Strategic Vision’s recent research study not only determined the leading vehicles and corporations in Total Value (Volkswagen, Hyundai, Honda and Ford respectively), but after vetting over 350 new vehicles and over 77,000 owners using its comprehensive Total Value Index® (TVI) study, it also examined the correlation between how buyers rated innovation and what brands were leaders in Total Value over time.

The result shows that, “innovation is the strongest single predictor of which cars, brands and corporations are seen as the best value, or Total Value in our study,” says Alexander Edwards, President of Strategic Vision.

“For some, this may be counter-intuitive to the word ‘value’ in its most simple definition. But, when we looked at our Innovation Factor Score (IFS) and trended it, the results were much like a crystal ball. Value is viewed as a far cry from the cheapest car with the best MPG. We looked at the major corporations by their IFS, and the results spoke loudly. Hyundai Corporation (which includes the Kia Brand) increased its IFS by 20 points since 2008, and today its Total Value segment leaders Elantra, Sonata and Equus have some of the highest scores in the entire industry. Kia Sportage and Sorento were also segment leaders. The same can be said for other brands that are improving in value and sales. However, there is a caveat. It’s not just innovation, but ‘True Innovation™’ that is the crystal ball that gives us the insight,” concludes Edwards.

Strategic Vision’s sixteenth annual Total Value Index study revealed the industry corporate success of #1 Volkswagen Group of America with its seven segment winners: Golf, Jetta Wagon, CC, Eos and with Audi A3 Wagon, Q5 and Q7. Number three American Honda Motor continues to do well in Total Value, but did not have the increasingly important leading Innovation Factor Score that foreshadows leading Value.

“Corporations like Honda still do well, but must be careful when the driving force in the algorithm for their score is mostly Resale Value and MPG factors. Both of these factors are important, but are increasingly becoming ‘up-for-grabs’ to the accelerated competition,” says Darrel Edwards, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of Strategic Vision. “Quality is at the base of Value, but in looking for that key influencing factor that most heavily predicts future success, True Innovation will be the common denominator of the winners. ‘True Innovation’ is a phrase coined by J. Susan Johnson, Co-Founder and CEO of Strategic Vision. True Innovation is innovation that is rich and impactful, intuitive, motivational, in-depth and is able to trigger description by the user in great specificity. True Innovation is what we measure, along with 442 other data points. Understanding True Innovation reveals trend setting and what will be of Value, and later purchased.” explains Dr. Edwards.

Ford Motor Company may have experienced some innovation growing pains with SYNC, but there’s little question that buyers are appreciating the overall innovation and value benefits, as can be seen in segment leaders Flex, F150, F250/350 and six other models that all finish in the top four vehicles of their respective segments. Even vehicles with perhaps modest sales have an important message to notice. This is why Chevrolet Volt received the Special Category Leader recognition in Strategic Vision’s TVI study. The Volt has the second highest Total Value score in the industry, and along with short and long term economic factors being strong, it had an IFS of 93 or nearly perfect innovation, as viewed by its buyers. If Volt had been seen as more Affordable to Buy, sales figures would likely have been more reflective of its high Total Value score.
The Chrysler/Dodge brands receive recognition for being the Most Improved (+41 points on a 1000 point scale) in Total Value as rated by customers. Again, a strong direct correlation to this improvement is an Innovation Factor Score that is the lowest among companies in 2011, improving to nearly industry average in just one year! Other Total Value winners of note were the Land Rover Evoque Coupe and the Lexus ES 350. The Honda Ridgeline has been the Total Value winner among standard size pickups each year since being introduced, with Odyssey being a five-year consecutive leader among minivans.

Strategic Vision furthers leading-edge research through large quantitative studies that reveal highly actionable industry trends. Additionally, in-depth “one-on-one” qualitative studies are constantly used to augment and validate discoveries, along with hidden leverage, and providing winning platforms for communication and product directions. Strategic Vision used in-depth insights to discover leverage for the cab-forward designs introduced by Ford in the 1980s that were being rejected in focus groups. This was exemplified by the discovered reality of the innovation of the fourth door and fold-away third row seats on the minivan that were being rejected after all ordinary research methods revealed little innovation or leverage in these additions.

Strategic Vision has presented Total Value Awards® annually since 1995. Based on Strategic Vision’s quantitative “ValueCentered” NVES® study, the Total Value Index was calculated from 77,153 buyers who purchased models during September 2011 to June 2012. The following list contains the number one ranked vehicles in Total Value in their segments as rated by new vehicle buyers:

SegmentWinner(s)TVI Score
Small CarHyundai Elantra Sedan806
Small Multi-FunctionVolkswagen Golf775
Mid-Size CarHyundai Sonata824
Mid-Size Multi-FunctionVolkswagen Jetta Wagon759
Large CarVolkswagen CC805
Near-Luxury CarLexus ES 350814
Luxury Multi-FunctionAudi A3
Porsche Panamera
Luxury CarHyundai Equus839
Specialty CoupeMini Cooper Coupe832
Premium CoupeChevrolet Corvette Coupe816
ConvertibleVolkswagen Eos778
Premium Convertible/RoadsterBMW Z4 Roadster836
MinivanHonda Odyssey753
Entry UtilityKia Sportage776
Mid-Size Crossover UtilityFord Flex765
Mid-Size Traditional UtilityKia Sorento776
Large UtilityGMC Yukon XL752
Near-Luxury UtilityAudi Q5
LandRover Evoque Coupe
Luxury UtilityBMW X6
Audi Q7
Standard PickupHonda Ridgeline730
Full-Size PickupFord F-150738
Heavy-Duty PickupFord F-250/350728
Special CategoryChevrolet Volt835

Forget Resale And MPG - Innovation Pinpointed As Biggest Factor In Determining Latest Total Value Winners

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