New Vehicle Sales Satisfaction Improves from 2010

Calling Mini a mass market brand could be misleading since BMW owns it and transaction prices are far higher than other same size cars.

Satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process has improved from 2010, according to a new study released today. All sales satisfaction measures improved “notably” from 2010, with the greatest increase in the delivery process, despite the fact that the average length of time to complete the delivery portion of a new-vehicle sale has increased by four minutes to an average of 32 minutes in 2011.

Overall, the average length of time a buyer spends at a dealership has increased by 11 minutes, to an average of 4.3 hours in 2011 from 4.1 hours in 2010.

The data come from the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI).

The study is a look at the new-vehicle purchase experience and measures customer satisfaction with the selling dealer (satisfaction among buyers). It also measures satisfaction with brands and dealerships that were shopped, but ultimately rejected in favor of the selling brand and dealership (satisfaction among rejecters).

Among buyers, satisfaction is examined across four measures (listed in order of importance):

  1. working out the deal (17%);
  2. salesperson (13%);
  3. delivery process (11%);
  4. and dealership facility (10%).

Among rejecters, satisfaction is examined across five measures:

  1. salesperson (20%);
  2. fairness of price (12%);
  3. facility (6%);
  4. inventory (6%);
  5. experience negotiating (5%).

Lexus ranks highest among luxury brands in satisfaction with the new-vehicle buying experience. Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz follow in the luxury-brand segment rankings.

Overall sales satisfaction averages 648 on a 1,000-point scale in 2011, improving by 13 points from an average of 635 from 2010.

Power said the reason for the lengthened delivery process is the increasing proportion of buyers who are receiving more in-depth demonstrations of technology in their new vehicle (including audio, entertainment, navigation and communications systems). About 88% of buyers in 2011 say they received a technology demonstration at vehicle delivery.

“Although technology demonstrations add time to the delivery process, those explanations substantially improve satisfaction, as well as customer loyalty and advocacy,” said Jim Gaz, director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates.

The 2011 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 24,045 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle in May 2011. The study was fielded between August and October 2011.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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