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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

Demand for Smaller Engines in U.S. Market Flourishes

tysonjominy Blog

Tyson Jominy

During the past five years, there has been a rise in demand in the U.S. market for compact- and even midsize-segment car and light-truck models to be equipped with more efficient, powerful and eco-friendly 4-cylinder engines. In fact, more than one-half of new vehicles purchased or leased in the first five and one-half months of 2013 were equipped with a 4-cylinder, according to data provided by our Power Information Network® (PIN) division.

One reason behind the larger percentage of smaller engines (PIN defines small engines as 3-, 4- and 5-cylinders) in the sales mix is that more brands in the U.S. market now offer these more fuel-efficient powertrains than they did five years ago. Some of the noticeable changes in powertrain penetration that PIN has tracked between 2008 and 2013 are summarized:

• In 2008, 10 nameplates in the U.S. market did not even have engine options smaller than 6-cylinders. Today, there are only three brands without small (below 6-cylinders) engines in their sales mix.

• In 2008, there were only five nameplates with over 90% small-engine penetration. Today, there are 11 brands with greater than 90% penetration.

• Four nameplates have 100% small-engine penetration—Mini, smart, Fiat, and Scion. Volkswagen, Subaru, Hyundai and Kia also score well above 90% small-engine penetration.

• The largest change is for the Buick brand, which did not offer 4-cylinders in 2008, but now is above 50% in its sales mix.

Audi remains the top luxury marque with 4-cylinder penetration, while BMW, which did not offer 4-cylinders in 2008, is now No. 2. Continue reading ›

Lexus and Mini Again Rank Highest in Brand Sales Satisfaction

For a second straight year, Lexus ranks highest among luxury brands in satisfaction with the new-vehicle buying experience, and for a third consecutive year, Mini receives the highest satisfaction score among mass market brands, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.SM

Rankings are based on evaluations of . . . Continue Reading Lexus and Mini Again Rank Highest in Brand Sales Satisfaction

Automakers, Dealers Learn about Mini USA’s Recipe for Sales Success

During their 10 amazing years in the United States, Mini USA has adhered to the mindset of “winning small,” suggests Tom Salkowsky, head of marketing. He told auto industry members on the opening day of the 2012 Automotive Marketing Roundtable (AMR) that much of Mini’s early success came at a time when “Bigger was Better” in the United States. Continue reading ›

Small-Vehicle Demand Bolsters September U.S. Sales

Consumers continued to replace their aging cars and trucks with more fuel-efficient new models in September—especially since higher gasoline prices* helped prime demand for sub-compact or compact new vehicles with smaller engines and even alternative powertrains, in particular hybrids. In addition, discounts on outgoing 2012 models plus excitement about new and redesigned models helped boost sales by nearly 13% from the same month last year.**

Total U.S. new-vehicle sales in September reached 1.187 million units, which translated to a relatively strong 14.9 million-unit seasonally adjusted selling rate (SAAR), according to J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) and strategic partner LMC Automotive. September’s sales pace was significantly stronger than last year’s 13.1 million-unit SAAR. Continue reading ›

Service Satisfaction among Japan’s Mini-Car Owners is a Major Challenge

Taku Kimoto

The mini-car segment in Japan continues to gain share and attract more attention, accounting for one-third of total industry sales. Traditional mini-car brands—mainly Daihatsu and Suzuki—are competing in a tight market with Japan’s six mass-market brands—Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Subaru and Mitsubishi. Some, including Honda, are launching their own tiny models with engine sizes of 660 cc or less.*

The competition between mini-car brands and mass-market brands is presenting a severe challenge to satisfying customers with after-sales service—especially among those vehicle owners who have switched from domestic mass market brands to mini-car brands, according to our 2012 Japan Customer Service Index (CSI) Study.

This year, overall customer satisfaction with service performed at automotive dealer facilities averages just 617 index points (on a 1,000-point scale), which is down from 623 in 2011. Continue reading ›

Japan Sales Satisfaction: Lexus and Volkswagen Rank Highest in Their Segments

Among luxury brands, Lexus ranks highest with a score of 720 points (on a 1,000-point scale) in the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM —35 points higher than the segment average (685). Lexus performs particularly well in three of the five factors* measured: sales system/process, facility and product exhibit . . . Continue Reading Japan Sales Satisfaction: Lexus and Volkswagen Rank Highest in Their Segments

U.S. Light-Vehicle Sales Soften Only Slightly due to Lower Fleets in July

Car and light-truck sales in the U.S. reached 1.152 million units in July, which is an increase of 18% from July last year on a selling-day-adjusted basis.* That translates to a 14.1 million-unit seasonally adjusted annual selling rate (SAAR), and is slightly lower than June’s 14.3 million SAAR (recently adjusted with the revised U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) seasonal factors), but is much stronger than the 12.2 million-unit pace in July 2011, according to data collected and analyzed by J.D. Power’s Power Information Network® (PIN) with LMC Automotive.**

There were two fewer selling days in July this year (24) vs. last year (26), which means that Detroit-based Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. actually posted gains from a year ago on a selling-day-adjusted basis, as reduced fleet deliveries in the month impacted their total sales performance. Continue reading ›