By on November 14, 2014

2015 Mercedes-Benz C400 front

Another day, another customer survey. This time, it’s J.D. Power with its annual Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with those surveyed placing Mercedes-Benz at the top of the podium.

AutoGuide reports the German premium brand scored 726 out of 1,000 points as far as how pleasurable the car-buying experience turned out. Taking the gold among the mainstream brands, MINI scored 727 out of 1,000, marking the fifth straight year the BMW brand took the top spot on the podium.

Infiniti, Jaguar — last year’s top finisher — Lexus and Porsche round out the premium top five, while Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Fiat did the same among mass-market brands.

As far as the overall car-buying experience is concerned, J.D. Power found an improvement of 12 points among mass-market brands, and a 16-point improvement among premium brands. The main factor for both sides was a knowledgeable sales representative who could understand a customer’s needs, especially with more “tech-heavy” offerings on the lot and in the showroom, per vice president of the automotive retail practice, Chris Sutton.

This year’s survey collected 29,805 responses from those who bought or leased a new vehicle between April and May of this year.

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63 Comments on “Mercedes-Benz Tops In J.D. Power Satisfaction Survey...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    J D Power is the Consumer Reports of of automotive testing, rating and unbiased reporting

    irony/sarcasm

    • 0 avatar
      BMWnut

      Yeah. This proves that taking delivery of a brand new Mercedes-Benz is a pleasant experience. And that only small things fell off int the first few months. Who would have known?

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        I wonder if that great customer service applies to the repair dept where most the clients will be spending their time as part of the great Mercedes ownership experience.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Explain how CR is biased, pls.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Explain how an Accord is sporty

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          Hey!!!

          Ouch…. #carressesAccordCoupe

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          Well the ones I had had DWB up front and multi links in the back. Also had that low shoulder line and sub 3000 lb curb weights. All of em were either on Koni Yellows or Tokico Illuminas and one had a Prelude DOHC VTEC engine with a Quaife LSD. Steering feel was excellent, shift feel/quality was damn near S2000-esque on the better ones, visibility was phenomenal, handling was phenomenal with so much feel through the wheel. Super fun and very practical. I loved the hell out of those cars.

          Don’t forget the Accord Euro/Type-Rs as well as that BTCC Accord from the 90s with the reversed cylinder head (the… “PRELUDE”… to the K series engine). In the 90s Accords were sporty as hell.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You almost… made it…

            “In the 90s Accords were sporty as hell.”

            LOLZ, not while I’m eating please!

          • 0 avatar
            SatelliteView

            I just love it how it had “….DOHC VTEC engine”.

            WOW!!! dual overhead camshafts???!!!! Variable valve timing????!!! Is it also fuel injected? You are the MAN!!!

            Accord is a “firewood” in comparison to german structure engineering.

            Here:

            EuroCarBody 2013 – the winner

            1st Place: Mercedes-Benz S-Class

            2nd Place: BMW i3

            EuroCarBody Awards 2012!

            Ranking

            1. Mercedes-Benz SL
            2. Audi A3

            Reusults for 2011:

            Hyundai i40
            Audi A6
            Mercedes-Benz B-Class
            BMW 1 Series
            Mazda CX-5

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    April Fool’s in November?

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    People love their Benzes.

    This we know, this is not news.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    A survey of owners who bought new, after owning the car for 3 years, would be a thousand times more useful.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    This shows that dealership experience is a significant part of the premium experience.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Absolutely. The dealers in my town really put a lot into there dealerships. Free Starbucks, breakfast and lunch served. Unlimited car washes. I guess they make the dealerships are comfortable because they know there customers are going to be spending a lot of time waiting for their vehicles. Ex: a co worker bought a gla three weeks ago. He has been back twice already for issues. But he can’t stop talking about how nice the dealership is.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        jesus. not tryin to chase stats so i can ‘prove’ benzes are HORRIBLEST but twice in three weeks is hard to take.

        and then it dawned on me. what better place to perform your class status than the dealership? it’s hard to know your position in the real world, especially if you drive a cla. it’s easy at the dealership. that might be it.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    B-b-b-but how??????

    Mercedes don’t come with stickshift!

    Mercedes don’t come with Brembo Brakes™!

    Mercedes aren’t track focused or tuned!

    Mercedes don’t make brown diesel stickshift wagons in the US!

    What POSSIBLE reason could ANYONE find to be SATISFIED with a MERCEDES?

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      The internal satisfaction that they made just enough to get financed for a Mercedes and they are soooooooooo happy.

      Maybe that has something to do with it.

      And MB Dealers do bend over backwards, for the most part. They want you to come back and buy again.

      “It’s not just the car… it’s the experience”.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        So it couldn’t possibly be that they actually like and enjoy the cars, could it?

