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Customers like sales experience, even if longer: J.D. Power

December 9, 2011
Satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process has improved notably from 2010, according to a new J.D. Power and Associates study. 
The 2011 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase experience and measures customer satisfaction with the selling dealer (satisfaction among buyers).
Overall sales satisfaction averaged 648 on a 1,000-point scale in 2011, up 13 points from 635 in 2010. The gain suggests that, as market conditions improve, automotive manufacturers and dealers are placing renewed focus on and investment in providing buyers with satisfying retail experiences. 
The delivery process showed the greatest gain in scoring from 2010 despite the average delivery time for a new vehicle increasing four minutes to an average of 32 minutes. Overall, the average length of time a buyer spends at the dealership increased by 11 minutes, to an average of 4.3 hours in 2011. 
A primary reason for the longer delivery process is the increasing proportion of buyers who want more in-depth demonstrations of technology in their new vehicle (including audio, entertainment, navigation and communications systems). About 88 percent of buyers this year said they received a technology demonstration at vehicle delivery.
“Although technology demonstrations add time to the delivery process, those explanations substantially improve satisfaction, as well as customer loyalty and advocacy,” said Jim Gaz of J.D. Power. Gaz said the demonstrations may also help improve perceptions of new-vehicle quality.