Igatpuri plant. Utility Vehicles, Light commercial vehicles and 3 wheelers are manufactured at the Zaheerabad plant in Andhra Pradesh and three-wheelers at the Haridwar plant. The company has an established dealer network which is estimated to be more than 500. The well established company is now eyeing the hatchback”s and will bring in some competition when it launches the Mini-Xylo in India.

The company too has plans to go green with hybrid versions of their car models.

MAHINDRA ; MAHINDRA LIMITED (M;M) Mahindra ; Mahindra Limited (M;M) is an Indian multinational automaker headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It is one of the largest automobile manufacturers by production in India and a subsidiary of Mahindra Group conglomerate. The company was founded in 1945 in Ludhiana as Mahindra ; Mohammed by brothers K. C.

Mahindra and J. C. Mahindra and Malik Ghulam Mohammed. After India gained independence and Pakistan was formed, Mohammed emigrated to Pakistan where he became the nation’s first finance minister.

The company changed its name to Mahindra & Mahindra in 1948.

It is ranked #21 in the list of top companies of India in Fortune India 500 in 2011. History Mahindra & Mahindra was set up as a steel trading company in 1945. It soon expanded into manufacturing general-purpose utility vehicles, starting with assembly under license of the iconic Willys Jeep in India. Soon established as the Jeep manufacturers of India, M&M later branched out into the manufacture of light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and agricultural tractors.

Today, M&M is the leader in the utility vehicle segment in India with its flagship UV Scorpio and enjoys a growing global market presence in both the automotive and tractor businesses.

Over the past few years, M&M has expanded into new industries and geographies. They entered into the two-wheeler segment by taking over Kinetic Motors in India. M&M also has controlling stake in REVA Electric Car Company and acquired South Korea’s SsangYong Motor Company in 2011. The US based Reputation Institute recently ranked Mahindra among the top 10 Indian companies in its ‘Global 200: The World’s Best Corporate Reputations’ list.

Automobiles Mahindra & Mahindra is a major automobile manufacturer of utility vehicles, passenger cars, pickups, commercial vehicles, and two wheelers.

Its tractors are sold on six continents. It has acquired plants in China and the United Kingdom, and has three assembly plants in the USA. M&M has partnerships with international companies like Renault SA, France and International Truck and Engine Corporation, USA. M&M has a global presence and its products are exported to several countries. Its global subsidiaries include Mahindra Europe Srl.

ased in Italy, Mahindra USA Inc. , Mahindra South Africa and Mahindra (China) Tractor Co. Ltd. M&M made its entry into the passenger car segment with the Logan in April 2007 under the Mahindra Renault joint venture. M&M will make its maiden entry into the heavy trucks segment with Mahindra Navistar, the joint venture with International Truck, USA.

M&M’s automotive division makes a wide range of vehicles including MUVs, LCVs and three wheelers. It offers over 20 models including new generation multi-utility vehicles like the Scorpio and the Bolero.

It formerly had a joint venture with Ford called Ford India Private Limited to build passenger cars. At the 2008 Delhi Auto Show, Mahindra executives said the company is pursuing an aggressive product expansion program that would see the launch of several new platforms and vehicles over the next three years, including an entry-level SUV designed to seat five passengers and powered by a small turbodiesel engine. True to their word, Mahindra ; Mahindra launched the Mahindra Xylo in January 2009, and as of June 2009, the Xylo has sold over 15000 units.

Also in early 2008, Mahindra commenced its first overseas CKD operations with the launch of the Mahindra Scorpio in Egypt, in partnership with the Bavarian Auto Group.

This was soon followed by assembly facilities in Brazil. Vehicles assembled at the plant in Bramont, Manaus, include Scorpio Pik Ups in single and double cab pick-up body styles as well as SUVs. Mahindra planned to sell the diesel SUVs and pickup trucks starting in late 2010 in North America through an independent distributor, Global Vehicles USA, based in Alpharetta, Georgia.

