NASHVILLE -- Nissan's "below-industry-average" rating on J.D. Power's 2011 survey of customers' satisfaction with their dealership experience was actually a cause for some celebration at Nissan.
It was a significant improvement, and Nissan now expects more. The year's gain has shown the company how to get out of the doghouse.
Despite increasing sales and market share, the brand has routinely performed poorly on J.D. Power's annual Sales Satisfaction Index, a survey that asks consumers for their impression of the dealership where they just purchased a vehicle.
But when Nissan placed dead last among mass-market brands on Power's 2010 sales satisfaction survey, the automaker snapped into action.
"We hit rock bottom," says Billy Hayes, who was director of Nissan market representation when he was asked to begin correcting the problem with a special task force. "It was embarrassing."