Automakers are turning to product specialists to enhance the car buying experience.
According to the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, owners who work with both a salesperson and product specialist are overall more satisfied with the buying experience than those who work only with a salesperson. This year’s study saw the luxury brand average jump from 732 (on a 1,000-point scale) to 801, while the mass-market brand average climbed from 681 to 764.
Now in its 30th year, the study measures satisfaction with the sales experience among new-vehicle buyers and rejecters, those who shop a dealership and purchase elsewhere. Buyer satisfaction is measured on four measures: working out the deal, salesperson, delivery process and facility. Rejecter satisfaction is based on five measures, including salesperson, fairness of price, experience negotiating, facility and variety of inventory.
Check out the top 10 brands with the best car buying experience for 2016 below.
Jaguar (MINI tied)
With a score of 797, luxury automaker Jaguar is actually tied with MINI, a mass-market brand. MINI actually finished top of mass-market brands in last year’s study, but this year it fell to second. Among luxury brands, Jaguar is actually towards the bottom of the list, with only Audi (796), Volvo (775) and Acura (769) scoring less.
Although Land Rover improved quite a bit scoring 798 compared to last year’s 710, the British automaker is still under the luxury brand average. In addition, most brands saw their scores jump this year, which is evident in the higher averages among both luxury and mass-market brands. But still, Land Rover finished 10th place out of 12 luxury brands last year and in 2016, it improved to finish eighth.
A brand that typically does well in J.D. Power’s surveys, Lexus is slightly above the luxury brand average with a score of 802. And even though it’s quite higher than last year’s 741 score, Lexus dropped four places to seventh among luxury brands after finishing third last year.
Lincoln might be considered most improved this year, watching its score jump from 731 to 806. Although it’s creeping slightly above the luxury brand average, the American automaker gained a few spots among its luxury competitors after finishing eighth last year. This year, Lincoln came in sixth among luxury brands.
Tying for fourth place among luxury brands with a score of 807 is Cadillac. Last year, the American automaker finished sixth with a score of 738. It’s showing improvement, and it’s the top-rated American luxury automaker on the list.
BMW improved quite a bit this year, rising from seventh among luxury brands to fourth. It is however, tied with Cadillac with a score of 807 but it’s right on the heels of its main competitor, Mercedes-Benz.
Some would say Buick is a luxury brand, but in J.D. Power’s 2016 SSI Study, it’s considered a mass-market brand. It also dethroned MINI for the best mass-market brand with a score of 809, besting luxury automakers BMW, Cadillac and Lincoln. Buick finished in second on the mass-market list last year with a score of 707.
Mercedes dropped a spot from second to third among luxury brands this year with a score of 809. Last year it only trailed the top finisher by three points (752 versus 749), but this year there’s a wider gap.
Last year, Infiniti finished fourth among luxury brands with a score of 739 but shopers are happier with their experience this year. The Japanese automaker rose to second place with a score of 815 and the top brand should feel threatened if Infiniti stays on track.
Once again at the top of the list for the second consecutive year is Porsche with a score of 824. Last year it narrowly beat out Mercedes-Benz by three points, but this year it comfortably led Infiniti by nine points.
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