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 ›

J.D. Power Expert Discusses Digital Trends in Shopping for a New Vehicle

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker

Arianne Walker, senior director of media and marketing solutions at J.D. Power, provided insights from J.D. Power’s latest research on the automotive shopping process during an opening review of “How Digital Living Impacts the Automotive Industry,” at the October J.D. Power Automotive Marketing Roundtable in Las Vegas, NV.

A prior post,  J.D. Power’s Roundtable Speaker Defines “Connected Auto Consumers” summarized Walker’s discussion of shopping trends by generation, statistics about visits to websites, in addition to explaining how AIUs (Automotive Internet Users) access information digitally. Today’s post includes more of Walker’s insight about automotive buyer online research behavior and the roles that social media and video play in the shopping experience. Continue reading ›

Shorter Vehicle Delivery Time Impacts Dealership Selection in India

India02Although dealer proximity is still the most influential reason for choosing a dealership in India, new-vehicle buyers cite immediate delivery as an emerging key consideration, according to our 2013 India Escaped Shopper Study (ESS). More than one-sixth (16%) of customers cite immediate delivery as the most influential reason for selecting a dealer, up from just 8% in 2009.

In addition, a longer delivery time is cited by new-vehicle buyers as the second-most influential reason to reject a vehicle that shoppers had initially considered purchasing. The interest in vehicle delivery is related to the final decision process. Once the decision is made and the payment and other processes are completed, new-vehicle owners want to immediately show off their prized possession. Continue reading ›

Over Half of Gen Y Shoppers Who Use the Web are Open to Any Vehicle Brand

Arianne_Walker New

Arianne Walker

One-half of all new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet in their shopping process (AIUs) are open to considering any vehicle brand at the beginning of their research experience. In addition, that percentage is even higher (54%) among Gen Y AIUs, according to our 2013 New Autoshopper Study.*

We see that close to one-half (47%) of Gen Y AIUs use smartphones in their shopping process—the most of any age demographic, which indicates how important it is for brands and websites to put these younger buyers into their marketing equations. The share of new-vehicle buyers in Gen Y is increasing at the greatest rate among all buyers and is projected to comprise 23% of all 2013 retail sales.

Automakers have a terrific opportunity to influence younger buyers during their shopping process, which averages about four months, particularly since they are quite open to considering different brands as they begin their new-vehicle research. In addition, the digital presence of the brand through mobile advertising and by providing content across mobile-accessible sites may be a great way to reach Gen Y buyers, since we see almost half that use a smartphone during the shopping process. Continue reading ›

Internet Plays a Major Role in Brazil’s New-Vehicle Sales Process

Jon Sederstrom-Final

Jon Sederstrom

New-vehicle shoppers in Brazil rely the most on information from their friends and relatives (45%), followed by research on the Internet (43%), to help them decide which make and model of vehicle to purchase, according to our 2013 Brazil Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.* These two sources are cited more often than traditional information sources such as owners of the same vehicle (27%) or the salesperson or dealership owners (23%), based on our study, which evaluates more than 3,000 online interviews with Brazil’s new-vehicle owners one to seven months after their purchase.

A Little Background about Brazil as an Auto Market

Brazil is the fourth-largest new-vehicle market in the world, behind China, the United States and Japan. The country’s auto market is expected to grow by 3% in 2013 from 2012, when 3.6 million new light vehicles were sold in the country.

In addition to experiencing strong sales and growth, nearly one-half of consumers in Brazil have access to the Internet and nearly 55 million smartphones are in use in the country, which means that information gathered online is becoming a powerful and influential resource for new-vehicle shoppers. Continue reading ›

Overall Sales Satisfaction Improves Significantly from 2011

Chris Sutton

Overall sales satisfaction among both new-vehicle buyers and rejecters in 2012 averages 664 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is an improvement of 16 points from 648 in 2011, according to our 2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. In addition, satisfaction with the selling dealer also advances by 5 points from 771 in 2011 to 776. Among the four measures* evaluated, satisfaction with the salesperson achieves the highest score this year.

