J.D. Power III’s Impact on the Auto Industry

How J.D. Power III Transformed the Auto Industry

Through the collection of consumer feedback on cars, J.D. “Dave” Power III revolutionized the automobile industry in 1968. In this Knowledge@Wharton interview conducted by PVMI director John Paul MacDuffie, Power discusses the founding and early years of his firm, J.D. Power and Associates, as well as its lasting and current effects on the industry. Power was recently the keynote speaker of the Mack Institute’s 2013 Fall Conference on the topic of “When Disruptive Technologies Meet Integrated Systems: Who Captures the Value?

Power highlights how dealers have adapted to the rise of consumer influence and addresses current lobbying efforts to allow for the direct sales of cars from the manufacturer. He asserts that it is the consumer who will ultimately prevail and determine the industry’s future.

“What has happened is the consumer has more information than the dealer. They control the market. It is going to be determined by them.”

Power also warns car manufacturers against being too overeager to incorporate the latest technologies into their new models. Regarding autonomous vehicles and the self-driving car featured throughout the 2013 Mack Institute Fall Conference, he notes that automobile enthusiasts may be less than pleased. Nevertheless, he agrees that such innovations are likely on the horizon. “You will still perhaps be able to override the speed limit,” he jokes.