– Lexus has taken the top spot in J.D. Power's annual best new-vehicle sales satisfaction survey, wrestling the title from from last year's winner, Jaguar. Based on 38,654 new-vehicle buyers' responses, the survey ranks 36 nameplates and has determined that the industry overall has improved from an average of 847 last year to 852 this year on its 1,000-point scale.
This year's top five are: Lexus (5th last year), Hummer (11th last year), Jaguar (1st last year by a wide margin), Lincoln (3rd last year), and Mercedes-Benz (10th last year). Not surprisingly, Saturn is still the top non-premium, mainstream automaker on the list, while Mitsubishi - although improved from 794 last year to 810 this year - remains in last.
J.D. Power reports that 44 percent of new-vehicle buyers spend more than they expected. These buyers, the study finds, provide satisfaction scores about 67 points less than customers who spent within their set budgets. J.D. Power also says that customers are more willing to spend big bucks on extra frills if their sales people can "successfully convey the value of the vehicle," although we're not sure we needed a study to show that.
A full 61 percent of the surveyed customers had their expectations exceeded while 37 percent said their experience merely met their expectations.
With nameplates like Hummer and Mercedes-Benz - not known lately for reliability - cracking the top five, J.D. Power's Sales Satisfaction Index ranking shows that it is increasingly difficult for automakers to break away from the pack in dealer service, which of course benefits all new-vehicle shoppers.