JD Power and Associates has released the results of the organization's annual study on customer satisfaction with the vehicle buying process, and Mini has once again taken top honors among mass market brands. The study specifically looks at satisfaction among buyers and those who chose not to buy from a particular brand for a comprehensive slice of the automotive consumer masses. Among buyers, JD Power evaluated across four categories; working out the deal, salesperson, delivery process and dealership facility. Rejectors, however, evaluated ranked their experience across salesperson, fairness in price, facility, inventory and experience negotiating.

Overall sales satisfaction actually increased over last year across the board, and JD Power believes this may be due to the fact that manufacturers are focusing improving their dealer experience now more than ever. That increase in satisfaction comes even as the actual buying process takes longer than in 2010. Buyers can now expect to spend an average of 11 more minutes in a dealer when it comes time to sign the loan agreement, thanks in part to more in-depth demonstrations of vehicle features.

Lexus beat out the rest of the luxury brands to take first place in 2011, with Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz trailing close behind. Who took the bottom of both lists? Volvo landed dead last among luxury makes, while Jeep took the bottom spot among mass marked sellers. Hit the jump for the full press release as well as the rest of the automaker standings.
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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Customer Satisfaction with the New-Vehicle Sales Experience Improves Significantly from 2010, Despite Lengthier Sales Process


Lexus Ranks Highest among Luxury Brands; MINI Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands for a Second Consecutive Year
MHC-JD POWER AND ASSOCIATES LOGO MHC - J.D. Power and Associates Logo. (PRNewsFoto) WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA USA 27 May 2005

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif., Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process has improved notably from 2010, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study(SM) released today.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20050527/LAF028LOGO-a)

The study is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience and measures customer satisfaction with the selling dealer (satisfaction among buyers). It also measures satisfaction with brands and dealerships that were shopped but ultimately rejected in favor of the selling brand and dealership (satisfaction among rejecters). Among buyers, satisfaction is examined across four measures (listed in order of importance): working out the deal (17); delivery process (11). Among rejecters, satisfaction is examined across five measures (listed in order of importance): salesperson (20); facility (6); and experience negotiating (5%).

Overall sales satisfaction averages 648 on a 1,000-point scale in 2011, improving by 13 points from an average of 635 from 2010. This gain suggests that, as market conditions improve, automotive manufacturers and dealers are placing renewed focus on and investment in providing buyers with satisfying retail experiences.

All measures improve notably from 2010, with the greatest gain in the delivery process, despite the fact that the average length of time to complete the delivery portion of a new-vehicle sale has increased by four minutes to an average of 32 minutes in 2011, from an average of 28 minutes in 2010. Overall, the average length of time a buyer spends at the dealership has increased by 11 minutes, to an average of 4.3 hours in 2011 from 4.1 hours in 2010.

A primary reason for the lengthened delivery process is the increasing proportion of buyers who are receiving more in-depth demonstrations of technology in their new vehicle (including audio, entertainment, navigation and communications systems). Approximately 88 percent of buyers in 2011 say they received a technology demonstration at vehicle delivery.

"Although technology demonstrations add time to the delivery process, those explanations substantially improve satisfaction, as well as customer loyalty and advocacy," said Jim Gaz, director of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "It would intuitively seem that buyers are most satisfied when the sales process is completed in the shortest amount of time possible. However, buyers actually appreciate it when sales staff spends additional time with them, as long as that time provides them with added value."

According to Gaz, an increasing proliferation of technology demonstrations may also help improve perceptions of new-vehicle quality. The J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Initial Quality Study(SM) (IQS) has found that rates of owner-reported problem incidence with audio/entertainment/navigation technology systems have increased steadily between 2009 and 2011. Some of these perceived problems may stem from users not understanding how to operate features, so technology demos provided by sales staff can be a powerful tool in lowering problem rates and improving satisfaction with vehicle design.

Lexus ranks highest among luxury brands in satisfaction with the new-vehicle buying experience. Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz follow in the luxury-brand segment rankings. The luxury brands with the greatest improvement from 2010 are Lincoln (moving from ninth rank position to sixth) and Audi (moving from 11th rank position to ninth).

MINI ranks highest among mass market brands for a second consecutive year. Buick and GMC, respectively, follow MINI in the mass market segment rankings. The mass market brands with the greatest improvement from 2010 are Volkswagen (moving from 13th rank position to fourth), Scion (moving from 11th rank position to fifth) and Nissan (moving from 18th rank position to 12th).

The 2011 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 24,045 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle in May 2011. The study was fielded between August and October 2011.

Luxury Brands Sales Satisfaction Index Ranking J.D. Power.com Power Circle Ratings

Lexus 715 5

Cadillac 713 5

Mercedes-Benz 701 4

Porsche 696 4

Land Rover 690 3

Luxury Segment Average 688 3

Lincoln 681 3

BMW 677 2

Infiniti 676 2

Audi 675 2

Acura 673 2

Volvo 666 2

Included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size are Jaguar and SAAB.



Mass Market Brands Sales Satisfaction Index Ranking J.D. Power.com Power Circle Ratings

MINI 723 5

Buick 682 4

GMC 672 4

Volkswagen 660 4

Chevrolet 655 4

Scion 655 4

Subaru 655 4

Mazda 653 3

Chrysler 647 3

Ford 645 3

Toyota 643 3

Mass Market Segment Average 642 3

Honda 636 3

Nissan 636 3

Mitsubishi 630 3

Hyundai 629 3

Dodge 622 3

Kia 614 2

Ram 609 2

Jeep 606 2

NOTE: Suzuki is included in the study but not ranked due to small sample size.

