Not surprisingly, premium brands dominated the top ranks. Including the three already mentioned, luxury brands occupied seven of the top ten spots and included Audi, BMW, Porsche, and the only American brand to crack the upper echelon, Cadillac. Toyota, Volkswagen, and Nissan rounded out the first ten positions.
The news for domestic automakers isn't good. Aside from Caddy, the only other star-spangled automaker to score above the industry average is Chrysler. The rest of FCA, most of GM, and all of Ford fell below the line. But Pied Piper's mystery shoppers handed Tesla the biggest walloping – the company is ten full points below the next lowest brand, Volvo, and its score of 86 is 17 below the average of 103. It's baffling, considering the company's touted direct-sales model.
"Tesla leaves me scratching my head," Fred O'Hagan, Pied Piper's president and CEO, told Wards Auto. "They own all of their stores, so you would think each one would be doing the same thing. But they're not. Tesla is consistent in its inconsistencies."
O'Hagan added that there's a "huge variation" in Tesla's store-to-store effectiveness, and that in some cases, shoppers found showroom workers that acted more like "museum curators," Wards Auto reports. It might be popular to call Tesla the Apple of the car world, but based on Pied Piper's work, the brand has a long way to go to emulate the uniform shopping experience of an Apple Store.
The news might be bad for Tesla, but even for the brands that scored below average, there's cause for celebration. Only Tesla and Mini lost points in this year's rankings, and only Mercedes and Lincoln held steady. Every other brand, including Infiniti, which topped the index for the first time, gained at least one point. The biggest improvements belong to Porsche, Land Rover, and Mitsubishi, which all jumped five points.
Pied Piper's annual Prospect Satisfaction Index uses mystery shoppers – over 6,100 this year – from across the country to assess dealers and generate rankings from over 50 individual factors.