July 21, 2006

Lexus ranks highest in customer satisfaction with dealer service

Westlake Village, California – Lexus ranks highest in overall customer satisfaction with dealer service according to a J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study released on Thursday. Lexus had a CSI score of 912 points on a 1,000-point scale, achieving particularly high ratings from repair customers in the areas of service initiation and service quality. Following Lexus in the rankings were Buick (911) and Cadillac (909).

The study, now in its 26th year, measures the customer satisfaction of vehicle owners who visit the dealer service department for maintenance or repair work during the first three years of ownership, which typically represents the majority of the vehicle warranty period. Overall customer satisfaction with dealer service is based on six measures: service initiation, service advisor, in-dealership experience, service delivery, service quality and user-friendly service.

The study found that customers who are satisfied with the service advisor and the in-dealership experience are more likely to return for service and more likely to repurchase the same make. They are also more likely to recommend the make, which leads to new vehicle sales.

“Generally, in-dealership improvements have been centered in the sales department,” said Jane Crane, director of automotive retail research at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, customers return to the service department more often than to the sales department. The percentage of gross profit for service is substantially higher than for sales, and the influence on future vehicle sales is considerable. Investment in better upkeep, more comfortable seating, improved lighting, Internet connectivity, and the offer of free refreshments would easily pay for itself in additional service revenue.”

The 2006 CSI Study is based on responses from 79,580 owners and lessees of 2003 to 2005 model-year vehicles.

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