The annual J.D. Power and Associates Sales Satisfaction Index has been tallied, and Jaguar has won the top spot for the fifth year in a row. Ford Motor Co. sold Jaguar to Tata Motors last year for $2.3 billion.
The rankings were based on consumers’ satisfaction with the buying experience in five different categories or process factors. Jaguar’s final score was 898, excelling in the salesperson and paperwork/financing aspects of its sales process.
The mass-market brand category, which was a new category created to make the rankings fair among different brands, was won by Ford’s Mercury division. There were thirteen high-end luxury brands that scored higher than 24 of the mass-market brands, but the ranges (864-832) tended to overlap.
J.D. Power’s research director, Jon Osborn, reports that “five of the top 10 are nonluxury brands this year.”
Even though auto sales have plunged dramatically over the last year, customers who do buy seem more satisfied than ever. Osborn feels it’s due to the fact that dealership personnel are taking better care of the customers during the entire process.
Osborn says, “When someone does come by, dealer personnel can spend more time with them. Scores improved on complete explanations during delivery and ‘concerned you stayed within budget.’”
On the other hand, many buyers complained about feeling increased pressure at the dealerships.
The top five luxury brands according to the Power Index included Jaguar, Cadillac, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover. These brands had the highest index rankings and were the only ones to score above the index’ luxury average. Audi finished last in the luxury category, scoring 828, and was the only brand to rank below the average of the mass-market brands.
Smart, Buick, Pontiac and Chevrolet followed Mercury in the mass-market category. The bottom five in that category were Nissan, Mazda, Dodge, Jeep and Mitsubishi.
Overall the changes weren’t drastic; however, Mini moved up 16 positions to number 6 in the mass-market category. Also, Hummer dropped down 25 points and dropped completely out of the luxury category due to the H3 not being considered a premium vehicle by the Power Index.
Susan Docherty of GM noted that all four GM brands were rated above average in the survey. She said, “One of our key priorities was the restructuring of our dealer network. What we need to complete… is the successful wind-down of the dealerships that are not going to be with us going forward and the strengthening of our remaining dealerships. We picked the best and brightest dealers that know how to take care of customers.”
The J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index is based on 48,000 customers surveyed regarding their new vehicle lease or purchase in May and June of 2009. It is based on the following five factors: salesperson, paperwork/finance process, delivery process, and vehicle price.