DETROIT -- Lincoln's dealership service continues to rank highest with customers, according to the J.D. Power and Associates customer service index.
Ford Motor Co.'s domestic luxury division led the rankings in the 2005 study with 915 points out of a possible 1,000 points. It was the second consecutive year that Lincoln was ranked first.
Cadillac finished second with 911 points, followed by Saturn with 905 points and Lexus with 904 points. The industry average on this year's study was 871 points. Isuzu was the lowest-ranked brand with 810 points.
The study measures satisfaction with dealer service in the first three years of ownership or a lease -- when most vehicles are still under warranty. J.D. Power surveyed 99,550 owners and lessees of 2002 through 2004 model-year vehicles.
This year's study noted that 51 percent of the repair work was related to a recall -- a fallout from new regulations that force automakers to report more defects. In last year's survey, 39 percent of repair work was attributed to recalls.
"As negative as recalls are for manufacturers, they provide dealerships with opportunities to excel in service and make a positive impact on their customers," says Steve Witten, executive director of automotive retail research for J.D. Power.
For vehicles that are 4 to 5 years old, Acura, Cadillac, Infiniti and Lexus customers are highly satisfied with dealership service, the research firm said.
The milestones are key because at the 5-year point of ownership, about half the owners are using independent repair shops for service, according to the firm's Service Usage and Retention study. That study does not rank the brands and looks at customer satisfaction levels with dealership and independent service shops.
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