Westlake Village, California – Overall satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience has improved from 2008, but automakers are losing an average of 12 per cent of sales to other brands due to poor customer treatment at dealerships, according to a new report by J.D. Power and Associates.

The study measures overall customer satisfaction in five factors: dealership facility, salesperson, paperwork/finance process, delivery process and vehicle price. Overall, satisfaction averages 836 points on a 1,000-point scale, up by 11 points from 2008. The greatest improvements were in the salesperson and the delivery process.

More than one in five shoppers who leave without purchasing a vehicle did so because they experienced poor treatment or issues such as pricing games, sales pressure tactics, or discourteous treatment. While 43 per cent ultimately purchased the same brand from a different dealer, 57 per cent purchased from another brand. For the industry as a whole, this equals a 12 per cent loss of retail sales to other brands.

Jaguar ranked highest in 2009 among luxury brands for satisfying customers, the second year in a row it received an award. Following in the luxury brand rankings are Cadillac, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz (in a tie), and Land Rover.

Among mass market brands, Mercury ranks highest, followed by Smart, Buick, Pontiac and Chevrolet respectively. All seven Ford and GM mass market brands rank above the segment average.

Mini improved by 16 rank positions from 2008 to sixth place in 2009, the most-improved brand this year.

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