Westlake Village, California – How a car customer is treated by the dealership is more important than the price when it comes to buyer satisfaction, according to a new U.S. study by J.D. Power and Associates.

The study found that 52 per cent of new-vehicle buyers said dealer treatment was the main reason they purchased from a specific store, as opposed to 38 per cent of buyers who cited the vehicle’s price or the deal they got. Once the dealer is selected, the ease of coming to an agreement on the final price has the single greatest influence on buyer satisfaction, surpassing the importance of how fair the price actually is. With the exception of selecting a vehicle, negotiating the deal takes the most time of the buying process, with an average of 53 minutes.

For the third consecutive year, Jaguar ranked highest among luxury brands for satisfying buyers with the new-vehicle buying experience, followed by Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz, which were also second and third in 2009. Among luxury brands, Lincoln demonstrated the greatest improvement from 2009, moving from sixth position to fourth in 2010.

Among mass market brands, Mini ranked the highest, followed by Mercury and GMC. Among those demonstrating the most improvement were Hyundai, moving from 16th to seventh, and Chrysler, from 15th to eighth.

The study found that 60 per cent of buyers visit more than one dealership during the shopping process. While many dealers are rejected for not having a vehicle the buyer wants, 18 per cent of buyers end showroom visits primarily due to poor customer treatment by salespeople.

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