Saturn has regained the top spot in the J.D. Power and Associates study of customer satisfaction with sales experiences at dealerships in 2000.
'Saturn had general improvement across the board this year,' said Chris Denove, a partner at J.D. Power. 'This means Saturn had dealers willing and able to stick with the Saturn philosophy, even as they faced growing inventory.'
Saturn, which placed sixth in 1999, also led the ranking 1995 through 1998. But sales of the mainstay S series slipped, and many dealers struggled with Saturn's no-haggle policy.
In other highlights, Cadillac dropped from its first-place tie in the 1999 Sales Satisfaction Index and tied for second place with Lexus, which moved up from sixth place.
Nonluxury Asian nameplates, such as Honda and Hyundai, continued to score below the industry average.
'Domestic nameplates such as Buick and Lincoln have an easier job of satisfying customers, when a large proportion of their customers are older, nonaggressive shoppers who have done business with the dealership for years,' Denove said.
'It's important, if not critical, for Asian nameplate dealers to harvest customers as long-term clients.'