Satisfaction in a Lincoln or a Mini?

Jason R. Sakurai
by Jason R. Sakurai
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satisfaction in a lincoln or a mini

Lincoln and Mini are the top-rated brands in sales experience satisfaction, according to J.D. Power. Lincoln ranked the highest in sales satisfaction among luxury brands, and Mini ranked the highest among what Power calls mass-market brands.

In the luxury ranks, Lincoln topped Lexus and Mercedes-Benz by a point, with both tied at 826. Among the masses, Mini scored 824 to GMC’s 804, and Buick’s 803.

Profiled for the first time, Tesla, which is not officially ranked among brands because it doesn’t meet ranking criteria for larger car companies, received a score of 804. Tesla didn’t allow J.D. Power to survey owners in 15 states, although its score was based on owner surveys from the other 35 states. It’s possible owners in those 15 states that Tesla skipped would have had derogatory comments that would have led to a significantly lower score for Tesla, although we can’t say for certain.

The J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is a yardstick used to measure sales experience satisfaction among new car buyers and those who shop at one dealership and then buy elsewhere, referred to as ‘rejecters’. Power uses six factors to judge buyer satisfaction: 28 percent on the delivery process; 21 percent dealership personnel; 19 percent negotiating and deal-making; 19 percent paperwork completion; 10 percent on the dealership’s facilities; and four percent on the dealership’s website. Rejecters are based on five criteria: 28 percent salesperson; 27 percent price; 18 percent negotiation; 14 percent dealership facility; and 13 percent inventory variety.

Based on 35,816 responses from those who purchased or leased a new vehicle from January-June 2020, the study was conducted from July -October 2020. Redesigned for 2020 to accentuate digital retail and remote buying, the study is in its 35th year. Retail activities included the ability to select a vehicle from inventory, receive credit approval, review F&I products, agree on a purchase price, and complete the purchase paperwork, all digitally. The pandemic’s onset did cause a spike which declined in May-June but remained up almost 50 percent from January. COVID-19 shutdowns slowed showroom traffic and aided the adoption of remote selling, the study said.

“The pandemic allowed dealers to use different approaches to sell vehicles outside of the traditional showroom sales process,” said Chris Sutton, J.D. Power’s vice president of automotive retail. Sutton said that 44% of online shoppers are now selecting vehicles from a dealer’s inventory online, a 13 percent increase from January of this year. “The more shoppers are exposed to online buying options, the more they may prefer these methods in the future over traditional showroom visits.”

In the study, nearly one in four buyers say their purchase experience during the pandemic will make them less likely to shop in person in the future, indicating that the data confirmed what the firm alluded to initially. Still, this reiterates the need for an in-person shopping experience for the vast majority of new car buyers, more than 75 percent who like me, enjoy test drives and the new car smell. Until they figure out how to do either of these things digitally, a dealership is still the place to go and buy.

[Image: Mini]

Jason R. Sakurai
Jason R. Sakurai

With a father who owned a dealership, I literally grew up in the business. After college, I worked for GM, Nissan and Mazda, writing articles for automotive enthusiast magazines as a side gig. I discovered you could make a living selling ad space at Four Wheeler magazine, before I moved on to selling TV for the National Hot Rod Association. After that, I started Roadhouse, a marketing, advertising and PR firm dedicated to the automotive, outdoor/apparel, and entertainment industries. Through the years, I continued writing, shooting, and editing. It keep things interesting.

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Dec 17, 2020

    I never got J D Power's wowee super-duper can-you-believe-it "surveys". On the other hand, despite the usual carping commenters here have about them, I do believe Consumer Reports vehicle reviews and reliability ratings. CR actually buys their cars, and frankly, give a much better idea of them than the borrow for the weekend, or I was flown to Tulsa to spend two hours in the Rockclimber SUV style of reviews that TTAC and virtually everyone else these days solemnly call reviews. CR even has their own road circuit and testing facilities. Most outfits have a lurid imagination instead, or specialize in rewriting press releases. The recent Mach-E reviews highlight my point. Useless. Much like J D Power's rubbish, carefully crafted to give every "subscriber" something to highlight in their advertising, nothing more. How many J D Power surveys are there? Here we're supposed to believe Lincoln and MINI are wonderful, and yet the CR brand reliability results from last month put these monumental piles of manufacturing rubbish at the bottom of the heap. So the buying experience was great? Whoopee doo. Someone has to grease the skids for unloading this stuff on the public. That Lincoln trim molding askew? Look sir, you can just give it a tweak like this, see, and its straightened right up!

    • Ajla Ajla on Dec 17, 2020

      "So the buying experience was great? Whoopee doo." Some people care about this metric. This wasn't a brand reliabity survey. Why knock it for something it wasn't designed to do? JD Power does do a 3-year vehicle dependability survey if that is all you care about and that generally does track pretty close to CR.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Dec 17, 2020

    @Jason, When we say things like "44% of online shoppers are now selecting vehicles from a dealer’s inventory online, a 13 percent increase from January of this year," Serious Decision Makers at Big Serious Car Companies can't take us seriously, which really means they have an easy excuse for dismissing our Very Valid and Important Input (which if taken seriously might occasionally Save Their Big Important Asses From Perpetual Decline And The Odd Bankruptcy). If the figure in January was 31% and the current figure is 44% we refer to that as "a 13 percentage point increase" or "up by 13 p.p." or similar. We must include the "percentage point" terminology, because just "percent" isn't technically correct. Seems trivial and anal, but this is the way it's done. (Your editor should've told you.)

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