Jaguar dealers returned to their place atop customer satisfaction rankings released today by the market research company J.D. Power and Associates, while Asian brands continued to be at the bottom.
The study, completed annually for 22 years, bases U.S. customer satisfaction on five elements: dealership facility, salesperson, paperwork and finance process, delivery process and vehicle price.
Hummer, Lexus, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz rounded out the top five brands in the study. Mazda, Dodge, Jeep, Nissan and Mitsubishi ranked last.
Jaguar has ranked No. 1 for four of the past five years but fell to third last year, behind Lexus and Hummer. Jaguar improved in all five study elements, posting especially strong results in delivery, finance paperwork and price.
The automakers dealers excel in explaining vehicle features and in the condition of the vehicle upon delivery, and customers appreciate the good value of the XF sedan, said Tom Gauer, J.D. Powers director of automotive retail research.
The XF starts at $49,975, including destination.
Jaguar also has taken first place for the past two years in J.D. Powers Customer Service Index, released in July.
Nearly three-fourths of Asian brands scored below the industry-average customer satisfaction score. In contrast, Asian brands made up the top 10 of Consumer Reports list of predicted-reliable 2009 vehicles and are gaining market share over Detroit 3 vehicles.
Buyers of Asian brands often place more emphasis on product quality and less on the treatment and dealership atmosphere expected by buyers of luxury brands, which consistently outperform other brands in the customer satisfaction study, Gauer said.
The Asian import buyer generally has a higher education level, is more affluent, is generally younger, Gauer said. When you look at those types of people, they tend to be more critical in their evaluation.
In addition, the Asian brands smaller number of dealerships means those automakers serve more customers than the average domestic dealership does and may be less able to focus on customer service, Gauer said.
Customer satisfaction industrywide rose for the third straight year, the study found. The improvement stemmed mostly from better dealership facilities and a smooth, informative delivery processes.
The study surveyed nearly 36,000 consumers who bought or leased a new vehicle in May. J.D. Power said customers who indicate a sour sales experience are three times less likely to go to the dealership for vehicle service and tell an average of six people to avoid that store.