Mahindra announced it will import pickup trucks from India in knockdown kit (CKD) form to circumvent the Chicken tax. CKDs are complete vehicles that will be assembled in the U. S.

from kits of parts shipped in crates. On 18 October 2010, however, it was reported that Mahindra had indefinitely delayed the launch of vehicles into the North American market, citing legal issues between it and Global Vehicles after Mahindra retracted its contract with Global Vehicles earlier in 2010, due to a decision to sell the vehicles directly to consumers instead of through Global Vehicles.

However, a November 2010 report quoted John Perez, the CEO of Global Vehicles USA, as estimating that he expects Mahindra’s small diesel pickups to go on sale in the U. S. by spring 2011, although legal complications remain, and Perez, while hopeful, admits that arbitration could take more than a year. Later reports suggest that the delays may be due to an Manindra scrapping the original model of the truck and replacing it with an upgraded one before selling them to Americans.

In June 2012, a mass tort lawsuit was filed against Mahindra by its American dealers, alleging the company of conspiracy and fraud.

Mahindra ; Mahindra has a controlling stake in Mahindra Reva Electric Vehicles. In 2011, it also gained a controlling stake in South Korea’s SsangYong Motor Company. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M), has launched its much awaited SUV, XUV 500, code named as W201 in September 2011.

The last ‘500′ in the name is pronounced as ‘5 double-O’ (alphabet). The new SUV by Mahindra has been designed in-house and it is developed on the first global SUV platform that could be used for developing more SUVs. In India, the new Mahindra XUV 500 comes in a price range between Rs 14 lakh to Rs 15 lakh.

Besides India, the company also targets Europe, Africa, Australia and Latin America for this model. M & M President Mr Pawan Goenka told that the company plans to launch six new models this fiscal. The company launched CNG version of its mini truck Maxximo on 29 June 2012.

A new version of Verito in diesel and petrol options was launched by the company on 26 July 2012 to compete with Maruti’s Dzire and Toyota Kirloskar Motor’s Etios. Mahindra Xylo, MPV will now be available with a warranty of 3 years / 1,00,000 kilometres and this warranty is  extended across all Xylo variants.

This new warranty is likely to lure customers towards buying this happy leg vehicle from the stables of Indian manufacturer Mahindra. With its chic looks and user friendly features, Mahindra Xylo has already carved out a niche for itself in  the Indian MPV segment. Better known as ‘Happy legs car’  Mahindra Xylo is already famous for its spaciousness and comfort and  now with the new warranty it is likely to garner sales as it has gone upscale in terms of customer confidence and satisfaction.

The Xylo has been a successful product for Mahindra and has helped the company to smartly position itself in the budget utility vehicle segment.

The all new Xylo has been launched early this year has come out carrying 50 new changes and features. At present the Xylo lineup includes five variants which are powered by three distinct engine options including the 120 BHP m Hawk engine. Mahindra XUV 500 bookings are now open again for two weeks across 19 selected cities of India after February 2012. As per official announcement, 9 months production capacity for the XUV 500 is sold out due to overwhelming response from customers in the first 2 rounds of booking. Now, to meet the growing demand, the production capacity has been ramped up to 4000 vehicles per month.

Mahindra has also unveiled the XUV 500 in Indore with a price tag of Rs. 11. 83 lakh (ex-showroom) . Mahindra XUV 500 SUV price will be on similar lines for Patna and Jaipur, also this Cheetah inspired utility vehicle will soon be available in other Indian cities. Designed and developed in-house, the XUV 500 was Mahindra India’s first crack at the monocoque design, front wheel drive and transverse engine Mahindra Bolero, the flagship Sports utility vehicle from homegrown manufacturer Mahindra has clocked in 1, 00,686 units in FY 2011-12 registering a 21% increase.

Bolero was once again bestowed with the highest selling SUV title in India for the sixth consecutive year; also this was the highest annual sales garnered by the Bolero since it came into being.

In March 2012, only the SUV managed 10,026 unit sales which is also the highest ever monthly sales till now. Mahindra Bolero sold 83,112 units of sales in 2010-11 FY. M&M’s Bolero has risen up to the seventh position in the top selling passenger vehicles in India in FY 2011-12 from the 9th position it had in the year 2010-11. Noticeably Mahindra Bolero is the only SUV to feature in the top selling passenger vehicles in India.

