SÃO PAULO: 31 May 2016 — Challenging market conditions in Brazil mean automotive dealers must work harder for the business of fewer buyers, and customers appreciate the additional attention they receive as an outcome, which is resulting in higher satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Brazil Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM released today.
Annual new-vehicle sales in Brazil declined 31% between 2013 and 2015 as the country struggled with severe economic challenges and political instability. In contrast to just a few years ago when new-vehicle sales were booming and dealerships were trying to keep up with the volume of customers in their showrooms, dealers now are focused on trying to turn every shopper into a buyer.
“The market continues to decline, but that creates new opportunities for dealers to intensify the focus on their sales process to please customers, and dealers who adopt more customer-friendly sales processes will likely enjoy market share gains when the market recovers,” said Fabio Braga, director of operations, J.D. Power do Brasil. “With fewer shoppers, dealers have more time to attend to their customers, which ultimately pays off in referrals and a higher likelihood that customers will service their vehicle at the selling dealership.”
Overall customer satisfaction with the sales process improves to 793 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2016 from 774 in 2015. Braga notes that the slow market also has changed customer expectations, resulting in greater emphasis on the vehicle test drive, negotiating the deal, and the delivery process.
Test Drive Critical in the Sales Process: Overall sales satisfaction is highest among the 68% of owners who took a test drive (813). Among those who took a test drive, overall sales satisfaction is highest among the 29% of owners who were accompanied by a test drive specialist (841), followed by 803 among the 69% who were accompanied by a salesperson. While only 2% of owners took a test drive unaccompanied, their satisfaction is lowest (776).
Satisfaction among owners who did not take a test drive is 752. Among them, 4% said they didn’t take a test drive because a vehicle was not available. In addition, customers indicate that 28 minutes is the optimal amount of time for a test drive.
“Having test vehicles available is an investment for dealers,” said Braga. “Due to lower sales, dealers are cutting expenses, but having a good inventory of vehicles for customers to choose from and test drive is so critical that dealers cannot afford to scale back too far.”
Internet Usage on the Rise, Boosts Satisfaction: Internet usage during the vehicle shopping process is increasing, as 60% of buyers in 2016 report using the Internet to help select a vehicle, up from 51% in 2015. Overall sales satisfaction is significantly higher among owners who used the Internet during the shopping process than among non-users (804 vs. 777, respectively).
Gen Y and Gen Z customers have the highest propensity to use the Internet when vehicle shopping, 63% and 70%, respectively. Conversely, Boomers have the lowest Internet usage (38%). The most commonly performed actions by Internet shoppers include comparing vehicles (72%); getting model information (67%); and finding pricing information (66%).
Delivering on Satisfaction: The vehicle delivery process has the greatest impact on overall satisfaction with the vehicle purchase experience. Consistent across age groups, 66% of owners say they prefer a detailed vehicle explanation during delivery (an average of 34 minutes). Overall sales satisfaction among the 84% of owners who say dealer spent “just the right amount of time” during vehicle delivery is 808. In contrast, satisfaction among the 12% of owners who say the dealer “did not spend enough time” declines by 96 points to 712.
The person who delivers the vehicle to customers is also important. Utilizing the sales manager or a delivery specialist in the vehicle delivery process impacts high satisfaction (scores of 826 and 805, respectively). However, when the salesperson delivers the vehicle, satisfaction dips to 796.
Vehicle Reliability and Technology More Important Than Price: The top three main reasons owners say they selected the vehicle they purchased are reliability, previous experience with the brand, and technology in the vehicle, collectively cited by 25% of owners. Low price or payment/ability to finance and performance tie for the fourth-most-influential purchase reason, each selected by 7% of owners. “It is clear that while consumers in Brazil want a fair price, they are ultimately most concerned with the vehicle itself—its quality, reliability, and technology,” said Sergio Sanchez, automotive practice manager for J.D. Power do Brasil.
The study, now in its fourth year, is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience and explores customer satisfaction with the selling dealer by examining five measures (listed in order of importance): vehicle delivery (24%); working out the deal (21%); test drive (21%); dealership facility (18%); and salesperson (17%).
Study Rankings: Toyota ranks highest in new-vehicle sales satisfaction for a fourth consecutive year, with a score of 839. Hyundai-CAOA ranks second (831), followed by Jeep (817), Chevrolet (811), and Nissan (809), which improves from 11th place in 2015. Jeep is included in the study for the first time this year. The company’s domestic production at its Pernambuco, Brazil, plant has helped the brand’s sales in the country.
The 2016 Brazil Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM is based on the evaluations of 3,664 online interviews with new-vehicle owners in Brazil during the first 12 months after purchase. The study was fielded in March and April 2016.
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