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Study Shows Vehicle Buyers Increasingly Satisfied with Dealership Experience

11/28/2012
According to the results of the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM vehicle buyers are increasingly satisfied with the dealership experience whether they buy a vehicle from the dealer or not. The study, an analysis of the new-vehicle purchasing experience, measures customer satisfaction with the selling dealer and with brands and dealerships that were shopped but ultimately rejected in favor of the selling brand and dealer.*

Overall, satisfaction is 664 this year (on a 1,000-point scale), up 16 from last year. Year over year, satisfaction with the selling dealer has increased to 776 from 771, while satisfaction with dealers shoppers rejected climbs to 553 from 525.

Among the 31,386 buyers surveyed, who purchased or leased their new vehicle in May 2012, luxury brand Lexus ranks highest in overall satisfaction for a second consecutive year, followed by Infiniti and Cadillac. Among mass market brands, Mini ranks highest for a third consecutive year, followed by Buick and GMC.

A key finding of the study is that of the 80% of buyers who use the Internet when shopping for a new vehicle, one-third visit an online reviews or ratings website before choosing a dealer. Men are more likely to engage in this behavior than are women, who are more likely to consult social networks than are men. Women are also more likely than men to post more positive statements regarding their dealership experience on the Internet.

Additionally, the study finds that 21% of consumers perceive some or too much pressure from salespeople who ask questions to determine a customer's vehicle needs, compared to 32% of consumers when salespeople do not ask questions.

According to a company press release: "These results indicate that customers prefer salespeople who invest the time up front to listen to them and ensure they select the right vehicle. Perceived pressure decreases when sales consultants establish a business relationship and understand customer needs."

The study also finds that most new-vehicle buyers indicate that the dealer staff spent "just the right amount of time" with them during the delivery process (86%). Just 8% of new-vehicle buyers indicate that the dealer staff did not spend enough time at delivery, and three of four of these buyers would have preferred to spend more time reviewing their vehicle's features and technologies, such as pairing their phone to Bluetooth or demonstrating the navigation system.

For the 2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, buyer satisfaction is examined across four measures (listed in order of importance): working out the deal (17%); salesperson (13%); delivery process (11%); and facility (10%). Among rejecters, satisfaction is examined across five measures (listed in order of importance): salesperson (20%); fairness of price (12%); facility (6%); inventory (6%); and experience negotiating (5%).

View 2012 Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Ratings
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