Mahindra Scorpio SUV is going under scalpel and W105 is the code name given to Mahindra’s facelift project.

The refreshed version of Mahindra Scorpio is likely to arrive in the year 2014. The all new Mahindra Scorpio is likely to lose weight and the auto major has designed a special project called T026 to reduce down the weight of the car by 260 kilograms with the incorporation of fibre parts which is going to increase the efficiency level of the car and is going to make it more frugal. Mahindra is likely to add an all-new heart to new Scorpio; the 2. L engine from the Cheetah XUV 500 that churns out 140bhp-330Nm torque is likely to go under the hood of Scorpio. To increase the legroom space in the middle row, Mahindra is eyeing to increase the wheelbase. Mahindra Verito Mahindra India has unearthed the ‘New Look Verito’ with a price tag of Rs.

5. 27 lacs   for Petrol, BS4 & Rs. 6. 26 lacs  for Diesel BS4 (both prices ex-showroom New Delhi). Refreshed 2012  Verito is available in both fuel options , the gasoline powered is made available in  2 guises , G2 and G4 and the diesel powered will have  D2, D4 and D6.

Mahindra Verito has gone under the scalpel to become more stylish, contemporary and premium, with the improved ergonomics; in all the refreshed Verito sports 23 new changes and features. The core strength will be the powertrains running the new Verito sedan, Renault 1. 5 LDCi diesel engine and Renault 1. 4 L MPFi petrol engine which are best in class and extremely frugal. The revamped front fascia has new headlamps, refreshed bumper, redesigned bumper and front grille.

The rear has also been refreshed with new clear  lens tail lamps , deck lid and cheome applique and sleek bumper.

The cabin area has also gone classy with two tone instrument panel, elegant fabric upholstery and contemporary grey tone interior color theme. New Mahindra Thar four wheel drive variant is officially launched with air conditioner with heater. The factory fitted AC and heater, however, has resulted in an increase in price of Thar 4X4 with CRDe engine which now cost at Rs 6. 75 lakh (ex-showroom Mumbai). M&M has launched this upgraded Thar SUV bang on time as the scorching sun is setting just above the head making the summers unbearable without an AC.


Measuring customer satisfaction is a relatively new concept to many companies that have been focused exclusively on income statements and balance sheets. Companies now recognize that the new global economy has changed things forever. Increased competition, crowded markets with little product differentiation and years of continual sales growth followed by two decades of flattened sales curves have indicated to today’s sharp competitors that their focus must change. Customer satisfaction is the state of mind that customers have about a company when their expectations have been met or exceeded over the lifetime of the product or service.

The achievement of customer satisfaction leads to company loyalty and product repurchase. Companies recognize that in a global market, they will need to gain a greater understanding of customer satisfaction in order to adapt and mould their services for the customer. Understanding the wants and needs of your customers is a very important element of business and customer satisfaction reviews are the best way to achieve this. As a very reputed vehicle retailer, TVS ; Sons, Maradu, Cochin has their primary concern as their customer’s satisfaction.

They treat their customer as the king and they need to know up to what extend their customers are satisfied with the Mahindra vehicles they are providing and related services that they are providing with the vehicles, the financing, after sales services and so on.

This is the reason that the study on customer satisfaction of Mahindra passenger vehicles been carried out in TVS ; Sons, Maradu, Cochin. 1. 5 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY Primary objective * To study the factors responsible for satisfaction of MAHINDRA passenger vehicles Customers of TVS ; Sons.

Secondary objective * To study the role of after sales services provided by the organization towards the customer satisfaction * To recommend the management of TVS ; Sons, Kaloor, with certain measures to be taken in order to improve the level of customer satisfaction * To inform the MAHINDRA Automobiles, about customer needs and wants on their current vehicles and improvements suggested by the customers. 1.

6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY Customer satisfaction is an important factor that leads to sales effectiveness of the company.

