Better Deals and Positive Customer Recommendations Are Key to Satisfying New-Vehicle Buyers, J.D. Power Finds

General Press Releases Wednesday October 4, 2017 10:36
Bangkok--4 Oct--Jigsaw Communications
Isuzu Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands for a Third Consecutive Year

New-vehicle buyers remain focused on getting better deals from authorized car dealers and are increasingly seeking recommendations from friends/ relatives prior to visiting showrooms, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Thailand Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study,SM released today.

Overall satisfaction with the sales and delivery process has increased to 822 (on a 1,000-point scale) this year from 811 in 2016. Satisfaction improves the most in the deal factor (809 in 2017 vs. 793 in 2016); however, it remains the lowest-scoring of all six SSI factors (delivery process; dealer facility; sales initiation; deal; delivery timing; and salesperson).

Offering the best deal/ lowest price is the main purchase driver in 2017 and is cited by 27% of new-vehicle buyers as the reason that most influenced them to purchase from a particular dealer. Additionally in 2017, 48% of customers surveyed negotiated the price of their new vehicle (up by 8 percentage points from 2016) and 66% received a discount (an increase of 14 percentage points from 2016). As a result, the average vehicle price paid has decreased in 2017, as the average discount value has increased and more freebies have been offered to customers. However, an increasing number of new-vehicle buyers felt an uncomfortable level of pressure from the salesperson during their most recent purchase experience (11% in 2017 vs. 6% in 2016), most notably pressure to buy on the same day, which is most frequently cited.

"Providing better deals, discounts and freebies remains important in ensuring that more shoppers are converted into actual buyers; however, dealers must also stay focused on delivering excellent service to their customers and maximizing satisfaction in the longer term, while achieving sustainable returns," said Siros Satrabhaya, Country Manager at J.D. Power. "Four in five shoppers visit only one brand before purchase which means most of them are predetermined customers; hence, the critical importance of positive word of mouth. Accurate and pertinent information posted online is also important to convince their decision. Manufacturers and dealers are advised to encourage and facilitate feedback from their customers online but also integrate it into their websites in order to increase visibility for prospect buyers as well as to better create the feeling of engagement of the current customers."

The study finds that an increasing proportion of new-vehicle buyers use multiple sources to gather information while shopping and prior to visiting authorized dealerships. Among the sources of information used, recommendations from friends/ relatives is most frequently cited (68% in 2017, up from 55% in 2016), followed by websites (58%) and recommendations from dealer owners or salespeople (42%). New-vehicle buyers who sought information from friends/ relatives tend to be notably more satisfied with the sales and delivery process than those who did not (832 vs. 802, respectively).

Following are some of the key findings of the study:

Customers are spending more time online: While the proportion of customers who indicate they browsed information online remains stable year over year (58%), in 2017, the depth of their internet search increases, with 59% of customers having searched four or more information sources, as compared with 52% in 2016.

Online shoppers are focusing more on pricing: More shoppers are now looking for information on sales promotions (top search cited by 60% of web users, up from 52% in 2016) as well as financing details such as monthly installments (48%, up from 36% in 2016).

Dealer and manufacturer traffic on the rise: Traffic to manufacturer and dealer websites has increased this year compared to 2016 (45% vs. 37% and 35% vs. 18%, respectively). Satisfaction is higher among visitors of dealer websites than among those visiting manufacturer websites (826 vs. 809, respectively).

Study Rankings

Isuzu ranks highest among the 10 ranked brands for a third consecutive year, with an average SSI score of 832. Isuzu performs particularly well in the dealer facility, deal, salesperson and delivery timing factors. Mazda (827) ranks second and outperforms competitors in the sales initiation and delivery process factors. Toyota (824) ranks third, closely followed by Suzuki (823), both above the mass market average.

About the Study

The 2017 Thailand Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, now in its 18th year, is based on responses from 2,458 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from August 2016 through April 2017. The study was fielded from February through June 2017.

The study examines six factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with their new-vehicle purchase experience in the mass market segment. In order of their impact on overall sales satisfaction, those factors are delivery process (19%); dealer facility (19%); sales initiation (17%); deal (16%); delivery timing (15%); and salesperson (15%).

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