Maruti Suzuki continues to be the customers’ darling for the second year running. According to the JD Power Asia Pacific 2005 India Sales Satisfaction Index Study, which was released on Wednesday, the auto major ranks highest in customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process for the second consecutive year.
“Maruti Suzuki’s performance reflects its consistent approach to building and promoting effective sales processes based on the voice of the customer,” said Mohit Arora, Director, India, JD Power Asia Pacific.
“In turn, Maruti Suzuki customers reflect their satisfaction with the brand by demonstrating the highest loyalty and advocacy intentions in the industry,” he added.
Not just Maruti Suzuki, the Indian automobile industry itself has improved its overall performance by six index points, with eight of the 11 manufacturers showing improvements over 2004.
Of these, Mahindra & Mahindra has recorded the greatest improvement, with an increase of 45 index points over 2004, and takes sixth place in the overall rankings, according to the study. Opel, a General Motors nameplate, has also improved 40 index points in performance to rank overall second.
The JD Power study, in its sixth year, examines satisfaction of new-vehicle buyers with the sales and delivery experience at two to six months of ownership. More than 4,150 owners of 36 different vehicle models took part in the 2005 study, which was fielded from March 2005 to May 2005.
Overall sales satisfaction is assessed on 48 attributes, grouped into six pre-defined factors – delivery process, delivery timing, salesperson, dealer facility, paperwork, and the deal.
Significant improvements in implementation rates of various dealer activities performed during the entire sales and delivery process have been noted by the latest study by JD Power. The implementation rates for the industry regarding test drives offered – a key sales activity – have shown an improvement of 14 per cent over 2004, one of the highest year-over-year improvements registered in the past five years.
Elaborating on the improvements registered across most manufacturers, Arora said that these are indicative of the “growing competition in the industry as manufacturers strive to create a strong and positive first impression on their customers…Owners of Mahindra and Opel vehicles report significant improvements across all factors that compose the Sales Satisfaction Index, with the greatest improvement for both nameplates on delivery timing.”
This apart, the study has also found that although making a booking for a new vehicle is an industry practice, customers report higher satisfaction if they are able to receive their vehicles with no booking time. Also, satisfaction scores decline rapidly with increased booking time. Customers not only report lower satisfaction, but also report a greater number of problems with their selling dealer if they have to book their new vehicle.
And we thought that a car was just a means to commute from Point A to Point B!