Less than half the time, dealers and lenders reconnect with lease customers before the end of the lease, a study by J.D. Power and Associates found.
That's not good enough, said Jim Houston, senior director of J.D. Power's auto finance practice. Instead of waiting until lease expiration, dealers and lenders should set themselves up for lease-end satisfaction at the beginning of the term, he said.
With leases accounting for 30.2 percent of all new-vehicle transactions through November this year, according to J.D. Power, learning how to satisfy lease customers has become increasingly important.
J.D. Power conducted the 2016 U.S. Lease End Satisfaction Study in cooperation with four lenders, surveying a wide range of lease customers, not just those of the four lenders. The data was collected from June 28 to Aug. 2, based on 1,986 responses. Of the respondents, 987 had leased luxury brands, and 999 had leased mass-market brands.
The study, the first of its kind by J.D. Power, measured satisfaction of customers who are within six months of the end of their lease.
J.D. Power found that lenders and dealers are connecting with customers before lease end just 47 percent of the time. That means most customers wait until they turn in their vehicles to complete their inspections and may be surprised by additional charges.
If they connect sooner, customers could complete inspections ahead of time and make necessary repairs, J.D. Power said.