Car Dealers Make Strides in Satisfying Customers, But Are Still Challenged By Customers’ Increased Focus on Price, J.D. Power Study Finds

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Isuzu Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands In New-Vehicle Sales Satisfaction in Thailand for Second Consecutive Year 

BANGKOK: 30 September 2016 — With declining new-vehicle sales in Thailand, automotive dealers are paying closer attention to their customers, which is resulting in higher customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales experience, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Thailand Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM mass market segment, released today.

As the automotive industry in Thailand suffers its fourth consecutive year of declining sales, automotive dealers are working even harder as they compete for business from a smaller pool of buyers. And customers are appreciating the extra attention they are getting from the dealership, as overall satisfaction with the sales process improves to 811 (on a 1,000-point scale) in 2016 from 801 in 2015. Furthermore, the proportion of delighted customers—those who rate their overall purchase experience 10 (on a 10-point scale)—increases to 22% from 8% a year ago.  

“Dealers overall are doing a great job of enhancing the sales process to delight customers, and they must remain committed to this cause,” said Siros Satrabhaya, country manager at J.D. Power Thailand. “Focusing on price cuts and giveaways to attract customers is not sustainable in the long run. Instead, dealers must work on developing personal connections with their customers so that when the market picks up, they will be better positioned to gain from customers’ repurchase and recommendation activities.”

Customers are increasingly driving a harder bargain, with their pre-shopping research focusing on learning where to get the best deal. The study finds that 58% of customers are using the internet to research their new-vehicle purchase, and two of the three most often searched topics are related to getting the best deal: vehicle pricing (78%); product brochures (60%); and promotions (52%).

Additionally, 51% of all customers indicate receiving discounts and getting additional freebies from their dealer, including accessories (93%); first year of auto insurance (86%); and vehicle service packages (18%). Despite receiving discounts and more freebies, 9% of customers say they paid more than expected for their vehicle, a sharp increase from 2% in 2014.

“To lift satisfaction levels even higher, salespeople who are able to demonstrate how the vehicle is a value-for-money product can help steer customers away from being fixated on the price,” said Satrabhaya. “Understanding their customers, their family profile and their usage needs, along with providing relevant comparisons with competing models are some effective ways to achieve that.”

Now in its 17th year, the study examines six factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with their new-vehicle purchase experience in the mass market segment. In order of impact on overall sales satisfaction, those factors are delivery process (19%); dealer facility (19%); sales initiation (17%); deal (16%); delivery timing (15%); and salesperson (15%). Sales satisfaction performance is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating greater satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales and delivery processes.  

Following are additional key findings of the study: 

  • Shoppers Bypassing Auto Manufacturers’ Websites: When using the internet to research cars for purchase, customers are twice as likely to browse the auto section of consumer/ news website or web portals (78%) as manufacturer websites (37%).
  • Salespeople Handling Vehicle Financing: Nearly two-thirds of the vehicle finance application cases are handled by the salesperson. Overall satisfaction with the deal is higher (801) when the application is handled by the salesperson rather than someone at the dealer’s finance desk (787) or the finance company itself (762).
  • More People Are Sharing Cars: The percentage of customers who share the use of their new vehicle has increased to 46% in 2016 from 36% in 2015. Additionally, 47% of customers say that at least three or more people typically ride in the vehicle, a 5 percentage point increase from 2015.
  • Satisfied Customers Are More Loyal, Provide Recommendations: Among highly satisfied customers (overall satisfaction scores of 910 and higher), 64% say they “definitely would” purchase the same brand of vehicle and 81% say they “definitely would” recommend the brand to family and friends. In contrast, among customers who are highly dissatisfied (scores of 727 and lower), only 38% say they “definitely would” repurchase the same brand and only 49% say they “definitely would” recommend the brand to others. 

Study Rankings

Isuzu ranks highest in sales satisfaction for a second consecutive year, with a score of 822. Isuzu performs particularly well in the sales initiation, dealer facility, deal, salesperson and delivery process factors. Honda and Toyota rank second in a tie, each with 814, while Suzuki ranks fourth with 813.

 The 2016 Thailand Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on responses from 2,560 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from August 2015 through April 2016. The study was fielded from February 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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