Andy Pilkington's recent articles
Analysing editorial coverage for new cars reveals professional opinions differ across markets
By analysing professional reviews in detail, auto brands can find out which aspects of their new model are presented as key strengths in each market.
To understand the first professional opinions consumers read about a new car, we investigated editorial coverage for three new 2013 models: the Skoda Octavia estate, Volkswagen Golf and Kia Pro Cee’d, across three markets: UK, France and Germany. By analysing sentiment and the detail in professional reviews, we were able to understand which model was best received. Most importantly, we looked at which aspects of the car drove negative and positive opinions in each market.
The Skoda Octavia emerged as editors’ favourite in all three markets:
However, looking at the Skoda reviews in more detail shows that the top strengths cited for that model vary greatly from one market to another. Whilst coverage in the UK focuses on interior design, France concentrates on the exterior design and the Germans on build quality. This information can help guide Skoda in choosing specific features to focus on in consumer marketing.
Professional reviews about the Octavia praise it for different reasons in each market:
- UK editorial coverage about the Octavia praises the interior: More than any other characteristic of the Skoda, it is the "masses of head and legroom", the "classy materials" used and "gargantuan" boot space which gets UK journos excited
- Coverage in France focuses on the Octavia's exterior design: Most of all, they enjoy its "elegant" style and "compact" shape despite being an estate. The "spacious" and "good quality" interior is also seen as a strength
- German coverage concentrates on build quality and driving performance: In contrast to the UK and France, the exterior and interior look of the Octavia is of lesser importance in Germany. Instead, they praise the Octavia's build quality, for using Volkswagen's modular transverse matrix and for being lighter weight than the previous version. Driving performance also emerges as a specific strength in Germany due to the "lively and responsive" engine
This shows that only analysing the volume or overall sentiment of editorial coverage can hide valuable information about the preferences of each market. In a follow-up article, we will look at the Golf and Pro Cee’d to understand which characteristics drove negative editorial coverage.