It is important which will help the organization in increasing its future sales, profits and market demand. “Customer satisfaction, a business term, is a measure of how products and services supplied by a company meet or surpass customer expectation. ” This research work consists of the study of the factors influenced towards MAHINDRA light passenger vehicles with reference with the leading automobile distributor, TVS ; Sons. This study is an attempt to examine and analyze the factors influencing the satisfaction level of the customers of TVS to Mahindra light passenger vehicles.

This study will be beneficial to both the companies to improve themselves its efficiency after this study.

The scope of the study was congested only to the district of Ernakulam and to the customers of TVS ; Sons. 1. 7 REASEARCH METHODOLOGY Descriptive research methods are used to better describe marketing problems, situations, or markets such as market potential for a product or the demographics and attitude of customers. Sample design Sampling is the process by which the selection of some parts of an aggregate or totality on the basis of which a judgment or inference about the aggregate or totality is made.

Sampling unit: existing users of the Mahindra passenger vehicles who purchased from TVS ; sons, Maradu and Kaloor Sample size: 50 Sampling method: convenient sampling is used. A fraction of population being investigated which selected by convenience sampling method for the easier collection of data.

Source of data: the Primary data will be collected from existing users of the Mahindra passenger vehicles who purchased from TVS ; sons, Kaloor. The SECONDARY data will be collected from company records, journals and websites.

Period of study: 20th august 2012 to 12th September 2012 Tools uses for the study * Personal interview * Questionnaires * Telephonic interview Research Instruments for data analysis and interpretation * Graphs and percentage methods for easy interpretation of data 1. 8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY * A bigger sample size would have revealed information in much more depth * A higher time frame more than 23 days would have helped gaining more insights to be research work * Analysis, finding and suggestion were based on the information selected from the respondents. Any accuracy issues nvolved in the researcher might have affected the latter works of the researcher. * There is a chance of people related errors.

Busy people or relatively aggressive people may give wrong feedbacks * The study was conducted in a festive season in Kerala namely onam. The number of people who should be available in the survey area has gone for vacations. It has made an impact on the results and feedback of the customers. CHAPTER II REVIEW OF LITERATURE REVIEW OF LITERATURE Marketing The following definition approved by the American Marketing Association Board of Directors; approved from 2007 October.

Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

Marketing Research: Marketing research is the function that links the consumer, customer, and public to the marketer through information–information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems; generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions; monitor marketing performance; and improve understanding of marketing as a process.

Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications. Customer value: It is defined as the difference between what a customer gets from a product, and what he or she has to give in order to get it. It helps people and companies unlock their inner creative power and achieve amazing results. Relative performance identifies how the product or service gives customer value relative to what competitors offer.

In order to generate more thought about customer value, and to reach out to a customer base, a business might promote a customer value proposition.

The customer value proposition is basically a promise of benefits from a vendor to customers. Customer Satisfaction Customer satisfaction is defined as the measurement of how a company’s product or services meet or surpass its customer’s expectations. It is also a measure of how the customer perceives the way the company’s representatives dealt with his or her needs.

The Wikipedia defines the term customer satisfaction as the number of customers, or percentage of total customers, whose reported experience with a firm, its products, or its services (ratings) exceeds specified satisfaction goals. According to PHILIP KOTLER, the definition of customer satisfaction is ‘the level of a person’s felt state resulting from comparing a product’s perceived performance (or outcome) in relation to the person’s expectations.

Customer satisfaction is important because many researchers have shown that customer satisfaction has a positive effect on an organization’s profitability.

Due to this, the consequences of customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction must be considered. There is also a positive connection between customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention. Therefore, customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention are all very important for an organization to be successful The customer satisfaction plays a major role in determining the likelihood of an organization’s success and profitability over a long term. An important way for a business to develop customer loyalty that in turn builds repeat business through customer retention.

Generally speaking, there are three different levels of customer satisfaction: dissatisfied customers who are seeking another supplier; satisfied customer who will buy from the company in the future and the loyal customer who will remain so despite of competitive offers. Unless a business organization develop a strong base of satisfied customers, it will be difficult if not impossible to remain viable in its marketplace. Moreover, any business not focused on satisfying their customers will be at the mercy of competitors who will eventually satisfy that person’s needs and desires.

