By on November 11, 2016

Buick Grille Logo Emblem, Image: General Motors

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 study 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.

porsche logo emblem

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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27 Comments on “Which Automakers Gave New Car Buyers Sweet Satisfaction? Hint: Not FCA...”

  • avatar

    “Jeep, Dodge, and Ram were the three lowest-ranked brands on the satisfaction index.”

    I know all FCA owners on all websites and they’re all happy with their FCA cars. Once more, the media and consumers lie to the magazines, and then the magazines report the lies as truths.

    The people responding to reliability and satisfaction surveys are LYING in giving their responses, only to make FCA look bad, drive down sales, and thus increase their car’s rarity and eventual resale value.


    • 0 avatar

      Ya, I know, Dodge guys can be a little wierd. But anecdotally speaking- I absolutely love my Challenger and Ram and they’ve been problem free (30k and 100k). What can I say?

      I don’t know how Mini is at the top of the list though. This plays into your tinfoil hat depiction of Mopar people, but people seem to have all sorts of issues but still say how much they love them. It’s like ‘how can I be mad when you’re so damn cute’. I don’t think that’s the media though- but I do think owners give some cars a pass when reporting issues because of whatever emotional reason

      • 0 avatar

        Did either of you actually read the article? Looks like, no. Just quick to throw out some good ole snark which is totally unrelated to subject at hand.

        It’s not about being satisfied with the car itself or anything to do with it being reliable, it’s about the sales experience.

        “2016 U.S. SALES Satisfaction Study”

        “The study, now in its 30th year, measures satisfaction with the sales experience among new-vehicle buyers and rejecters—those who shop a dealership and purchase elsewhere. Buyer satisfaction is based on four measures: working out the deal (25%); salesperson (19%); delivery process (16%); and facility (15%). Rejecter satisfaction is based on five measures: salesperson (10%); fairness of price (4%); experience negotiating (4%); facility (3%); and variety of inventory (3%).”

    • 0 avatar

      Honest writing doesn’t sell ads. There’s currently a war against FCA in the press. The hotter it gets, the more people search it rinse repeat.
      Ad revenue.

      There’s lots of cases of this phenomenon. I don’t know how they collect their data. I assume there is real data.
      Maybe it’s people that liked the old Chrysler and Daimler Chrysler junk and don’t like the new ones. I wish we could trust fca’s profit numbers to judge it better, but they’ve ruined that.

  • avatar

    Title is going to leave a lot of folks triggered

    I’m still holding out hope for the Alfetta cannibalizing Giulia based Charger.

  • avatar
    Keith Tomas

    I’ve owned two Chryslers, and both of them sucked. It’s not news that they ranked low.

  • avatar

    Another Chrysler Sucks article. *Yawn* Ok we get it.. Next.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s no longer the Truth about Cars, it’s “Chrysler is the devil and Ford gets a free pass” blog. We need RF back, the truth isn’t something to be afraid of.

      I didn’t have an issue when I bought my Jeep. But bringing it back for a rattle in the door panel and a few other small items, I should get a free loaner. I spent $53K on my Jeep so to tell me that they don’t give loaners and that I would have to rent something from Enterprise was a bit insulting.

      THEN, I get to Enterprise and all they have is a 15 passenger Ford E-Series for me to drive. That’s what pissed me off. I haven’t been back to my dealer since. I found one that is closer and gives loaners.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I guess people hold their noses and buy Jeeps anyway. Since it’s a Jeep thing, I don’t understand.

    • 0 avatar

      You don’t understand amazing value for money and incredible vehicles?

      • 0 avatar

        If you want offroad capability that is true. For anything else, not so much.

        It used to be that a jeep would get you a convertible with a 4l I-6 and a stick shift for half the price of any similar combination elsewhere (maybe not half the price of a mustang convertible >=4l, but still). Just don’t look at the power output (or mileage) of that 4l, or the ride and handling onroad. But back when the I6 was used, absolutely nobody* was willing to put a V6, a manual, and FWD together. RWD was typically luxury only (plus mustangs).

        * there was one exception, but something like 2.5l and no power.

  • avatar

    This might have had some relevance decades ago.
    Today’s reality is that most stores are part of mega groups which pretty much have the same business practices across the board.

    Difficult to believe that Joe Blow BuickGMC will give a much different sales experience than Joe Blow DodgeChryslerRamJeepFiatAlfa, Joe Blow Ford, or Joe Blow Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar

      I know, but Dodge (etc) dealers are somewhat notorious, and if you’re not satisfied with the car as well, that quickly spreads to “letting them have it” anytime a survey pops up.

      They are more likely to employ guys who were let go by Honda or some place for lying to the customer, high-pressure sales tactics or just being a d¡©khead. The FCA dealer, wrestling with ballooning inventory and pressure from the guys in Auborn Hills who are under pressure from Mr. Sweater himself, or whoever reports to him, are desperate to put sales on the board. So, they’ll take what they can get in some cases.

