The people's carmaker has been rated first in customer satisfaction India for a record sixth year in a row, according to the JD Power Asia Pacific 2005 India Customer Satisfaction Index Study. Maruti Suzuki scored 823 points, beating its own record of 813 points secured last year. Hyundai is second with 739 points, while Tata and Fiat are at the bottom of the table.
While the industry average has improved by three points compared to last year, all companies other than Maruti are below the industry average.
Overall satisfaction with the dealer's service department is assessed on 42 attributes, grouped into seven predefined factors – problems experienced, service quality, user-friendly service, service advisor, service initiation, service delivery and in-service experience.
"Maruti Suzuki's overall strength lies in building an organization that is sharply focused on the voice of the customer," said Mohit Arora, India Director at JD Power Asia Pacific. "Maruti's consistent performance in the study over the past several years has resulted in a steady increase in the percentage of its customers who say they intend to remain loyal to the brand."
Mahindra has emerged as the most improved nameplate in the study with an increase in score of 30 index points from 2004. Mahindra, Ford and Honda are the only three nameplates that have improved performance across all seven factors from 2004.
Additionally, the study found that operation costs of new vehicles had risen 11 per cent and 15 per cent for petrol and diesel vehicles, respectively, from 2004. The overall cost of operation is an aggregation of three cost components – fuel, repair and maintenance and tyre costs.
Diesel vehicle owners continue to report lower overall operating cost per KM than petrol vehicle owners, largely due to significantly lower fuel costs. Yet, diesel vehicle owners report a 44 per cent higher repair and maintenance cost on a per KM basis compared to petrol vehicle owners.
While the Tata Indica and Indigo car models record strong performances in the diesel segment in terms of cost of operation, Maruti models continue to outperform their competitors in the petrol segment.
The study, now in its ninth year, examines the satisfaction of new-vehicle buyers with the authorised service experience at 12-18 months of ownership. More than 4,200 owners of 33 different vehicle models took part in the 2005 study, which was fielded from June to August 2005.