WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Automotive finance sources need to focus their efforts on servicing processes, anticipating the changing needs as well as the diversity of their customers to achieve high levels of satisfaction. That was the conclusion of J.D. Power’s 2015 U.S. Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study.

The study examined the overall customer experience with vehicle financing, measuring satisfaction among customers who financed or leased their vehicle indirectly through a dealer or directly through an auto finance provider in four key factors: onboarding process; billing and payment process; website; and phone contact. The study is conducted in two vehicle segments: luxury and mass market. Satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.

“The higher-performing companies do a good job of satisfying their customers throughout the life of the loan or lease,” said Mike Buckingham, senior director of the automotive finance practice at J.D. Power. “Once the new-car smell goes away, it’s the day-to-day handling of the account that is critical, and that’s where some companies fall.”

Buckingham noted that most of the providers do a good job in the initial onboarding and loan/lease setup, but as consumers experience changes in their life or have informational needs, getting quick support from their provider is critical in order to maintain high levels of satisfaction.

“The higher-performing brands are adept at satisfying a diverse consumer base that has different needs based on both age and product type,” Buckingham added.

The following are some of the key findings in this year’s study:

  • Luxury Car Buyers More Satisfied: Overall satisfaction was 840 in the luxury segment and 817 in the mass market segment.
  • Loan and Lease Experiences Not Created Equally: The loan and lease experience differs by segment, with overall satisfaction in the luxury segment similar for loans and leases (840 and 839, respectively) In contrast, satisfaction in the mass market segment is significantly higher for loans than for leases (821 and 798, respectively).
  • Satisfaction Equals Loyalty: Ensuring customer satisfaction is critical for finance providers, as more than 96% of highly satisfied customers (overall satisfaction scores of 900 points or more) say they “definitely will” use their current lender in the future.
  • Dealer’s Choice: Nearly 40% of customers indicate they selected their provider based on input from source other than dealer recommendations.

This year, Lincoln Automotive Financial Services (873) ranked highest in the luxury segment for a third consecutive year. The captive performed particularly well in the onboarding process, billing and payment process and phone contact factors. BMW Financial (853) ranked second and Lexus Financial Services (850) ranks third.

Ford Credit ranked highest in the mass market segment with a score of 838. The captive performs particularly well in the onboarding process and phone contact factors. Bank of America (834) ranked second and Toyota Financial Services (832) ranked third.

The 2015 U.S. Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study is based on responses from 19,522 new- and used-vehicle purchasers or lessees who obtained a vehicle loan or lease. The study includes vehicles financed for model years 2012 through 2015 and was fielded between late July and early September.

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Originally posted on F&I and Showroom