Edmunds Confused by J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Results
J.D. Power has released its latest Sales Satisfaction Index Study results. And once again, some people are confused by what this survey measures. Edmunds: “In an unusual twist, many Asian brands — including Honda, Toyota, Scion, Subaru, Suzuki, Hyundai and Mazda — ranked below the industry-average customer satisfaction score in the study, despite gaining market share over domestic vehicles.” Shock! Horror! How can customer satisfaction with the triumphant Japanese be below average? Because this survey has nothing to do with the car, and everything to do with the dealer. As in past years, the differences between the scores is small. Nearly every mainstream brand falls within 20 points of the average on a 1,000-point scale; the difference between the top and the bottom is less than 1,000 points. The most surprising result– also not news– the average car dealer scores 857 out of 1,000. Think of it this way: if car dealers are so good, and the average level of satisfaction is so high, then why do most people prefer root canal surgery to visiting a car dealer? [ED: By the same token, why doesn’t Anita Lienert read TTAC?]
[Michael Karesh runs TrueDelta, a TTAC data provider]
In my experience, the Japanese brand dealers have actually gotten better in recent years. Anyone else remember the years of the "voluntary" import restrictions, when you had to get on a wait list for a Honda and beg them to sell you a car? Honda and Toyota dealers were incredibly arrogant during those years. To get a taste of this, visit just about any dealer when they have an especially hot product, and ask to drive it.
This is the tale of one man, but I've also noticed that over the past few years I've been treated better at the domestic dealerships. The sales folks seem friendlier and more eager. Maybe they figured out that they have to put effort into the sales since these cars don't sell themselves as easily as a Civic or Corolla does. The parts area in domestic dealers is different, at least around Detroit. The old timers back there act like I've interrupted their smoke breaks or something when I go to buy parts. Anyway, the worst treatment I've ever received at a dealership was from our local Acura folks in Troy. This was a few years ago when the styling on those cars wasn't so controversial and they were selling well.
Michael, Not to nitpick, but if it truly is a 1,000 point scale, it stands to reason that the difference between the top and bottom is less than 1,000. How much less?