European brands provide U.S. car shoppers the most satisfying dealership experience according to the 2014 J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index Study.
Overall, Mercedes-Benz provides the most pleasurable new car buying experience according to the study. The company scored a total of 726 points out of 1,000, representing a 33-point increase over last year. Mini scored 727 points, which is enough to make it the most satisfying mainstream brand in this year’s study.
The rest of the top five luxury brands in descending order are Infiniti, Jaguar, which is last year’s winner, Lexus and Porsche. On the other end of the list, Cadillac, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Lincoln, Land Rover and Acura all scored below average in customer satisfaction.
GM managed to secure three of the top four spots. Buick is second on the list and also saw the largest improvement among mass market brands gaining 32 points for a total of 726. Rounding out the top five from top to bottom are Chevy, GMC and Fiat. Ten mass market brands scored below the average. From best to worst they are Nissan, Chrysler, Subaru, Mazda, Scion, Kia, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Mitsubishi.
On average, the mass market industry improved satisfaction by 12 points while luxury brands average increased by 16. Only two brands had losses: Porsche and Kia.
The biggest factor for improving sales satisfaction according to JD Power is the salesperson’s ability to fully understand a customer’s needs. “With such tech-heavy vehicles today, introducing product specialists into the sales process helps improve the delivery process and customer understanding of how to operate key features,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of the automotive retail practice at J.D. Power.
Product specialists are becoming increasingly important with 19 percent of luxury-car buyers saying they worked with a product specialist compared to 15 percent of mass-market buyers. The use of tablets in the dealership is also increasing, up to 22 percent of dealerships compared to 18 percent a year earlier.
To get these results, responses were collected from 29,805 consumers who bought or leased a new vehicle in April or May, 2014.
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