      I’m not saying every FCA dealer is as crooked as a barrel of snakes, but as the big three underdog with “something to prove”, I remember them having this reputation decades ago, even way before Diamler ravaged them.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Buick buyers are more satisfied, and older buyers are more satisfied. There’s got to be a big overlap there.

    Other than that, the brands that cater to people who are scraping the limits of their credit rating score poorly, and the ones who cater to the more well-off score well. That’s not a surprise, financing and haggling are the least pleasant aspects of car shopping.

  • avatar

    These surveys don’t seem to hold much water.

    Dealerships don’t have much to do with corporate. There are good and bad ones across all brands.
    If you’ve ever taken one of these surveys, they’re pretty nuts. Maybe angry idiots buy more Chrysler’s than other cars. Once these articles pop up, people tribally flock to the conventional wisdom. Back a decade ago, mini Cooper’s were spending more time in the shop than on the road, but it was against the owners code to complain. As a Toyota salesman we would see return repurchases in lumps of a dozen a month sometimes. But Toyota buyers don’t like cars. They’d return their Camry that died on the way home from the sales floor and get another one. If they thought about the driving or even sitting experience they’d hate it. I had a real hard time selling Toyotas. Nothing about them but “resale, and frequently reliable”. But that’s all any of my customers cared about. Even the truck buyers. You can’t expect them to think about or even understand a survey about their car. To them, car is car. FCA has some real duds. It has some real winners. Every time I go to the local FCA dealer, they try to get me to sell there. I tell them… Jeeps I can sell, ram I can sell… Dodge and Chrysler? No. How do you sell a caravan with Odyssey and sienna out there. Or a pacifica with any other crossover. In the us they have abarth, 300, wrangler, ram 2500/3500. The rest is not a great choice compared to the competition.

  • avatar

    Everyone so far has failed to see that this survey is about THE SALES EXPERIENCE. Not the car itself.

    This is also one of those situations where the variation between individual dealers is going to dwarf the overall variation between brands. If you want a certain car, spend some time finding the best dealer for it. Unless the car is a Honda or VW, in which case you’re probably screwed.

  • avatar

    I purchased an SRT last summer. Perhaps it was the dealer but it was one of one of the best car purchasing experiences I’ve had. The salesman was low pressure, took my order, ordered my car and kept me posted on the build. We agreed on a price that I thought was fair and the deal was done. He just said “I just want to make sure you get what you want.” Even the after sale guy was low pressure, accepting my “no’s” and moving on. He also got me a super low rate after telling me my FICO score was the highest he’d ever seen. So much for the Dodge subprime buyers, eh?

    As for the car itself, I had no problems in the 4 months that I owned it lol. It did replace a 2012 R/T however which was pretty much trouble free over 3 years and 30k except for a problem with the brakes.

  • avatar
    Lynn Ellsworth

    As many readers above have pointed out the article is about sales experience and customer satisfaction with staff and this is very true in my case.
    I had owned 3 Toyotas in a row and was very satisfied with their reliability but after moving I visited 4 Phoenix Toyota dealers to buy my 4th Toyota and I met awful sales people. One pretended to be a cowboy, one spent the test drive explaining he couldn’t sit very long because of injuries suffered playing pro football (I wanted to drop him off at a nursing home), one yelled like a TV pitchman, one didn’t know my trade in was a Toyota, and one was just arrogant (he probably sold German cars previously) .
    I gave up, waited a year while getting excellent reliability from my 3rd Toyota, and then bought a car from a different manufacture, and from a staff who could explain most of the new electronics.

  • avatar

    To get my G8 serviced I go to the nearby Buick dealer. I stopped in there because I had a low tire in the Avalanche, know they know me, and they check it out for me. I went to the waiting area and I was shocked. A few years ago this was your typical GM waiting gulag. It was all updated, and darn nice.

    The Chevy dealer closest to me has a quick lube shop and I hadn’t been there in over a decade. I couldn’t believe their waiting area. A full on “Starbucks grade” coffee shop in house, comfortable furniture, multiple high grade TVs on different channels, fast free WiFi, better decor than most middle class homes.

    Wait, this is a Chevy, Kia Mazda dealer?!?!?

    Was so impressed with their quick change (I had no time, my regular mechanic left the shop I was going to and I don’t trust his replacement, and I would push my vehicles past a Jiffy Lube) and learned they will do any vehicle, I’m going to start taking the whole motor pool there. Heck, even get a free car wash as part of the oil change.

    • 0 avatar

      You’re describing my experience at the Chevy dealer I bought my Silverado form. The waiting room is very nice as you describe. The service I receive there is impeccable. The GMC dealer I bought my wife’s Terrain from even has some iPads available for guests to entertain themselves with and a separate area with toys for kids to play with.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    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!)

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