In a scathing report four years ago, the consumer group Public Citizen said auto dealerships were rife with shady business practices. It dramatized that claim with undercover video on a network TV newsmagazine.
But two new studies paint a prettier picture.
A survey conducted for Consumers Union found high levels of satisfaction among people who bought new and used vehicles at new-car dealerships in the past year.
Nearly 90 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied. Fifty-seven percent were very satisfied, and 96 percent said they got a fair deal or better.
Separately last week, J.D. Power and Associates found customer satisfaction at a record high in its 21st annual study of "the new-vehicle purchase experience."
If dealership salespeople do a good job of explaining vehicle features and benefits, said Tom Gauer, Power's senior director of automotive retail research, buyers are content to spend even more than they budgeted for their new car or truck.