BANGKOK: 1 October 2015 — As new-vehicle shoppers increasingly search for information online prior to visiting authorized car dealers, they require more information and demonstrations of vehicle features, benefits and advantages against competitors when they finally visit showrooms, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Thailand Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM mass market segment, released today.
Now in its 16th year, the study has been redesigned in 2015 and examines six factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with their new-vehicle purchase experience in the mass market segment. In order of impact on overall sales satisfaction, those factors are delivery process (19%); dealer facility (19%); sales initiation (17%); deal (16%); delivery timing (15%); and salesperson (15%). Sales satisfaction performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating greater satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales and delivery processes.
Overall satisfaction for mass market brands averages 801 in 2015. Due to the study redesign, the 2015 index scores are not directly comparable with 2014.
One-half of shoppers use the Internet during their shopping process in 2015, up from 33 percent in 2014, to research their purchase, including searching for the best package of features, discounts and the lowest overall purchase price. Vehicle price is the most frequently cited reason for selecting the dealership from which customers ultimately purchased their vehicle (46% in 2015 vs. 28% in 2014). Despite more discounts being offered (53% in 2015 vs. 36% in 2014), 7 percent of customers say they paid more than expected in 2015, up from 2 percent in 2014.
Demonstration of the vehicle, either at the dealership or a during a test drive, receives the lowest SSI attribute scores, contributing to the overall sales initiation process score of 790. Among the various available methods of explaining the features and benefits of a vehicle, the test drive has the greatest positive impact on satisfaction. Satisfaction with sales initiation is 812 when features and benefits are demonstrated during a test drive, while other methods all result in scores below 800.
“New-car shoppers place a great importance on the deal they receive; however, with shoppers increasingly going online to research vehicles, they expect more from the dealership than discounts or freebies when they do visit; they want an in-depth presentation of the vehicle,” said Siros Satrabhaya, branch manager at J.D. Power, Thailand. “Providing pertinent benchmark comparisons of models against key competitor vehicles and offering a longer test drive are areas in which salespeople definitely must improve in order to improve shoppers’ perceptions of the product value and, therefore, convince them they are making the smartest choice.”
- The study finds that 61 percent salespeople provide comparisons with other models—the lowest overall implementation rate among the 22 sales standards identified in the study—despite the fact that 29 percent of customers specifically requested their salesperson to do so.
- Less than half of new-vehicle shoppers are asked who the main user of the vehicle they intend to purchase is, its intended usage, their previous driving/ riding experience, their current vehicle ownership, purchase reasons and previous visits at other dealerships—important information for salespeople to know in order to better address a shopper’s needs.
- Overall satisfaction with sales initiation among shoppers who are offered a test drive is 803, compared with 748 among those who are not offered a test drive. The amount of time spent during the test drive also affects satisfaction. Among shoppers who take a test drive, satisfaction with sales initiation is highest when the drive lasts more than half an hour and is lowest when the drive lasts no more than 15 minutes (836 vs. 805, respectively).
- Delivery time improves noticeably year over year, with 49 percent of buyers receiving their new vehicle in less than two weeks in 2015, compared with 39 percent in 2014. Additionally, 14 percent of buyers say the delivery time was better than expected, up from 7 percent in 2014.
- A large majority (88%) of vehicles are delivered at the purchase dealer, which is the only delivery location where overall satisfaction is above average (803). However, 12 percent of new-vehicle buyers indicate they would prefer home delivery in 2015, up from 4 percent in 2014.
2015 Thailand SSI Study Rankings
Isuzu and Toyota (806 each) rank highest in sales satisfaction in a tie—Toyota, for a fourth consecutive year—among the nine mass market brands ranked in the study. Isuzu performs particularly well in the deal and delivery timing factors. Toyota performs particularly well in the dealer facility, salesperson and delivery process factors. Mazda (801) ranks third, outperforming other makes in sales initiation.
The 2015 Thailand SSI Study is based on responses from 2,559 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between August 2014 and April 2015. The study was fielded between February and June 2015.
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