November 16, 2006

New vehicle buyers happier with sales experience – J.D. Power

Westlake Village, California – Customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process has reached a record high, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study released Wednesday.

The study, now in its 20th year, is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience. Overall customer satisfaction is measured based on five factors: dealership facility, salesperson, paperwork/finance process, delivery process and vehicle price.

The industry achieves a record high overall SSI score of 847 on a 1,000-point scale-a 5-point improvement from 2005. However, a leading cause of lost sales at new-vehicle dealerships is poor customer treatment. Nearly one-half of all shoppers who walk away from a dealership cite poor treatment as a reason.

The study finds that customers are particularly sensitive to time-related issues when purchasing a new vehicle. On average, the entire purchase process takes approximately 3 hours. Nearly one-third of all new-vehicle sales occur on either a Saturday or Sunday. However, satisfaction is consistently lower on the weekend compared to weekdays on every factor, primarily due to a longer process. Overall, it takes an average of 22 minutes longer to purchase a car on a Saturday or Sunday.

Jaguar ranks highest in satisfying buyers with the new-vehicle sales process, receiving the highest index score since the study was redesigned five years ago. With an SSI score of 912, Jaguar leads its closest competitor, Cadillac, by 21 points. Jaguar ranks highest for a third consecutive year.

The 2006 Sales Satisfaction Index Study is based on responses from 42,218 new-vehicle buyers who registered their vehicles in May of 2006.

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