By on December 16, 2020

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]

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20 Comments on “Satisfaction in a Lincoln or a Mini?...”

  • avatar

    The Lincoln results should inspire GM to continue to whittle down the 800+ Caddy dealers out there. Selling a few Cadillas a year in conjunction with thousands of GMC trucks appears to be an incompatible strategy that is not working for the brand. If Cadillac want to get close to regaining its “Standard of the World” rep, their dealer structure will have to measure up as well.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      They are. Recently, GM announced that Cadillac will probably be an EV-only brand within the next decade, that the dealers will have to invest in hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment in order to sell and service these vehicles, and (most crucially) that there was a generous buyout on offer for any dealer that didn’t want to get on board.

      I imagine quite a few of them will take the buyout.

      • 0 avatar

        In addition to eliminating excess dealers on the cheap, it allows the marque’s volume to shrink considerably while appearing to be the “plan”. The vast majority of dealers should take the buyout, the only ones who could afford not too would be the ones with three or more dealerships under their banner. They have the luxury of sitting back and [presumably] making nice profit on small volume while the bread and butter brands make monthly payroll.

  • avatar

    “Mini ranked the highest among what Power calls mass-market brands.”

    This is some self-contradictory statement. Mini is not a mass market by most measures…

    Wait, I got it. This is sarcasm article – Linc sales are in 70K+. Mini will not hit 30K this year. Mass market…

    The only thing that is good for Mini, you can totally customize your car and in several weeks it will be shipped to you.

  • avatar
    Add Lightness

    If customer want a great sales experience satisfaction while spending $x0,000 on this years transportation appliance, why not blow $500 on a spa for yourself, hire someone to do your negotiating, bring you papers to sign and then deliver the car?
    That sounds like a more enjoyable experience and with the right agent, probably cheaper.
    My most enjoyable sales experience many decades ago were in a very plain building with plywood walls while dealing with a seriously petrolhead salesperson. No glamour or pressure, just lots of cams, carburetors and honest dialogue.

  • avatar

    Shame then that Lincoln now sells nothing but SUVs in size S to XL. I would’ve appreciated a third generation MKZ (Zephyr?) with an interior comparable to what they’ve done with the ’21 Nautilus, but since they’re no longer interested in sedan buyers, I won’t be visiting a Lincoln showroom any time soon.

    • 0 avatar

      “but since they’re no longer interested in sedan buyers”

      um actually buyers aren’t interested in sedans. Don’t you know sitting higher in a vehicle is the new luxury?

    • 0 avatar

      When the latest MKZ came out, the review published here focused on what I consider to be minor points like the unlamented obsession with “DLO fail”’ whatever that was. It completely missed how good a car it is.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes! They absolutely did, especially at the highest trim level. My ‘19 MKZ is my second fully loaded MKZ. I loved my last one, a 2016 3.7L AWD Reserve, and actually signed the papers on my 2019 MKZ without ever having driven it. My request for the sales guy was specific: black on black, AWD 3.0TT Reserve II, with the targa-style roof, Revel Ultima stereo, etc etc.

        I knew I would be happy with it, knew all the specs, but still wasn’t prepared for what an outstanding vehicle this is. It’s an absolute joy to drive. As Car and Driver said of this engine in 2017:
        “This turbo V-6 pulls like a black hole with matter-of-fact power, seamless torque delivery, and flawless manners as the revs build. That output is sent through a six-speed automatic with tightly packed ratios that top out with a direct-drive fifth gear and an easygoing 0.74:1 overdrive sixth. It’s certainly quick, with the 4307-pound MKZ 3.0T whooshing to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds and slurping up the quarter-mile in 13.4 seconds.”

        Many of the sites used by consumers (and journalists) to pull vehicle specs and make comparisons entirely omit specs for this engine, giving data only on the 2.0 I-4 and hybrid even at the Reserve II trim level. is one example of this but there are others. It’s a shame because it’s a great car. I’m sure someday American car lovers will look back and recognize it as one of Lincoln’s better cars.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    So this is really a survey about car dealers, not mfrs.

    Mfrs seem to have a variable amount of influence on their dealers. I’ve had good experiences with my Kia dealer, but not the one closest to my house. My local Honda dealer is terrible, but they keep selling cars.

    I suspect the more you pay, the more you want to spin the experience the experience in a positive light. As Add Lightness says, I’ve had good buying experiences in a plywood building, and terrible ones in gold-plated showrooms. It largely comes down to the integrity of the local dealer.

    As for Tesla stores, I’ve had two or three separate encounters with their stores and/or sales people – all very positive and courteous (none resulting in a sale). They didn’t go in for sleaze or pressure, and by all accounts, they make the buying process very easy. Fixed pricing has an positive effect on the process, too.

  • avatar

    So here’s the thing. If you are one of those people who harp on and on about reliability explain why MINI and Jaguar Lane Rover are doing so well.

    Reliability isn’t the big deal it was. How a car makes you feel is now much more relevant

  • avatar

    “Sales experience satisfaction”? Note this has nothing to do with the quality or reliability of the vehicle. In fact, it has less to do with the quality of the vehicle than the quality of the dealership’s coffee.

  • avatar

    Wow. Lincoln owners must not be very bright. Very problematic vehicles and yet they are satisfied. They realize they’re driving rebadged Fords right?

  • avatar

    Now I am waiting for explanations what these results are totally wrong. EBFlex?

  • avatar

    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!

    • 0 avatar

      “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.

  • avatar


    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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