Taking a prompt action to resolve a customer’s problems can make the 85% of them repeat customers. It costs on an average six times as much to find a new customer as it does to keep an existing one happy.

This underscores the importance of customer satisfaction. The steps in measuring and managing customer satisfaction The following are a sound and simple approach for measuring and managing customer satisfaction: * Know who your customer’s are; * Understand your customer’s needs; * Measure your customer service performance; * Focus on their priorities Improve your processes Methodologies Frameworks for evaluating customer satisfaction with products Kano model of Customer Satisfaction The Kano et al. (1996) model of customer satisfaction classifies product attributes based on how they are perceived by customers and their effect on customer satisfaction. (Kano, serkau et al. 1996). According to this model, there are three types of product of attributes that fulfill customer satisfaction to a different degree: * Basic or expected attributes * Performance or spoken attributes * Surprise and delight attributes

A competitive product meets basic expected attributes, maximizes performance attributes, and includes as many “excitement” attributes as financially feasible.

In this model, the customer strives to move away from having unfulfilled requirements and being dissatisfied. The Kano model (Kano, Seraku et al. 1996) The performance or spoken attributes (the central line of the model) are those expressed by customers when asked what they want from the product. Depending on the level of their fulfillment by a product or service these requirements can satisfy or dissatisfy consumers.

This basic or expected attributes (lower curve in the model) are basic attributes, which customers take for granted and they are so obvious that they are not worth mentioning. While the presence of these attributes is not taken into account, their absence is very dissatisfying.

The surprise and delight attributes (upper curve in the model) lay beyond the customer’s expectations. If they are present they excite the customer, but their absence does not dissatisfy, as customers do not expect them. A successful combination of expected and exciting attributes provides a company with an opportunity to achieve competitive advantage.

A successful company will correctly identify the requirements and attributes and use them to document raw data, user characteristics, and important service or product attributes. To make information about the identified requirements about the attributes understandable and useful for designers, a so called Quality Function Deployment (QFD) approach is often being used. The goal of QFD is to assure that the product development process meets and exceeds customer needs and wants and that customer requirement are propagated throughout the life cycle of the product.

The approach uses a number of matrices, which helps in translating customer requirements into engineering to design parameters, specifying product features, manufacturing operations and specific instructions and controls. QFD allows for the minimizing of errors and maximizing of product quality for customers. This approach is probably the only existing quality system with such strong orientation to customer satisfaction. Innovation framework The process of adopting new products has also been studied within innovation adoption literature, and in particular the Rogers’ (1995) innovation framework.

The framework suggests five steps, through which an adopter goes to the adoption of a new product or a service (Rogers 1995:36) First knowledge of an innovation            forming an attitude toward the innovation decision to adopt or reject implementation of the new idea confirmation of this decision Rogers’ model closely resembles the customer satisfaction model by Engel et al.

(1995). The first knowledge is acquired when an individual is provided with the information about the innovation. The attitude is formed evaluating the features of innovation and a resolution on accepting or rejecting the product follows.

Implementation corresponds to the consumption and confirmation refers to the need to reaffirm the decision about the innovation adoption. Rogers also maintained that people accept innovation differently, depending on their personality, their innovativeness, and interpersonal communication, and according to this could be classified into innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards.

Innovators seek newness and value the time period that is passed since the product launch. Laggards seek reassurance and confirmation about product or service qualities through interpersonal communication and word-of-mouth.

A large number of studies have analyzed the differences between earlier and later adopters based on socio-economic, demographic, cultural, or psychological criteria (Tornatsky,Eveland et al. 1983), (Gatignon and Robertson 1985), (Frank, Sundqvist et al. 2001),(McMeekin and Tomlinson 1998), (Cestre and Darmon 1998). Time of adoption of innovation Economists, for example, suggest that for social innovation to take place, innovators should first accept innovation and then create institutional framework that would trigger the acceptance of new practices.