        You really mean to tell me everyone buying Benzes is leveraged to the hilt and just concerned with image? Show proof pls.

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          I do genuinely believe that YES, most folks who buy MB’s buy it for image.

          Absolutely.

          Proof?

          How can you prove such?

          • 0 avatar
            jmo

            They couldn’t just buy it because it’s a nice luxurious car?

            Or is it that anyone who buys a car nicer than an Accord only forst it for image?

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “So it couldn’t possibly be that they actually like and enjoy the cars, could it?”

          The survey results don’t have much to do with the cars. It’s a measure of Sales Satisfaction, as in the Buying Experience at the dealer, not satisfaction with the vehicle itself.

          From J.D. Power:

          The J.D. Power 2014 Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM provides a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience from the customer perspective. The study measures the ability of dealerships to manage the sales process, from product presentation and price negotiation to the finance and insurance process and final delivery. The study provides insights into customer needs and expectations and provides recommendations for improving the sales process.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      You can buy a Mercedes with everything on your list except the stickshift.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I won’t re-hash the limited utility inherent to JD Powers surveys (I’ve done so in the past), but suffice it to say that it’s almost a parody of the survey industry writ large, at this point, and seemingly exists as a trophy dispensing organization to allow automakers promotional material to use in advertisements.

    Infinity?

    O RLY.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Who would buy from a dealer that didn’t give you good service?

  • avatar
    slance66

    Dealer experience matters. In my shopping last year, the Audi guys were unbearably arrogant and obnoxious (at two dealers). The MB guy was nice, but also arrogant. Land Rover and Acura were by far the most accommodating and pleasant. But I’m told MB dealers treat MB owners very well, and I wasn’t one.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Completely agree. Honestly, some of the worst experiences I’ve had in 20+ yrs of car shopping have been Toyota dealers. I’ve come to expect an attitude of “the cars sell themselves,” and you’re expected to be ready to deal or not. One time in particular really stood out, when a Toyota dealer closest to me was fairly busy and using a “take a number” system, with no coffee, no seating, no nothing while you waited. Scr3w you, I’m not here to buy cold cuts. I left and drove to the next town over, which was marginally better.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        sproc, you are so right about the Toyota dealer experience! My brothers were Toyota dealers and I urged them to instill a sense of humility in their arrogant sales staffs at all the dealerships they owned. Some sales associates did listen, others didn’t. The ones who listened usually closed sales without follow-up calling.

        But I will say that as a Toyota convert since 2008, I believe I have found a way to develop a relationship with a dealer by getting to know the owners and sales managers.

        I started with a 2008 Highlander, bought in July of 2008, which we still have, came back to order a 2011 Tundra 5.7 in Dec 2010, which we still have, and then came back again in Sept 2014 to buy a 2015 Sequoia.

        Each time they saw me at the same dealership, I bypassed the sales staff and went directly for the sales manager or owners under the pretense to say ‘hi’ and BS for a few minutes.

        Inevitably, when I asked the question of the salesmanager or owner, “how are sales?”, they would reply with, “better if you buy something today.” And it was a breeze from that point on.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    JD Power rankings are fatally flawed, luxury automakers are always going to score really high regardless of the actual quality of the product when the metric is something like “sales satisfaction.”

    I’m sure the entire sales experience is quite pleasant when you’re willing to buy a $70,000 vehicle. All a manufacturer has to do to goose their ranking is probably put a barista in the sales lobby.

    Consumer Reports is far better measure of the actual vehicle reliability, they collect the service records of participating owners. It’s not about the emotional experience and warm fuzzies.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    My first reaction to this headline was WTF? due to Mercedes-Benz’ recent history of poor reliability and epic repair costs.
    But then I read the body and realized it was dealer sales experience and not initial quality. That M-B, Lexus, Jaguar et al were tops in dealer experience makes perfect sense since luxury brands are the least likely to operate on the “stealership” model of screwing over the customer and also the most likely to be policed by an image conscious manufacturer.

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    I hate to crash your Mercedes Benz-hatefest, folks, but MB actually does make very reliable cars (again).

    In Germany, most of the taxis (cabs, as you’d call ’em in the New World:-)) are MB’s E-classes. Whenever I take a taxi here, I ask the driver about their car and how reliable they are (the cars, not the drivers). All drivers tell me that the current-generation E-class is a true MB again, bullet-proof and extremely dependable when properly and regularly maintained, and noticeably better than the old E-class built until, I believe, 2008 or so. And these guys put 100,000 kilometers on their cars in just 2 to 3 years.

    I don’t know about the other models MB makes, but given their still-stellar reputation in the automotive world, they’d be really foolish to risk that reputation by making sub-par, unreliable cars.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “…they’d be really foolish to risk that reputation by making sub-par, unreliable cars.”

