Competitive positioning, benchmarking and target setting 2000-05-0224
Automotive product definition involves the use of various tools and techniques to position a new vehicle in a competitive marketplace. The desire of VMs to produce successful products, with high levels of customer appeal, in very short timescales has led to the adoption of more rigorous product definition processes including empathic design, competitor benchmarking and Quality Function Deployment (QFD). These, in combination with a much greater reliance on a predictive engineering methodology, are being utilized to provide a "right first time" approach in the achievement of this goal. The Kano model introduced in the early 1980s emphasizes that, to truly satisfy and delight customers, a product must possess "excitement quality." Empathic design is employed by many VMs to identify product features or attributes that will deliver such qualities. Many VMS use competitor benchmarking methods to understand their competitors'' products, in particular, the mechanisms and technology employed to achieve desirable attributes. QFD is widely used as an effective means of ensuring the customer requirements are considered through the engineering process and reflected in the end product. This paper discusses the application of these tools and techniques in the product definition process and how they are used to position new products in an increasingly competitive market place.