Which Automakers Gave New Car Buyers Sweet Satisfaction? Hint: Not FCA

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
which automakers gave new car buyers sweet satisfaction hint not fca

J.D. Power & Associates has released its sales satisfaction index, and there’s a familiar tri-shield insignia gracing the top honors. There were also a slew of stinkers we are gradually growing accustomed to seeing on the bottom any list denoting some form of quality.

Buick topped the mass-market section of J.D. Power’s most recent sales satisfaction stud y with 809 out of a possible 1,000 points. General Motors’ not-so-luxurious luxury brand was trailed by Mini, Chevrolet, and GMC. Subaru and Volkswagen tied for fifth place with 775 points apiece. Mini had been J.D. Powers’ previous industry leader for sales satisfaction from 2010 onwards.

In the actual luxury segment, Porsche was out in front with 824 points. Infiniti came in second with 815, followed by Mercedes-Benz. BMW and Cadillac were tied with 807 and just ahead of Lincoln’s 806 points.

While Porsche’s win may not come as too big of a surprise, Buick’s performance was a little less expected. However, the company’s recent accolades at Consumer Reports and immense popularity overseas don’t make this seem like a staggering impossibility either.

Similarly to Consumer Reports’ Reliability Rankings, Buick’s impressive showing was mirrored by Fiat Chrysler brands rounding out the bottom of the list. Jeep, Dodge, and Ram were the three lowest-ranked brands on the satisfaction index. For luxury brands, Acura was the worst performer. However, it is worth mentioning that even the lowest scoring Ram still received a score of 733, which isn’t terribly far from the mass-market average of 764.

The U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study measures overall satisfaction of the sales experience for new vehicle buyers and rejecters. J.D. Power says its metric of “buyer satisfaction” is based upon working out the deal, experience with the salesperson, delivery process, and quality of the facility. “Rejecter satisfaction” is based on the experience had with the salesperson, perceived fairness of price, experience negotiating, inventory, and the quality of the facility. Overall, buyer satisfaction is more heavily weighted than rejecter satisfaction.

Some interesting takeaways from the study included an indication that older customers were easier to please than their younger counterparts, and that the telephone has remained a viable shopping tool. While most buyers used the internet at some point during their purchase, almost half also used the telephone, and those that did retained a higher satisfaction rate overall.

J.D. Power also found consumers gave higher satisfaction scores when engaging with sales people or product specialists that helped them understand vehicle technologies. Owners who worked with both a salesperson and product specialist tended to be more satisfied with the overall experience than those who dealt only with a salesperson.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Amazing Red Kitty Amazing Red Kitty on Nov 13, 2016

    The best experience is usually with a small town dealer that has to keep a good reputation to stay in business. I bought a car from a Honda dealer in Orlando and the experience was awful. I took a test drive in the car I went to look at, told the salesman up front I was paying cash and he still pulled the 4 square on me. After what seemed like his 20 trips to the "sales manager's" office we finally struck a deal. The F&I guy put me through the ringer and they delivered the car without washing it. It was about a 3 1/2 hour ordeal. I've dealt with three dealers in my little home town of about 40,000 people, if you count the farmers up the road. All three dealers were great. The FAC dealer for parts, the Ford dealer for a Ranger, and most recent purchase was a Civic coupe. The local Honda dealer was the total opposite of the Orlando store. I stopped by and looked at the car one day because it caught my eye, told the salesman I wasn't ready to buy today and there was zero pressure to find out "what it would take for me to drive home in it today." I went back a few days later and was out of there with the car in an hour & 10 minutes with a smile on my face. The F&I guy offered a warranty, I said, "No thanks", he said "I had to ask" and never offered me another add-on, just a pile of papers to sign. The service department has been great too, except their magazines suck. Even if I move to the city, I'll be buying my cars from a small town dealer.

  • John66ny John66ny on Mar 17, 2017

    Yep, the dealer experience vs. the vehicle experience can be totally disconnected. I have no reason to deal with an FCA dealer so I can't comment on that. I can comment that in 2003 which I bought a MINI Cooper S, the dealer experience was quite satisfactory, almost fun even, although the car turned out be somewhat on the unreliable side (but fun to drive, I must say). A 2007 visit to a Subaru dealership was painful (they started out by selling me a car that was already sold) but I'm loving the 05 Legacy GT wagon to this day (but it's being serviced elsewhere!)

  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
  • SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?
  • El scotto My iPhone gets too hot while using the wireless charging in my BMW. One more line on why someone is a dumbazz list?
  • Buickman yeah, get Ron Fellows each time I get a Vette. screw Caddy.
  • Dusterdude The Detroit 2.5 did a big disservice by paying their CEO’s so generously ( overpaying them ) It is a valid talking point for for the union ) However , the bottom line - The percentage of workers in the private sector who have a defined benefit pension plan is almost non existent - and the reason being is it’s unaffordable ! . This is a a huge sticking point as to have lower tier workers join would be prohibitive ( aside from other high price demands being requested - ie >30% wage gain request ) . Do the math - can a company afford to pay employees for 35 years , followed by funding a pension for a further 30 years ?