Despite a pronounced lack of new-vehicle inventory, overall sales satisfaction in the automotive category remains unchanged from a year ago, per J.D. Power.
Overall sales satisfaction remains at 789 points on a 1,000-point scale, according to the J.D. Power 2021 Sales Satisfaction Index Study, released today.
Satisfaction with dealers where buyers purchased their vehicle increases 2 points to 841, while satisfaction with rejected dealers declines 6 points to 632.
Porsche ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among premium brands with a score of 833. Infiniti (825) ranks second, followed by Lexus (820), Cadillac (814) and Lincoln (813).
GMC ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among mass-market brands, with a score of 812. Buick (806) ranks second, followed by Chevrolet (804), Dodge (796) and Nissan (795).
Brands showing the greatest improvement in satisfaction scores year over year are Jeep (+24), Chevrolet (+17) and Dodge (+17).
The buyer satisfaction increase is buoyed by buyers receiving more money for their trade-in than they expected at the time of new-vehicle purchase, according to the study.
However, satisfaction among vehicle buyers significantly decreased year over year in the inventory-related factors for website (-14 points) and at the dealership facility (-16 points).
Manufacturers struggling most with inventory shortages are losing shoppers to competitors. The higher percentages of shoppers rejecting a brand due to inventory shortages are most prevalent among domestic truck brands: Ram (37%); GMC (36%); Chevrolet (35%); and Dodge (33%).
Genesis has the highest percentage of rejecters (39%) among all brands because dealerships didn’t have the exact vehicle they wanted, which is 14 percentage points above the industry average of 25%.
“The good news for dealers is that 78% of rejecters who reject a dealership due to inventory shortages indicate they will consider the dealership for future vehicle purchases. In other words, they’re not blaming the retailer for an inability to find their new vehicle,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power, in a release.
Remote buyers are more satisfied with digital retailing. The study finds that, among those buyers who are willing and able to purchase their vehicle without having to physically visit their selling dealer, satisfaction is much higher in both the premium and mass-market segments than among those buyers who go to the dealership.
“The ‘Amazon effect’ of seeing, buying and having a product delivered to your doorstep has made its way into vehicle buying and it is here to stay,” Sutton said.
Tesla’s unofficial score improved from 2020, with an SSI score of 815, an increase from its unofficial score of 804 a year ago. The automaker is not officially ranked among other brands in the study because it doesn’t meet ranking criteria. Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla doesn’t grant J.D. Power permission to survey its owners in the 15 states where it is required. However, Tesla’s score was calculated based on a sample of surveys from owners in the other 35 states.
Now in its 36th year, the study 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 six factors (in order of importance): delivery process (28%); dealer personnel (21%); working out the deal (19%); paperwork completion (19%); dealership facility (10%); and dealership website (4%). Rejecter satisfaction is based on five factors: salesperson (40%); price (23%); facility (15%); variety of inventory (12%); and negotiation (10%).
The 2021 study, fielded from July through September 2021, is based on responses from 35,387 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle from March through May 2021.