Understanding Customer Needs Improves Satisfaction

Perceived pressure decreases when sales consultants establish a business relationship and understand customer needs. Among buyers whose salesperson asked them questions to determine their vehicle needs, only 21% perceive some or too much pressure from dealer sales staff, compared with 32% among those whose salesperson did not ask questions about their needs who perceive some or too much pressure. Continue reading ›

Online Ratings/Review Sites, Social Networking Sites Influence Dealer Selection

Chris Sutton

New-vehicle buyers, 80% of which use the Internet during the shopping process, are much more likely to use an online ratings/review site than a social networking site to select a dealer, according to our 2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study. Yet, our study finds that satisfaction with the dealership experience is significantly higher among new-vehicle buyers who consult social networking sites than among those new-vehicle buyers who use ratings/review sites.

For years, a majority of new-vehicle buyers have accessed the Internet to research model information, vehicle features, configurations and pricing. However, this year’s study also finds that nearly one-third consult online ratings/review sites. These neutral online ratings/review sites are playing a key role in whether a buyer will be willing to visit a dealership. Continue reading ›

Lower Monthly Payments, Easier Financing Terms Boost New Vehicle Deals

Thomas King

More new-vehicle buyers are financing their purchases as car prices continue to rise. This year through August, well over one-half (59%) of new-vehicle buyers took out a loan, which is up from 53% in 2007, according to our Power Information Network® (PIN) retail transaction data.

Through August this year, the average monthly loan payment on a car fell to $462, which is down from 5 years ago (2007), when the average monthly payment was $483. Yet, the average new-vehicle transaction price has risen to $28,096 this year. Five years ago, PIN data recorded an average new-vehicle transaction price of $26,558. This represents an increase of almost 6%.

Leasing, which also has become more affordable as the cost of borrowing falls, accounted for more than one-fifth, or 21%, of transactions through August this year, up slightly from 20% in 2007. Our expectation is that the lease mix will be similar to current levels into 2013. However, since overall retail demand is expected to rise, so will the number of lease sales. In addition, we anticipate that fleet volumes will increase heading into 2013. Continue reading ›

One in Five Digital Auto Shoppers Use a Smartphone or Tablet for Research

Arianne Walker

As the proliferation of mobile devices continues to rise in the United States and globally,* it’s no surprise that one in five new-vehicle buyers who use the Internet to shop for a new car or light truck use their tablets and smartphones to conduct research, according to our 2012 New Autoshopper Study, which is based on an online survey of nearly 12,300 purchasers and lessees of 2010 to 2012 model-year vehicles.

Overall, a majority (79%) of new-vehicle buyers use the Internet (termed Automotive Internet Users, or AIUs) to research their vehicle purchase. Nearly one-third (30%) of AIUs use several devices, including desktop PCs, smartphones and/or tablets. In fact, 20% of AIUs use a smartphone to gather information while shopping for a new vehicle, and 18% use a tablet. Continue reading ›

A Wide Array of Brands Produce Models that Delight Their Owners

David Amodeo

A baker’s dozen of nameplates produce models that earn the highest scores in their segments in each of the award categories in our 2012 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

Chevrolet receives three of the 22 segment awards—the most of any nameplate in the 2012 APEAL Study—and also the most APEAL awards for the General Motors flagship brand since 1997. Chevrolet models that receive segment awards include two small models and one large pickup: the Avalanche, Sonic and Volt.

Seven more nameplates included in the study each receive two segment awards for models with the highest index scores in their categories. In alphabetical order, the nameplates with top-ranked models in two segments are: Audi, Dodge, Ford, Kia, Mini, Nissan, and Porsche. Also receiving highest-ranking model awards at the segment level for one model each are: BMW, Infiniti, Land Rover, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen. Continue reading ›