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Today's piece of blatantly obvious news comes courtesy of J.D. Power and Associates. According to a new study, a whopping 52 percent of new car buyers said the main reason behind picking one car dealer over another was how they were treated on the lot. In fact, of those surveyed, only 38 percent pointed toward the vehicle's purchase price as the main reason for laying down their hard-earned cash in one place over another. That means that for all the incentives and bargain specials, it really is customer satisfaction that moves vehicles off the lot.

The J.D. Power study also found that the ease or difficulty of price negotiation had the largest impact on just how satisfied customers were with their purchase at the end of the day. That's likely because agreeing on a price takes the largest amount of time during the car buying process aside from actually choosing a model. J.D. Power says that on average, negotiation takes around 53 minutes.

With all of the options available to car buyers these days, dealers would do well to heed the information in this particular study. Head over to the J.D. Power site for a closer look.

[Source: J.D. Power | Image: Getty]


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  • 31 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      For me, it's difficult enough merely trying to find exactly what I'm looking for on a car dealer's lot. Customer satisfaction? At a car dealer? Along with finding what you're looking for without having to order it? I gave up on all of those things many years ago.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's always the service I receive after the sale that makes me decide whether or not I will buy from that dealer again. So far, 2 out of 3 dealers suck.
      • 4 Years Ago
      More important to who? Certainly not the dealer. Until there is an alternative sales channel most dealer groups will not see a reason to change. Thanks anyway JD.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The last vehicle I bought the salesman could not have been better. He was very nice, knowledgeable, and we negotiated a fair deal. However the sales manager rushed us through the paperwork since it was close to his quitting time. When I got home and had a closer look at the paperwork I noticed the sales manager changed the loan rate upwards by 2%. I complained to the dealership, the local BBB, and the manufacture. The extra 2% interest did not bother me as much as the sales manager sliding it past me. If he had fully disclosed the rate hike I might have accepted it. Instead the salesman got fired over the whole deal. I'll never buy another vehicle from the same dealership as long as the sales manager works there.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What you all need to realize is most franchise dealers will treat you like dirt, the simplest and most effective option get approved with your local bank or credit union. That gives you a leverage that you can and will take your business elsewhere unless they want to work with you. It doesnt mean you will get 10k knocked off the price of your car, but they do see dollar signs so they will treat you less like crap because they (dealers) understand the money will be in their hands ASAP. Negotiations should not take more than 30 minutes once you have the pre approval with your bank or credit union. Also look into your local bank or credit union for GAP and extended Warranty and Payment protection I have seen that your banks can offer up to 20 to 50% cheaper in those options.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Having financing from an alternate channel doesn't really help unless you're working with a dealership that offers its own financing, which few do. These days it's the manufacturer's financing division (e.g. BMW/Honda/Toyota Financial Services), in which case the dealer isn't in a position to negotiate the terms of the loan and the threat that you'll find another way to finance it doesn't change anything for them. The only leverage you'd have would be negotiating on the amount of a monthly payment, in which case the dealer would have to lower the price to meet the figure since it can't adjust the APR, but negotiating on monthly payment rather than final price is a huge mistake.
        • 4 Years Ago
        So...the customer should expect to be treated like dirt until they get on their knees and prove to the dealer that they are worthy?

        • 4 Years Ago
        allanmax ..thats great advice to send people to buy a car warranty from a credit union or bank...that way when you have an issue that isnt covered under the warranty im sure that loan officer will know enough about the electronics and intricate workings of a modern day automobile to help out the consumer....RIGHT?? Dumb...most large dealerships sell reputable warranties that are eligible at EVERY ASE Certified Maintainance Center. I have been at our dealership for over 8 years and when something isn't covered under warranty we work with the warranty company and the consumer to make sure that they are taken care of and satisfied...new concept? Consumer satisfaction...we are ranked first in our region because we do take care of our customers wants and needs...we are also non commissioned and our number one goal is selling the most amount of cars for a little profit so that you will tell others and they will do the same..with volume comes market share and volume profit. If you want to be treated right at a dealership don't come in acting like a bad a$$...have some respect and more than likely they will respect you back. I have had wayyy too many people come in here thinking they needed to be rude and mean just to get a good deal...when they really get no better deal than when they would be nice. There are good dealerships out there and bad...talk to others about their experiences and see where the best place to buy a car is...and go with that.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm sure there is an honest car salesman (or woman) out there somewhere. I'm sure there's some man or woman who actually treats their customers like customers realizing that without the customer opening his/her wallet the salesman doesn't get paid.

      However, at age 50 and having purchased about 15 new cars in my life, I've yet to meet the above mentioned car salesperson.

      My experience has been they're all cut from the same cloth and use variations of the same tactics to squeeze another $100 out of you and would tell you the sky was green with pink dots if they thought it would make the sale.

      Buying a car ranks right up there with getting oral surgery. Hate the process with a passion and honestly can't say in the 30+ years I've been a car owner that I've ever found a car salesman I liked any better than a politician.
      • 4 Years Ago
      For the love of god autoblog, stop post JD Power's "studies." Their studies are either so obvious that they didn't need to do a study on it, or flat out wrong.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I would tend to agree. I'm 23 and currently shopping around for my first new new car (from a dealer), and I'm finding a lot of them just plain rude, and many of them will barely give me the time of day. Went to a Subaru dealership near home and the guy was hands down the best salesman I've ever met. Let me test drive a 2011 STi (which is near impossible to do based on prior experiences), and was upfront with me about everything with regards to buying. He even conceded the fact that I knew more about the car than he did :o)

      Needless to say, when I make my purchase in the next few months, I will be buying from him.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very few dealers, unfortunately, are able to see the bigger picture beyond instant gratification of a sale that resutls in a few hundred additional dollars and/or greater kickbacks from the manufacturer based on the cost of add ons, and lower CSI's at the same time.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hmmm ... I recall a certain car company that revolved around a very customer-friendly process. And in the process, managed to sell a good number of average sub-compacts despite the no haggle pricing. For a little while, it seemed like they ran rings around the competition.

      That worked until that average sub-compact became stale ... then sub-standard. Then sub-sub-standard.

      No matter how good or bad the customer service is, no matter how cheap or expensive a car is, no matter whether it was a "great deal" or "I got ripped off", it all boils down to the product first. If your company puts out a stellar product, folks will put up with a less than stellar buying experience and pricing. If you don't, then no matter how good all the other aspects are, folks aren't going to care - at all.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Oh really? People wanted to be treated with respect? That is weird....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Did they really need a study to find this out???

      I prefer to pay a bit more and have a good service than to pay less for a crappy one. We always expect to be able to trust people and nothing will lead me to trust better than a good treatment from the dealership, mainly after I bought the car. Before buying the car any dealership will seem trustworthy.
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