COSTA MESA, Calif. — J.D. Power ranked Porsche and Mini No. 1 in the luxury and mass-market segments, respectively, in the research firm’s 2018 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study. Analysts also found car buyers prefer digital communications, including text messages, but that isn’t happening at enough dealerships to satisfy demand.
Porsche earned a highest-overall rating of 828 on J.D. Power’s 1,000-point scale. Among luxury marques, Infiniti ranks second with a score of 824 and Lexus ranks third with 823. Mini ranks highest in sales satisfaction among mass-market brands, achieving a score of 798. GMC ranks second with a score of 797, while Buick and Chevrolet rank third in a tie with a score of 792.
Overall satisfaction in several studies is generally higher among customers who communicate via text message. In the 2018 U.S. SSI Study, overall buyer satisfaction is 19 points higher among customers who texted with their selling dealer (839) than among those who did not (820).
When dealers text, analysts said, customer satisfaction increases: Dealers using text messages are getting ahead of most of their competitors and are creating more satisfied customers. Luxury dealers use email and text messaging more frequently than mass-market dealers (25% and 21% of the time vs. 17% and 15% of the time, respectively), so mass-market dealers have an opportunity to increase engagement through these channels.
“These aren’t apples to apples comparisons by any means, but the scores are clear indicators of where shoppers and buyers are going, especially as the consumer base gains a larger mix of younger customers,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of the Automotive Retail Practice at J.D. Power. “Automotive dealerships are slowly moving toward more frequent digital communication, but as customers come to expect this opportunity for engagement, dealers need to pick up the pace for incorporating texting and emailing into the day-to-day sales process. For younger customers, this is how they engage.”