BMW Ranks Highest in Sales Satisfaction in South Africa for Second Consecutive Year
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J.D. Power and Associates Reports: Non-Premium Nameplates Demonstrate Considerable Improvement, Largely Due to Salesperson Performance
JOHANNESBURG, 13 December 2007 — For a second consecutive year, BMW ranks highest in satisfying new-vehicle buyers with the purchase experience, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 South Africa Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM released today.
Now in its third year, the study is a comprehensive measurement of the new-vehicle sales and delivery process, and includes 32 attributes grouped in five factors (the importance of each factor is shown as a percentage): delivery process (27%), salesperson (23%), negotiated price (18%), paperwork/finance process (17%) and dealership facility (15%). Importance weights are developed based on consumer survey responses, thus reflecting what is most important to South Africa’s new-vehicle buyers. SSI is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale, with a higher score indicating a more satisfying purchase experience.
BMW leads the rankings with an overall SSI score of 874, followed by Chevrolet (871), Subaru (863), Volvo (860) and Mercedes-Benz (858), rounding out the top five brands. Included in the study for the first time, Lexus ranks sixth.
BMW continues to set the benchmark in three of the five factors: dealership facility, salesperson and delivery process. Chevrolet, which has performed well in South Africa SSI since the inception of the study in 2005, receives favourable ratings from customers across all factors. Additionally, Subaru performs particularly well in paperwork/finance process and price negotiations.
“Overall, premium and Japanese nameplates perform well and earn above-average scores in providing a satisfying purchase experience, which is a pattern that has been demonstrated in our research around the world,” said Brian Walters, vice president of J.D. Power and Associates Europe, Middle East and Africa operations. “Giving new-vehicle buyers positive experiences during the early stages of vehicle ownership often creates enduring customer relationships. These customers are much more likely to return to the selling dealer for service and maintenance visits later in the ownership cycle. Ultimately, providing a superior sales experience lays a strong foundation for building brand and dealer loyalty among customers.”
The study finds that non-premium nameplates registered the greatest improvements in 2007. In particular, the Daihatsu, Subaru, Nissan, Volkswagen and Citroën brands all improve by at least 20 SSI points since 2006. Increases in salesperson factor scores primarily drive these improvements.
“Higher scores in the sales staff factor, particularly among non-premium nameplates, show that these brands have focused their improvement efforts in areas that will most strongly impact satisfaction,” said Walters. “A salesperson’s performance can make or break a deal. While, in general, premium nameplates have an advantage in recruiting and retaining more highly skilled sales staff, all market players should focus their attention on improving customer interactions in order to deliver a satisfying ownership experience. This is especially true in a market like South Africa, where new-vehicle sales have slowed dramatically in recent months. Ultimately, brands that offer a satisfying ownership experience are in a better position to weather a down market.”
Since its launch in the United States in 1987, the SSI study has become a standard for measuring dealer performance for the sales process used by virtually every automotive manufacturer around the world. In addition to South Africa, J.D. Power and Associates conducts retail research in many other markets, including China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Each year, more than one million new-vehicle buyers around the world receive a J.D. Power and Associates survey.
J.D. Power and Associates is recognized across the globe as the leading independent authority on customer satisfaction in the automotive industry. The firm’s primary role is to help automotive manufacturers further improve their product quality and service levels through a better understanding of consumer behaviour and preferences. J.D. Power and Associates also provides topline results of its studies to consumers for use as a reference point when purchasing a new vehicle.
The 2007 South Africa Sales Satisfaction Index Study is based on a representative sample of more than 8,100 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between January and May 2007. The study was funded entirely by J.D. Power and Associates as part of its global research programs, in cooperation with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), and includes a section of questions to assist the Corporation and the Department of Transport (DOT) in measuring the performance of its vehicle and drivers licensing program.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is an ISO 9001-registered global marketing information services firm operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, training and customer satisfaction. The firm’s quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit JDPower.com. J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Sales in 2006 were $6.3 billion. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.
No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and Associates. www.jdpower.com/corporate
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