SINGAPORE: 1 December 2015 — The relative importance of the salesperson in the overall purchase experience of new-vehicle buyers at authorized car dealerships in Vietnam has nearly doubled from 2014, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Vietnam Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM released today.
Now in its seventh 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. Listed in order of their impact on overall sales satisfaction, these factors are salesperson (21%); delivery timing (18%); dealer facility (17 %); sales initiation (17%); delivery process (14%); and deal (14%). Sales satisfaction performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating higher satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales and delivery process. Due to the study redesign, the 2015 index scores are not directly comparable with 2014. Overall sales satisfaction for mass market brands averages 786 in 2015.
New-vehicle domestic sales in Vietnam grew by 52% in the first nine months of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014. The Vietnamese market is projected to reach 223,000 new-vehicle units sold by the end of the year, a record high for the country.
Four in five (81%) new-vehicle owners in Vietnam are first-time buyers, with nearly all of them researching information online before visiting showrooms. New-vehicle buyers’ expectations are not being fully met, as satisfaction is notably lower among customers who request comparative data on competitor models than among those who do not make such a request (776 vs. 802, respectively). Nearly two-thirds (61%) of buyers ask their salesperson to compare their target vehicle with other competitor models while shopping at their purchase dealership. Satisfaction declines even more when the salesperson is unable to answer the buyer’s questions (768).
“As competition in Vietnam’s rapidly growing market intensifies, new-vehicle shoppers seek more product advice and personal attention from their salesperson when selecting a vehicle,” said Loïc Péan, senior manager at J.D. Power. “With numerous model launches and an increase in the number of shoppers researching vehicles online before visiting a dealer, the salesperson’s product knowledge is being put to the test as customers want pertinent model-by-model descriptions and comparisons. However, product knowledge isn’t enough to make a sale: the salesperson must convey their personal interest in the shopper to enhance the customer experience and ultimately drive sales.”
Price is no longer the main purchase differentiator as the deal has the lowest importance to customer satisfaction compared with other aspects of the purchase experience. However, the brand’s good reputation is most frequently cited as the purchase decision factor for the brand (23%) and the dealer’s reputation is most cited for selection of the dealer (28%).
“A skillful new car salesperson can provide a satisfying purchase experience for the customer and further the dealer’s good reputation by communicating the vehicle’s virtues in courteous and friendly way without placing too much sales pressure on the customer,” said Péan. “Satisfaction is where good word of mouth begins.”
- Internet Usage Increases Among New-Vehicle Shoppers: Internet usage among new-vehicle shoppers has increased to 99%—up by 21 percentage points from 2014—and 72% of new-vehicle shoppers indicate they used their phone or tablet to search/ verify information while at the dealership.
- Model Purchase Consideration: More than one-third (38%) of new-vehicle buyers seriously considered purchasing another model in 2015, which is 17 percentage points higher than in 2014.
- Social Media and Satisfaction: More than one-third (37%) of new-vehicle owners post to blogs, forums or social networking sites about their recent purchase experience, up by 15 percentage points from 2014. Satisfaction is higher among owners who share their feedback online than among those who do not (794 vs. 781, respectively), thereby rewarding high-performing dealers by helping them strengthen their reputation.
Among the eight mass market brands ranked in the study, Toyota ranks highest in overall sales satisfaction with a score of 792. Toyota performs particularly well in the sales initiation and delivery timing factors. Mazda (791) ranks second and performs well in the deal and delivery process factors. Honda (789) ranks third, performing well in the dealer facility, salesperson and delivery timing factors.
The 2015 Vietnam Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 1,290 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between September 2014 and July 2015. The study was fielded from April through July 2015.
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About J.D. Power in the Asia Pacific Region
J.D. Power has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Malaysia and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the six offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Information regarding J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the Internet at asean-oceania.jdpower.com.
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 Source: LMC Automotive