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2008 Sales Satisfaction Index Study

2008 Sales Satisfaction Index Study

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2007
Buying a new car, crossover or light truck can be an exciting, but stressful, experience. It's exciting because it is an emotional yet functional purchase, but is stressful because it is often the second-most expensive purchase for a consumer after buying a home. In the past, the sales process has not always been perceived as most pleasant.

However, this year there is good news for consumers who plan to buy a new vehicle, according to J.D. Power and Associates research. Overall customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales experience has reached its highest level in three years, based on the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM which surveyed 35,805 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicles in May 2008. The SSI Study evaluates customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase and sales experience in terms of five key factors: dealership facility; salesperson; paperwork/finance process; delivery process; and vehicle price. A few highlights from the study that may help with your next new-vehicle purchase experience include:

  • Enhanced dealership facilities and an improved new-vehicle delivery process helped raise overall customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales experience this year.
  • More than 90 percent of the 38 brands evaluated in the study improved their overall performance scores in 2008 from 2007.
  • Premium, or luxury, brands still dominate the highest sales satisfaction rankings.
  • While price is the key reason for choosing a particular dealership, convenient location is becoming a more important reason to select a store. In 2008, 26 percent of consumers chose a dealership because it was convenient, which is up from 24 percent in 2007 and from 23 percent in 2006.
  • "Hassle-free" negotiation continues to be a leading reason why buyers choose to purchase from one dealer compared with another dealership.
  • Jaguar ranks highest in satisfying buyers with the new-vehicle sales process, moving up from No. 3 in the 2007 SSI rankings. Jaguar, which earns a rating of 5 (out of 5) Power Circles, performs especially well in two of five major areas: filling out paperwork/finance process and the delivery process.
  • Three other premium, or luxury, brands among those ranking near the top also earn 5 Power Circles for sales satisfaction. They are: Hummer, Lexus and Cadillac.
  • Seven more premium brands achieve sales satisfaction rankings that are higher than the industry average and also earn 4 Power Circles. They are, in alphabetical order: Audi, BMW, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Saab and Volvo.
  • Non-luxury brands that earn 4 Power Circles and are considered better than most in terms of sales satisfaction are, in alphabetical order: Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Mercury, Pontiac and Saturn. All rank above the industry average.
For a detailed explanation of Power Circle Ratings, click here.
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