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During the economic downturn, many car dealerships counteracted their slowing income by focusing on things that would set them apart from competition – things like the quality of customer service they provide. When the economy picked up and more sales and service followed, many also first invested those funds back into the business, improving their dealership facilities and service centers.

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When it comes to handing out awards, nobody works harder than J.D. Power. With surveys concocted to measure dependability, brand reputation, customer retention, quality, and whatever else the company can dream up, we sometimes wonder whether the company's plaudits aren't becoming a little like "participant" medals awarded at the end of kids' sports seasons.

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J.D. Power and Associates has just released the results of its latest customer service survey. Lexus managed to take home the luxury crown for greatest customer satisfaction in the service department while Mini snagged top honors among mass-market brands. According to J.D. Power, one of the biggest factors that can influence how buyers feel about their service experience is whether or not their dealership aggressively tries to upsell maintenance agreements. The Consumer Service Index study rates

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Breaking news! Your favorite female Indycar driver and mine, Danica Patrick, will be appearing on television February 10 sans her entire racing getup on the hit CBS show CSI: NY. Patrick will be playing – shocking, we know – a race car driver who is considered the top competitor to another star racing driver who dies under "suspicious circumstances."

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According to a survey conducted for the Civil Society Institute (CSI) and 40mpg.org more than three out of four Americans (76 percent) -- including 78 percent of 2008 voters -- want Congress to raise the mile-per-gallon (MPG) requirement sharply now to 40 mpg by 2010 rather than waiting to reach a more modest MPG goal by 2018

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