Grasping the moment of truth: ethnographic insights for automotive NPD

Christoph Palmer and Sigrid Schmid
GIM Vision, GIM (Gesellschaft für Innovative Marktforschung), Germany


Classic automotive market research today is still very technology-oriented and product-driven. This typically becomes apparent in study designs which are rather detached from reality and everyday life, for example when car drivers are asked about isolated technical details of vehicles. But even if vehicles are presented to be evaluated as a whole, e.g. in Car Clinics, the discussion often remains at a theoretical and technical level. Study results tend to be rather abstract snapshots and don't tell a lot about how the test object will prove itself in real life. Yet, it is especially this real-life component which greatly determines the satisfaction with a car or a vehicle brand in the long term. At the latest when the first pride of ownership of the new car has vanished, the vehicle must face the reality of everyday life and convince the owner in the long term. Real strengths and weaknesses of a car only come to light through everyday use over a longer period of time: