The two brands topped the J.D. Power 2014 Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, with Cadillac at the top of the luxury list and Buick topping mass-market brands. CSI measures the level of customer satisfaction at the dealership, with maintenance or repair work done on vehicles that are between one and five years old.
Among mainstream brands, GMC and Chevrolet were also in the top five. Meanwhile Volkswagen has demonstrated tremendous improvement over just a few years, and it takes the number-two spot among mass-market brands
Fiat Chrysler didn't fare well in these results, with its Dodge, Jeep, and Ram dealerships ranking last among mass-market brands. On the luxury side, Land Rover was a distant last place, while Volvo and Acura were also well below the industry average.
Several other models that continue to do well with shoppers on the product side—Subaru, Mazda, and Kia, among others—all perform below the industry average in the CSI study. And that's possibly an indication that something needs to be done differently at the dealership level, especially in the service department.
According to Power, 68 percent of those with a luxury-brand vehicle and 46 percent of those with mass-market vehicles said that their vehicles were covered with complimentary maintenance for the first year of ownership. That's up dramatically since 2009, when the rates were just 35 percent and 15 percent, respectively.
Such packages forge a long-term relationship with dealerships, driving higher loyalty, and lead to repeat customers for the same dealership—and brand. While 62 percent of owners in general repurchase a model of the same vehicle brand, that rises to 72 percent for those who get complimentary maintenance.
J.D. Power found last year that overall satisfaction with dealership service is higher than it is with independent mechanics—a trend that continues independent of this.
One other key (and interesting) finding of this latest study is that owners of mass-market, traditional domestic U.S. brands actually use social networks at a higher rate in helping to select dealers, while those who have vehicles of import brands tend to favor ratings and review sites. Overall, the portion of shoppers who use either is quite low, with 15 percent using social networks and 17 percent turning to ratings and review resources.
See below, or visit J.D. Power, for more results.
2014 Customer Service Index (CSI) study results - J.D. PowerEnlarge Photo