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2012 Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study Results

2012 Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study Results

By Jeff Youngs, December 17, 2012
A smooth and problem-free experience over the full term of a vehicle loan is key to building customer satisfaction, according to the recently released J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study.SM The study finds that while there's little relationship between a customer's experience with the loan and their inclination to use the same dealership for future vehicle purchases or leases, a much stronger relationship exists between satisfaction with the loan experience and the customer's intent to use the same finance provider again.

The study measures customer satisfaction in four factors: billing and payment; interest rate/monthly payment; Web site; and phone contact. The study is conducted across four consumer vehicle financing segments: mass market loan; mass market lease; luxury loan; and luxury lease.

Volkswagen Credit ranks highest in the mass-market loan segment, with a score of 865 points on a 1,000-point scale. Volkswagen performs particularly well in billing and payment as well as interest rate/monthly payment. Mazda Capital Services (844) and Honda Financial Services (843) rank second and third, respectively.

Ford Credit (827) ranks highest in the mass-market lease segment and performs well in all areas, followed by Volkswagen Credit (816) and Honda Financial Services (802).

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services ranks highest in the luxury loan segment, with a score of 853, followed closely by Acura Financial Services with a score of 852. BMW Financial Services ranks third with a score 848.

Lincoln Automotive Financial Services ranks highest in the luxury lease segment, with a score of 826. Lexus Financial Services (808) and Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (806) rank second and third, respectively.

"A superior servicing experience translates into greater lender consideration for future business," says Lisa Stimac, account director automotive finance at J.D. Power and Associates. "While a similar relationship does not exist with respect to considering the same dealership, finance providers may still influence dealer consideration by ensuring efficient approval processes and knowledgeable staff.

"Most consumers just want the vehicle-buying process to be simple. Financing is a tough area to simplify, but by providing seamless, fast service throughout the loan or lease period, financing providers increase their chances of being re-selected and building brand loyalty."

Many of the best practices in vehicle finance servicing are related to problem prevention. These practices include providing service alerts; reminding customers of a payment or confirming when a payment has been made; providing accurate and informative billing information; and offering alternative, easy-to-use methods for reviewing account information.

"Addressing and resolving problems that do occur serve the dual purpose of increasing customer satisfaction and minimizing the number of interactions with the lender, which takes time and resources," says Stimac. "Of course, when a customer experiences a problem, resolving it quickly and efficiently is critical to recover the lost goodwill from problems [experienced] in the first place."

The study, based on responses from 11,259 new-vehicle purchasers or lessees who completed a vehicle loan or lease transaction between June 2011 and May 2012, was fielded between August and October 2012.

Consumer Tips for a Satisfying Auto Finance Experience
Based on the study findings, J.D. Power and Associates offers the following consumer tips for those considering financing or leasing a new vehicle:

  • Whether you buy or lease depends on what type of vehicle you want. If you want to have a new vehicle every 3 years, you should lease. If you put a lot of wear and tear on a vehicle and drive it more than 15,000 miles per year, you should plan to purchase.
  • Don't buy or lease more vehicle than you can afford. The entire length of ownership will be more satisfactory if there are no problems with keeping up payments.
  • Shop around for financing. Usually, you'll get the best terms on a loan arranged through your dealership--but it can't hurt to consider other lenders.

2012 Consumer Financing Satisfaction Ratings
Other Autos Ratings
Other Finance Ratings

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