S&P Chief Economist, J.D. Power Executive Offer Cautious but Positive Outlooks

Two experts from Standard & Poor’s and J.D. Power offered cautiously positive outlooks for the U.S. economy and for the U.S. auto industry to some 300 auto dealers and industry participants during the recent Western Automotive Conference, sponsored by J.D. Power and the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).

Beth Ann Bovino, U.S. chief economist for Standard & Poor’s, said that the U.S. is in its fourth year of recovery with an average growth rate of 2%. On a global level, she cited challenges to be faced including a slowdown in China, the remaining effects of the debt crisis in the Eurozone, and spikes in global oil prices.

In addressing current conditions in the U.S., Bovino said the Fed is focusing on creating jobs and is offering incentives for businesses to invest and hire, which will lead to higher growth. She said there has been robust demand and hiring in the private sector in spite of shocks. Continue reading ›

Satisfaction Surges if Dealers Use Mobile Devices to Enhance Sales Process

Chris Sutton

Chris Sutton

Satisfaction is highest among new-vehicle buyers who are presented with pricing/payment options on a computer screen or a tablet (833 on a 1,000-point scale) during the sales process, according to our 2013 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which is based on responses from 29,040 new-vehicle buyers or lessees, who completed their transaction in April or May 2013.

Using technology continues to make a major difference in enhancing the buyer’s or lessee’s sales experience at the dealership. Specifically, when a dealership salesperson uses a tablet device during the sales process with new-vehicle buyers, satisfaction is 52 points higher on average (844) than when a salesperson does not use a tablet during the sales experience (792). Satisfaction with a salesperson using a computer printout (820) receives the next highest score, followed by verbal price quotes (792); and lastly, written figures (780).

Our 2013 U.S. SSI Study finds that tablets are proving to be particularly versatile and effective tools and may help maintain consistency during the sales process, while providing accessible and dynamic product information. Yet, we also see that tablet usage among dealership salespeople remains relatively limited—only 10% of dealership salespeople use these devices. On a positive note, that’s still up from 7% in 2012. Continue reading ›

Thorough Explanations Enhance After-Sales Service Satisfaction in Vietnam

Vietnam01New-vehicle owners in Vietnam prefer to have the type and scope of maintenance or repair work explained prior to their service visit and after the work is completed at the dealer or authorized service center, according to our 2013 Vietnam Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. When a service advisor provides explanations at the beginning and completion of work, satisfaction improves significantly—by 24 points (on a 1,000-point scale). Continue reading ›

Sales Satisfaction Up in Vietnam Market; Test Drive Can Make a Difference

Traffic on Vietnamese StreetOverall satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience at the dealership has improved by 4 points in 2013 to an average 850 points (on a 1,000-point scale) from 846 points in 2012, according to our 2013 Vietnam Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Yet, even with this year’s higher satisfaction score, the study finds areas where dealers can improve sales satisfaction, including offering customers a test drive and spending more time with the buyer during the delivery process.

Offering a test drive—which averages 17 minutes in 2013, compared with 19 minutes in 2012 and 21 minutes in 2011—to new-vehicle buyers who visit a dealership in Vietnam can increase customer satisfaction with the sales process, the study finds. Slightly more than one-third (36%) of buyers actually test drive a vehicle. Continue reading ›

Reliability and Price are Key Priorities for Mexico’s New-Vehicle Owners

Gerardo Gomez

New-vehicle owners in Mexico say the most important reasons for choosing their car or truck are a vehicle’s durability and reliability and its purchase price, according to our 2013 Mexico Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS). Fuel efficiency is the third most important, according to the study.

The 2013 Mexico VOSS, which is based on responses from 5,497 vehicle owners in major auto markets throughout Mexico, finds that consumers want extra assurance that their vehicle will be dependable. More than one-half (60%) of owners say their 2011 and 2012-model year vehicles are covered by the original manufacturer’s warranty. Another 16% of owners say their vehicle is covered under an extended warranty, and 9% say their vehicle is covered under a pre-paid service agreement.

Price is particularly important to Mexico’s vehicle owners since, on average, the purchase price of a new vehicle may be equal to 1-2 years of disposable household income. In addition, the average annual price of insurance may be high for many consumers in Mexico—sometimes it may be equal to as much as a month’s salary. Continue reading ›

Ownership Costs Most Important in 2013 Brazil VOSS

Jon Sederstrom-Final

Jon Sederstrom

Overall vehicle ownership satisfaction in Brazil averages 733 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to our 2013 Brazil Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study (VOSS), and ownership cost satisfaction—which accounts for the highest importance weight in the study’s overall satisfaction index—receives the lowest average score among the four measures that are examined.

The 2013 study, based on evaluations of 8,387 online interviews with new-vehicle owners in the country after 12 to 36 months of ownership, evaluates four measures of satisfaction across the new-vehicle ownership experience. In order of importance, these measures are: ownership costs (42%); service satisfaction (23%); vehicle appeal (19%); and vehicle quality/reliability (16%).

Among all countries in which J.D. Power publishes the Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study, owners in Brazil place the most importance on the cost of owning a vehicle. In part, this is due to spending a larger percentage of their income on vehicle service and repairs, fuel, taxes, and insurance. Continue reading ›

Exceptional Service Advisors May Lead to Higher Satisfaction with Dealer Service in the Philippines

manila-trafficNew-vehicle owners in the Philippines this year put more importance on personal interaction and having exceptional service advisors as a first point of contact at the dealership, according to our 2013 Philippines Customer Service Index (CSI) Study.

The study, which measures overall customer service satisfaction among more than 1,800 vehicle owners who visited an authorized service center for maintenance or repair work during the first 12 to 24 months of ownership, finds that overall satisfaction with service at authorized dealerships improves by an average of 4 points in 2013 to 832 (on a 1,000-point scale) vs. last year. Continue reading ›

Strong Lender Support Fuels Dealer Financing Satisfaction Rises in 2013

Buckingham_square

Michael Buckingham

Dealer satisfaction with automotive lenders in the U.S. increases for a second straight year in all four categories measured, according to our 2013 U.S. Dealer Financing Satisfaction Study. The rise in adoption rates of new processes—such as e-contracting—combined with improvements in dealer support, such as the frequency of contact, and more product offerings contribute to this year’s gains vs. 2012.

As auto sales and the lending environment continue to return to pre-recessionary levels (before 2007), there is healthier competition among more lenders. Nearly one-third (30%) of lenders offer dealers new processes and a wider range of products, and 39% of dealers who are offered these options in turn send regular business to their providers, based on our study results. Continue reading ›

India’s Auto Dealers Anticipate Lower Profits; Express Need for Exciting Models

MArora

Mohit Arora

Only 44% of India’s dealers expect to be profitable in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, partly due to a slow-down in new-vehicle sales as well as a dip in satisfaction with the available product lineup, according to our 2013 India Dealer Satisfaction with Automotive Manufacturers Index (DSWAMI) Study.

The study, which is based on responses from 618 dealership general managers or principles across all major nameplates, measures dealer satisfaction with automakers and importers in India* and identifies dealer attitudes about the retail business now and in the future.

Key findings from this year’s study are highlighted:

• In 2013, the largest decline in dealer satisfaction is in parts operations, with notable brand level declines in the areas of prompt delivery of parts and ease of ordering parts.

• Satisfaction with product lineup also declines this year. On average, 82% of dealers indicate their brand provides a model range that is effective in a highly competitive auto market. Continue reading ›