Power Circle Ratings Legend:
5 – Among the best
4 – Better than most
3 – About average
2 – The rest


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 29 Comments
      untitledfolder
      • 3 Years Ago
      I wholeheartedly agree with this. The MINI dealership here in Chicago has an immaculate showroom, their service bay is pristine, and they host MINI drive-in theatre sometimes in their lot for customers (last movie was Italian Job, of course!) with free popcorn/brats/burgers. The entire process was 'fun' as much as buying a car can be. The salesman even managed to find a much lower interest loan through a small local credit union that beat what I was planning on getting through my alumni association, just because he thought I could do even better with my credit rating. This sounds like a plug, but I really did have a great experience!
      CruzControl
      • 3 Years Ago
      I believe it. When i bought my IS350 back in March, I'd transitioned from an Infiniti fanboy into a serious Lexus fan. The service I receive from my dealer is TOP notch. I don't even mind to hang out while they do the oil change. I felt like I was a big shot when I was leaving out of the Lexus. It's truly an outstanding brand...customer service wise.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @CruzControl
        [blocked]
      Dick Trickle
      • 3 Years Ago
      One thing that Mini does well, and Fiat too with the 500, is to offer a large number of basic color options for exterior and interior. Most of the other regular cars out there come in black, white, silver, & red, with black or grey interiors. Configuring a Mini or a 500 is fun, there are a ton of color options, even different dashboards and interior trim colors, as opposed to configuring something like a Civic SI or Miata, That is probably factoring into this result.
      Brett Fisher
      • 3 Years Ago
      Of course the MINI buying experience is good when you know you are paying list price. Then after the 36,000 mile MINI warranty and the car is falling apart (see JDpower quality surveys for 2003-2010) and no warranty you will have a different experience. At least that is mine.
        OCCanuck
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Brett Fisher
        I agree. The buying experience was good, but the ownership has been terrible. My 09 Cooper S has had the engine repaired 3 times this year. And don't get me started on the intake valves that need to media blasted ever 25,000 miles. Don't ever buy a mini
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Brett Fisher
        [blocked]
          pickles
          • 3 Years Ago
          I've never understood why people think a lease has less commitment. It's [typically] a 3-year contract which has the same warranty and service as a purchase- but no equity or resale value. And you're STUCK with the car for that 3-year period -even if it sucks. I had a terror of a 2003 MINI Cooper which I could barely stand to look at it (when it wasn't being re-fixed at the dealer) after 9 months. I'd have gone mad if I'd had to keep it for the length of a lease. Fortunately, it was worth only a bit less than I paid for it when I sold it 11 months later. The joy of being rid of that joke was immeasurable -and a lease would have made that sale nearly impossible.
          digitalwatch
          • 3 Years Ago
          I've leased two Mini's (a regular one and a S) and it's been great. My car payments are mostly picked up by my employer which makes it even better. But it seems (in Canada at least) that it's cheaper to lease a Mini Cooper S for 39 months than it is to lease a 25 thousand dollar Ford, Honda, Toyota, well basically anything because of the Mini's insanely strong resale value. I also don't get the sticker price comment. I got my current Mini last year, I wasn't even planing on getting a new one, but they lowered the price on a S so far that it cost almost the same as my regular Mini. They knocked 6 grand off the sticker just because I had no reason to actually get a new car. And my insurance only went up 80 cents a month.
      SteveM
      • 3 Years Ago
      I own a Mini Clubman S and a Volvo XC70. Of more importance to me is the Service Experience. I have to say both dealers I work with are great. My only negative comment about the experience is that I've had a lot more "experience" with the Mini.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      xspeedy
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think buying experience and shopping experience are two different things. I guess is someone is happy paying sticker price (or over sticker price) then the buying experience will be great. The Austin dealer wanted sticker plus a $500 paint protection package. I left and headed over to the local Ford dealer where I custom ordered a new 2012 Focus (pretty basic). The salesperson was really great, communicative, and very low pressure. Got a great deal on the exact build I wanted with no hassles. So in my case, my very frustrated shopping experience at Mini never resulted in a buying experience to evaulate.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      stclair5211
      • 3 Years Ago
      They should. Anyone who owns a mini and pays twice what a car that size should cost wants to feel special after taking it up the arse sideways and let's face it, Lexus owners have always been "special."
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        [blocked]
        desinerd1
        • 3 Years Ago
        @stclair5211
        True. For how much a Countryman costs, you can buy an actual luxury car.
      kontroll
      • 3 Years Ago
      well if Cadillac and mercedes would offer the idiotic "lexus" bow, maybe their customers would be more satisfied also. How much credibility does a lexus owner have anyhow???
      BRKF06
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wow. First, while I bought a mini in the past I was super annoyed on my last visit. I told the guy we wanted to drive a Countryman Cooper S or All4 with manual. Did genius get on his computer and check his stock? Nope. Instead he did the 1980s thing of "let's walk around the lot checking 40-50 cars" and repeatedly bring up, automatic transmissions and the one non-turbo they had with a manual (as if that steaming pile engine with almost 40% less power is worth anyone's time). i've not been this annoyed since the last time I visited a... Caddy dealer and the guy couldn't get it through his thick skull I wanted to drive a CTS with a manual, not a CTS with an automanual. Yeah that moron kept insisting it's the same.
        Adrian
        • 3 Years Ago
        @BRKF06
        Every individual experience can be different. This is the market, as a whole.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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