For the laggards to join in another mechanism – the desire not to be left out of the group – can be used to speed up dissemination of more sustainable practices. Besides adopter categories, Rogers also identified a range of factors affecting the rate of adoption: * Perceived attributes of the innovation * Relative advantage * Compatibility * Trial ability * Complexity * Observability * Type of innovation-decision * Communication channels * Nature of the social system * Extent of change agents’ promotion efforts.

These factors are often used in many innovation studies as evaluation criteria, based on which questionnaires for consumer surveys are developed. Frameworks for evaluating customer satisfaction with services Service Quality Model Service Quality Model According to Gronroos (1982), the quality of a service perceived by customers will differ depending on what strategy the company chooses to deliver and promote that service. The service quality model by Gronroos holds that the quality of a service, as it is perceived by the customer, can be divided into technical quality and functional quality dimensions.

The former denotes what the customer receives as the output of a service production process and the latter how the technical quality is produced and transferred to the customer during buyer-seller interactions. Gronroos posits that the technical quality is the “basic condition for a positively perceived total quality, but the functional quality is the one that adds competitive edge” (Gummesson and Gronroos 1987). Furthermore, in the relationship marketing, the growth of the importance of functional quality in comparison to technical quality become a strategic one (Gronroos 1993).

The distinction is also made in the model between perceived and expected service quality and it is suggested that the quality is perceived subjectively. Gronroos (1988) further develops the model by positing that in the case of a company, which extends product offer with services, it is more appropriate to talk about total perceived quality. According to him, a high perceived quality is obtained when the experienced quality meets customer expectations, i.

e. the expected quality. However, if the expectations are unrealistic, the total perceived quality will be low, even if high quality was experienced (Gronroos 1988).

The expected quality is heavily influenced by market communication (advertising, sales campaigns, PR and direct mail), word-of-mouth, company image, and customers’ needs. While a company directly controls market communication, the word-of-mouth and company image are outside its immediate reach. Gronroos conclusion is that the total perceived quality is not only defined by the level of technical and functional dimensions, but also by the gap between the expected and the experienced quality.

The SERVQUAL model Given the growth of services in the last decades, many researchers have recognized the need to develop measures of service quality.

One of the most often used measures is the SERVQUAL based on extensive research in generic determinants of perceived service quality (Parasuraman, Berry et al. 1985; Parasuraman, Berry et al. 1988; Zeithaml, Parasuraman et al. 1990; Parasuraman, Berry et al.

1991; Parasuraman, Berry et al. 1993;Parasuraman, Berry et al. 1994). The model measures the difference between customers’ expectations about general quality of a certain group of service providers and their perceptions about the actual performance of a service provider from that group.

It uses a set of service quality determinants (explained in Box 1) measured by a 22-item scale.

The model defines customer satisfaction as perceived service quality, which is the gap between expected service and perception of service actually received. The determinants of service quality used in the model. * Access means approachability and ease of contact; * Communication means informing the customers in an understandable way and listening to them. It may imply that companies need to use different languages to talk to different customer groups (i. e.

professional and private customers) in i. e. xplaining what the service comprises, how much various service elements and offers cost, and other features of the service; * Competence means possession of required skills (i. e. organizational and personal) and knowledge to perform the service; * Courtesy comprises politeness, respect, friendliness of the service provider personnel; * Credibility includes trustworthiness and honesty; * Reliability means that the service is performed with high accuracy and thoroughness every time; * Responsiveness concerns the willingness of employees to provide the service and how fast the service is provided.

Security comprises physical and financial safety and confidentiality; * Tangibles include all physical products that are involved in service delivery, and even other customers; * Understanding the customer means taking steps to know customer better, learning their specific requirements, providing individual attention, recognizing regular customers. While being widely applied, the SERVQUAL model has also received criticism for not including prices in the assessment or for the inclusion of expectations as a variable in measuring service quality (Boulding, Kalra et al. 993). Perhaps the most often heard criticism pertains to the lack of a clear link between satisfaction and perceived service quality identified by some research (Duffy and Ketchard 1998). An alternative model (SERVPERF) was later developed for these reasons, based on the findings that service quality does not depend on expectations and can be directly measured by simple performance based measures of service quality (Cronin and Taylor 1994) Toolbox for measuring the