Edward Lapham made valid points in his Aug. 2 column on Toyota's Customer Satisfaction Index.
Unfortunately, the CSI survey he cited deals only with J.D. Power's survey of customer satisfaction in the service department.
According to J.D. Power's press release of July 20, "The study measures customer satisfaction among new-vehicle owners with the dealer service department during the first three years of vehicle ownership."
Although CSI has become an industry catchall term for customer satisfaction in both the sales and service departments, J.D. Power makes a very important distinction between the two that should be noted.
In J.D. Power's parlance, the survey of sales department customer satisfaction scores is called the Sales Satisfaction Index, or SSI.
Since customers' service department experiences directly affect their decision whether to purchase another vehicle from that dealership and manufacturer, Lapham's point could have been even stronger if he'd made the distinction instead of lumping the two together.
Point of interest: In the 2003 Sales Satisfaction Index (2004 will be out this month), Lexus ranked sixth and Toyota 35th of 38.