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Survey uncovers biggest new-car buyer gripes

By David Bonnici, 04 Feb 2019 Car News

Survey uncovers biggest new-car buyer gripes

Buying a new car isn’t always the special experience some buyers expect, according to the latest JD Power customer satisfaction survey

Pushy salespeople and insufficient test-drive opportunities are among the main complaints expressed by Aussie new-car buyers, according to a customer satisfaction survey.

The J.D. Power 2018 Australia Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study rated Australia's most popular vehicle brands for showroom customer satisfaction, based on dealer sales consultants, delivery process, dealership facilities, working out the deal, paperwork completion, and dealership website. 

Holden and Mazda stood out above their main rivals with 822 points out of a possible 1000, with Kia (791), Subaru (791), Mitsubishi (787) and Hyundai (784) falling below average.

One of the main reasons for points being deducted across all brands was due to almost half the surveyed buyers feeling the new-car experience was soured by a lack of any special ceremony taking place during handover.

Be prepared: The new car buyer's checklist

According to JD Power – which is a global consumer insights and analysis firm – providing acknowledgement of the buyer via a special ceremony enhances customer satisfaction and makes it more likely that they’ll ‘definitely’ recommend the dealership to friends and family.

And with cars gaining more and more active safety and infotainment technology during the past three years, it’s imperative that customers drive away knowing what features their car has and how to use them.

Meanwhile, nearly one in five new-car buyers (17 percent) claimed their sales consultant only partially understood their needs, and didn’t even seek to find out their vehicle preferences pushing a particular model.  

“Given the slowdown in sales, it is essential that sales consultants spend the required time with each shopper to identify the best model and variant for their requirements,” said JD Power Australia director and country manager, Bruce Chellingworth.

“Simply ‘pushing metal’ won’t help the dealership gain positive referral, ensure customer loyalty or promote the brand. In an increasingly competitive market, it is imperative that dealers understand and build trust with their customers.”

After the showroom: What to do after you buy a new car

The 2018 SSI study also found that while more than 80 percent of customers chose to take a test drive, about half of them spent just 20 minutes or less in the vehicle, with 19 percent experiencing only 10 minutes or less on the road.

And 35 percent of buyers aged under 40, and 24 percent of first-time new-car buyers, said they experienced higher levels of pressure from the dealer to purchase a new vehicle.   

The 2018 SSI study measures satisfaction with the sales experience among 3075 people who purchased vehicles between March 2018 and January 2019.

Click here to see the full top-10 list of popular vehicle brands based on customer satisfaction.

Have you had a good or bad experience when buying a new car? Tell us in the comment section below.