Have you shopped for a new car lately? If so, how impressed were you with the dealerships you visited? If you stopped at a Lexus or MINI showroom, chances are good that you walked away happy -- and with a new set of wheels. That's according to the latest study from J.D. Power.
Power's 2011 Sales Satisfaction Index surveyed some 24,045 individuals who purchased or leased a new vehicle in May of 2011. The study looked at two sets of criteria -- one for dealerships where customers ultimately bought or leased their cars, and another for those dealerships shoppers left without sealing the deal. J.D. Power asked respondents to score those dealerships on a scale of 0 to 1,000. The study also split dealerships into two categories: luxury and mass market.
At the successful dealerships, Power measured four criteria: in order of importance, working out the deal; salesperson; delivery process; and dealership facility. As for the showrooms shoppers left, Power looked at five areas: in order of importance, salesperson; fairness of price; facility; inventory; and experience negotiating.
What does this tell us? That winning dealerships made working out the final details of the deal easy, fair, and straightforward, and that their salespeople were affable. At the losing dealerships, ineffective sales staff and poor pricing were key in turning off shoppers.
In the luxury segment, Lexus came out on top, with an average satisfaction score of 715. The brand was followed closely by Cadillac, which earned an impressive 713. Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Land Rover also finished above the segment average of 688.
In the mass market segment, MINI was far and away the top choice, with an average score of 723. Buick came in a fairly distant second at 682. Others falling above the segment average of 642 were GMC, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Scion, Subaru, Mazda, Chrysler, Ford, and Toyota.
For luxury car shoppers, Volvo fell at the bottom of the barrel, with a score of 666. Acura fared slightly better at 673, and Audi came in at 675. Other below-the-belters were Infiniti, BMW, and Lincoln.
For mass market dealers, Jeep held the lowest rung, with a score of 606. Ram earned the dubious penultimate spot, bested slightly by Kia, Dodge, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Honda.
Overall, the survey's results seem fairly positive. Overall satisfaction rose by 13 points compared to 2010, jumping from 635 to 648 this year. That's despite the fact that the average time shoppers spent in dealerships rose from 4.1 hours to 4.3 hours, and despite the fact that delivery of new vehicles after the sale took slightly longer -- 32 minutes in 2011, compared to 28 minutes a year ago.
If you purchased a new vehicle recently, we'd be interested to know about your experiences -- both at the dealership where you bought or leased your car, and at the dealership(s) you left behind. Drop us a note in the comments section below.