The value of country of origin for consumer durables

Date of publication: June 15, 1991


In this paper an international research project dealing with the country-of-origin effect is presented. Using individualized conjoint analysis with dollar-metric paired comparisons the market values of middle-class cars from different countries of ori- gin have been determined. The countries where data have been collected are Great Britain, France, Spain and Germany. In total, nearly 900 interviews have been conducted. Country of origin is supposed to be an important product attribute especially for complex or for high fashion products. Product evaluations based on "made in" are considered as consequences of quality assessments, but also of patriotism etc. In the last 25 years about 60 relevant studies have been published, most of them in the U.S.A. The findings have been inconsistent and different research paradigms have been used. Most of these studies suffer from the heavy use of convenience samples, the problem of demand effects, and the missing confirmation of the effect in managerially relevant metrics. Conjoint analysis has proved to be a valuable marketing research instrument for many strategic decisions. Conjoint analysis with individualized sets of attributes improves the predictive power of this approach. EDP-assisted interviewing is necessary and useful in this context. The paper is divided into six parts. In the first section the relevance of country-of- origin research is shown and our research goal is presented. Then the state of relevant country-of-origin literature is summarized and open questions are shown. In the third part individualized conjoint analysis is proposed as a means to analyze the relative importance of country of origin in the buying process of consumers. In section four we present our research methodology. Part five deals with the main results for the analyzed product. Finally we show some implications for companies and research.

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