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 ›

Certified Used Vehicles are More Attractive to India’s New-Vehicle Buyers


Mohit Arora

Some 13% of new-vehicle buyers in India considered a used vehicle during their shopping process—an increase of 10% over the past three years, according to our 2013 India Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which evaluates sales satisfaction among 8,434 new-vehicle owners who purchased their new vehicle between September 2012 and April 2013.

Findings show that more than one-third (37%) of new-vehicle buyers who considered a used vehicle this year indicated using the Internet during their shopping process to find information about vehicle financing, trade-in options and service-related issues.

In contrast, only 27% of new-vehicle owners who only considered new vehicles used the Internet for shopping, primarily to look up vehicle features and specifications. Continue reading ›

Shorter Delivery Times in Japan Increases Sales Satisfaction Levels

Kimoto Taku NEW_C_Lg

Taku Kimoto

Customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales experience in Japan has improved as delivery times are nine days shorter on average than in 2012 when there were longer delays in delivery due to the initiation of an eco-car subsidy program, according to our 2013 Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.

This year, the average time for delivery to buyers of non-hybrid vehicles declines to 28 days from 34 days in 2012, and the delivery time for hybrids drops by 23 days and averages 50 days instead of 73 days. Among Japan’s domestic brands, Toyota—the largest seller of hybrid vehicles in Japan—and Honda, which had its production in 2012 negatively affected by flooding in Thailand, achieve notable reductions in delivery times. Continue reading ›

Power Seats with Manual Lumbar Support Hampers Seat Satisfaction


Mike VanNieuwkuyk

Although a small percentage (less than 5%) of new vehicles are equipped with power seats that have manually adjustable lumbar support, new-vehicle owners with those seats experience more problems with the lumbar support adjustment than do owners of vehicles equipped with all-power seat controls, according to our 2013 Seat Quality and Satisfaction Study.

Problem incidence of power seats with a manual lumbar support averages 1.9 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) vs. just 0.4 PP100 for owners with all-power seat controls. Satisfaction among owners of vehicles equipped with power seats that have manual lumbar adjustments also is slightly lower on average—8.2 (on a 10-point scale)—compared with 8.4 for owners of fully powered seats.

Even those new-vehicle owners with all manual seat controls experience a lower average number of lumbar adjustment problems (1.1 PP100) compared with owners with power seats and manually adjustable lumbar support. However, overall satisfaction for owners with seats with all-manual seat controls is lowest (7.9 on a 10-point scale). Continue reading ›

Premium Brands Earn Higher APEAL Scores; Land Rover Range Rover Ranks Highest

David Amodeo

David Amodeo

A new feature of our redesigned 2013 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study is the division and ranking of APEAL performance into two major categories: Premium and Non-Premium Brands.

At the industry level, the APEAL score averages 795 points on a 1,000-point scale. With our change in segment designations, the Premium segment average is 844 points and the Non-Premium segment average is 786.

As it has for the past nine years, Porsche leads all brands in the nameplate rankings and earns a score of 884 points, which also means it ranks highest in the Premium category. Rounding out the top five premium brands are, respectively: Audi (857); BMW (854); and Land Rover (853), followed by Lexus and Mercedes-Benz in a tie (847). The highest-ranking domestic premium brand in the study is Cadillac at No. 7.

In the Non-Premium segment, for the first time, Chrysler Group’s Ram nameplate is the most appealing brand with a score of 817. Ram is followed by Volkswagen (809); MINI (801); Buick (800) and Kia (797) in the Non-Premium category. All of these mass-market brands receive scores that are above the industry average of 795 points. Continue reading ›

Shift to Smaller Engines: Driven by More than Gas Price Hikes

Tyson Jominy

More than one-half (54.1%) of the new cars and light trucks purchased or leased in the U.S. during the first three months of 2012 were equipped with fuel-efficient, 4-cylinder powertrains, according to retail transaction data from our Power Information Network® (PIN) Division at J.D. Power. That’s up a dramatic 14.9 points from the first quarter of 2008, the early months of the recent U.S. recession, when 42.7% of new vehicles that were purchased or leased were equipped with 4-cylinder powertrains.

Gas price hikes this year that have seen the average price across the country increase to more than $3.93 per gallon for regular unleaded, in addition to an expanded array of 4-cylinder engine choices—including turbocharged variants and direct-injection diesel engines—from both mass-market and premium automakers may be providing some of that renewed demand for these smaller powertrains.

Consumers Move into New Vehicle Segments

However, we see some other factors driving this sea change. Consumers are shifting from large to midsize vehicle segments and from midsize to small or compact segments, which bring with it a decrease in engine size. In addition, we see that consumers who do not downsize are finding more fuel-efficient powertrain options at the segment and model level, where there previously were no options—such as large pickups. Ford is now offering EcoBoost 6-cylinder powertrains in its high-volume F-Series trucks, and the company says that 41% of its F-Series retail sales in March were equipped with EcoBoost powertrains. Continue reading ›

More US New-Vehicle Deals Included a Trade-In in 2011

Grace Hamulic

More new-vehicle buyers in the US market replaced and traded in their aging models in 2011 than in 2010, based on a profile of demographic data from retail transactions with vehicle age and trade-in information collected by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN).

More than one-half (52.7%) of mass-market, or non-luxury, new-vehicle transactions in 2011 included a trade-in compared with 49.1% of deals in 2010—a difference of 3.6 percentage points. Our PIN data also indicates that the average age of all trade-ins across the industry rose to 6.2 years on average, from 6.1 years in 2010. Among mass-market trade-ins, the average age rose slightly higher to 6.4 years from 6.2 years in 2010. Slightly less than 40% of new-vehicle transactions included a same-nameplate trade-in in both years. Continue reading ›

Hyundai Ranks Highest in Customer Retention

Among 33 automotive brands included in our 2012 Customer Retention Study, Hyundai ranks highest among all brands in retaining customers when they buy a new vehicle. The Korean brand improves its retention rate by 4 percentage points from 2010 to 64% in 2012.

Hyundai’s retention rate is primarily driven by loyalty to the Elantra and Sonata models. The non-premium brand’s increased retention rate also is shaped by its expanding model lineup, as well as the fact that perceptions of the brand’s quality and appeal have continued to improve during the past decade. Continue reading ›