Vehicle Buyers Primarily Focused on Price Are Less Satisfied, J.D. Power Study Finds

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Mazda Ranks Highest in Sales Satisfaction in Australia

MELBOURNE: 20 Sept. 2016 — Almost a third (31%) of all new-vehicle buyers choose a dealer based on receiving the best deal or the lowest price, but in doing so, customers shortchange themselves by missing out on a rewarding sales experience, according to the inaugural J.D. Power Australia Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM released today.

The study examines six factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience (in order of importance): salesperson (19%); deal (18%); delivery timing (17%); delivery process (17%); dealer facility (16%); and sales initiation (14%). Sales satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.

There is significant disparity in satisfaction levels when examining different motivations behind customers’ choices of their dealer. Among customers who choose their dealer based on getting a good deal, overall satisfaction is 812, which is 5 points below industry average. Additionally, the study finds that 20% of all customers choose a dealer based on its proximity to their home or workplace. Satisfaction among these customers is only 788.

In contrast, satisfaction scores are higher when customers choose a dealer because they know someone there (853) or because the dealer has a good reputation (839).

“Customers who make the effort to find out more about their dealer stand to benefit from a better shopping experience,” said Mohit Arora, regional vice president at J.D. Power. “While it is important that customers receive a good deal from their dealer, the monetary savings they receive is momentary. It is far more gratifying for the customer to have the support of a reliable sales dealer in what may be the beginning of a long-term relationship—a relationship that also benefits the dealer, as the customer may recommend or even buy again from the same dealership in the future.”

The study also finds that even though six in 10 customers have already decided on the vehicle they want to buy, it is still beneficial for them to ask their salesperson to make comparisons with other models. More than half the time, salespeople do not proactively offer to make relevant comparisons if customers do not ask for it. Satisfaction is 30 points higher among customers who request this information from their salesperson than among those who do not (837 vs. 807, respectively).

“Customers in Australia conduct a massive amount of research while shopping, but they still need someone to help them through the information overload,” said Loi Truong, senior country manager at J.D. Power. “Salespeople who proactively offer model comparisons convey concern for their customers to purchase a vehicle best suited to their needs, thereby increasing their level of satisfaction with the shopping process.”

Following are additional findings of the 2016 study:

  • Customers in Australia Are Information Gatherers: More than 8 in 10 (84%) customers indicate they check the internet during the shopping process. Nearly half (45%) of them indicate they search and verify information while at a dealership. However, even when armed with extensive research, customers rely on their salesperson’s recommendation, which improves satisfaction. Overall satisfaction is higher among customers who rely on their salesperson’s recommendation than among those who depend on websites (842 vs. 817, respectively).
  • Customers Should Be Wary of Verbal Price Quotes: Satisfactionamong the 32% of customers receiving verbal price quotes from their salesperson is only 802, compared with 856 among those receiving quotes on a computer or tablet.
  • Explanations of Vehicle Features at/after Delivery Are Critical: Nearly 15% of customers indicate they were not provided with explanations of their vehicle features either at or after vehicle delivery. Satisfaction among these customers is a significant 134 points lower than among those who were provided with explanations.
  • Loyalty and Advocacy Linked to Sales Satisfaction: Among highly satisfied customers (overall satisfaction scores of 924 and higher), 83% say they “definitely would” purchase the same brand of vehicle and 88% say they “definitely would” recommend the brand to family and friends. In contrast, among customers who are highly dissatisfied (scores of 743 and lower), only 31% say they “definitely would” repurchase the same brand and recommend the brand to others.

Study Rankings

Among the 12 brands ranked in the study, Mazda ranks highest in new-vehicle sales satisfaction in Australia, with a score of 840. Mazda performs well in all factors, particularly in the delivery process factor. Hyundai and Honda are tied at second (832), followed by Toyota in fourth (825).

The 2016 Australia Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 2,477 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles from September 2015 through June 2016. The study was fielded from March through June 2016.

Media Relations Contacts

Xingti Liu; J.D. Power; Singapore; 65-6733 8980; xingti.liu@jdpower.com.sg

John Tews; J.D. Power; Troy, Michigan, USA; 001-248-680-6218; john.tews@jdpa.com

About J.D. Power in the Asia Pacific Region

J.D. Power has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Malaysia and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries in the Asia Pacific region. Together, the six offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. Information regarding J.D. Power and its products can be accessed through the internet at asean-oceania.jdpower.com.

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Media Contacts

Troy, Michigan
(248) 680-6218
Singapore (Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Vietnam and Philippines)
+65 65976151

J.D. Power Ratings

For additional J.D. Power ratings data, please visit www.jdpower.com/cars and www.jdpower.com/ratings.