      It’s happened before but I do think they learned their lesson. I know this is anecdotal but about 7 years ago a very good friend of mine leased a GL Class. That truck had numerous problems for the life of the lease. He couldn’t wait to give it back.

      He’s had an S Class for the past three years or so and is very happy with it. He and his wife have always loved Mercedes going back to when his dad had one and we were playing Little League together.

    • 0 avatar
      ex007

      PriusV16 – Couldn’t disagree more. Just traded in my ’11 E550 4Matic. Had the car for 37 months. During the last 30 months of ownership I had to have the following replaced: air shocks, front struts, all interior wood trim, brake rotors and pads. Not how I would define reliable. It was, in fact, the most unreliable car I’ve owned.

      My wife’s ’12 ML 350 Bluetec has left her stranded because of a software malfunction and she has just had two major oil leaks that required removal of the transmission and 12 days in the shop. Upon leaving the shop, the transmission light flashed on within two hours, requiring another software reboot. Again not what I would define as reliable.

      I’ve moved on from Mercedes and will not look back. My wife’s car is still under warranty for another 12 months. That’s the only reason it is still in our garage. I can’t imagine it will last beyond the warranty period.

      So much for MB reliability…

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        ex007, my wife’s brother-in-law, a practicing attorney and avid lover of all things automotive, recently switched from his decades-old 450SEL to a full-pop Lexus LS460.

        I suspect he has been reading the M-B owners blogs, and like you, has moved on from Mercedes.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Mercedes’ air suspension is terrible, and I would always tell anyone to avoid Airmatic if possible. The 642 engine, as I have mentioned several times is also awful. You will not get an argument from me on those two. You do realize that brakes are a wear item right? I also would like to know what the transmission light is.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      I would distance what German cities use for taxis from the fluff that is sold in North America.

      MB’s tractor-like diesel engines are bulletproof. You can also bet that the taxis don’t have things like real leather seats, wood trim, air suspension, etc. Those cars are spec’d to last, just like any other model of car used for taxi service.

      My mother’s 2007 ML and 2011 GLK have been reliable, but her 2002 ML was notably less so. My friend’s 2001 S430 was similarly poorly built; wood trim peeled and electronics would fry throughout the since-new ownership. The late-90s to mid-2000s were the dark ages for MB reliability, but fortunately things seem to have turned around.

      Mums sure loves her three-pointed star, though.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    What’s next, JD Power’s “Image Satisfaction Survey”?

    “Leasing…….errr, owning your brand of vehicle makes you feel:

    A) successful
    B) better than your friends who drive other brands of car
    C) like you’ve made it
    D) baller
    E) all of the above.”

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    Edit to my above comment: I also happen to know two other MB owners, one young lady with a new SLK (leased), an elderly gentleman with a last-gen C-class (paid in cash for it). Normal use in bioth cases, around 10,000 to 15,000 kilometers per year. Both are reporting no problems so far.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    Am i missing something or is hsi story incomplete? How old were thsoe cars? I know JD has a 90-day study. Meaning how satisfied are owners after 90 days.

    This should be clarified what data we are looking at.

    which is totally pointless. Halleluja, a car is very durable and reliable… it didn’t’ have problems in the first 90 days.

    Only a German manufacturer would be proud of the first 90 days trouble-free. for us normal people 9 years trouble-free is when i start to get excited.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      This survey is more related to the sales process than the actual car.

      • 0 avatar
        HerrKaLeun

        thanks for clarifying, hubcap.
        so it basically tells that Mercedes sales people and the sales process are good? Nothing about the product? What is the point then? sure the sales transaction is somewhat important, but not as important as the product. Especially for new cars the dealer can’t swindle me in a car with hidden defects etc. like with used ones.

  • avatar
    TW5

    Nothing says “satisfaction” like appearing wealthier as you empty your bank account.

  • avatar
    Bearadise

    “…This year’s survey collected 29,805 responses from those who bought or leased a new vehicle between April and May of this year.” That’s strange, none of my calendars show that there’s anything between April and May.

  • avatar
    JGlanton

    Mercedes is doing something right. I know a few Mercedes owners that never talk about their cars, but they go on and on about the dealer perks. Free espresso, valet service, airport shuttle, car washes, seats and perks at the Mercedes booth at the Auto Show… they feel like special important people and it keeps them buying cars.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    Over the past seven years, my best experiences are with Porsche, Audi, Mini. I’ve owned (never leased) 37 different cars including 7 Benzes. The last Benz experience was to take delivery of the first CLS in a city of 200k. It wasn’t bad, but the service experience was so friggin terrible, (just service, not repair) I’ll not return to that dealer which also sold the BMW Z4 I purchased with similar poor experience.

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