The latest report in industry analyst J.D. Power’s annual customer satisfaction rankings has shown once again that a positive service experience can reap rewards on the sales chart.
Of this year’s best performers in aftersales and service customer satisfaction - Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, Holden and Hyundai - only Subaru remains outside the top five for Australian sales year-to-date.
“As most major brands in Australia now have adopted capped price servicing, authorised service centres need to ensure communication to customers regarding costs, whether it is routine maintenance or additional repair costs, are clear and accurate as possible,” J.D. Power’s Loi Truong said.
“Brands that can provide customers with a clear explanation of the work undertaken and deliver a consistently reliable service will benefit in the long run.”
Mazda’s result marks the brand’s second consecutive year in first place, but it’s Holden that has shown the most improvement.
Holden’s image has taken a beating over the past year with the news that it will end Australian manufacturing in 2017, but the carmaker’s efforts to improve customer satisfaction have paid dividends in 2014.
Finishing second-last in the 2013 J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, the Holden lion has bounded to fourth overall in the latest rankings.
At the top of the ladder, Mazda’s score grew two points to 806 out of a possible 1000, followed closely by Subaru (804), Toyota (802), Holden (794, up from 758) and Hyundai (791).
Hyundai also proved a solid achiever in 2014, its score a standout improvement over last year’s 768 points.
Although Hyundai’s tally puts the Korean carmaker just one point above the ‘Mass Market Average’ of 790, scores drop off noteably below that point.
Ford and Honda totalled 787 points each in the 2014 rankings, but while Ford’s score represented a two-point improvement, Honda’s seventh-place ranking is down from fourth and 798 points in 2013.
Further down is Nissan (783, down from 787), Kia (777, up from 773), Mitsubishi (773, down from 779) and Suzuki (769, up from 764).
Volkswagen found itself in last place for the third year running, with 765 points. Importantly however, the 2014 rankings gave Volkswagen the third-greatest improvement, its score this year up from 743 in 2013.
The survey also found that 83 percent of customers reported that servicing of their vehicles had been completed by the promised time, improving slightly from 82 percent in 2013.
The 2014 study found that 67 percent of customers receive a cost estimate, up from 62 percent in 2013, while 77 percent receive an explanation of the charges from the dealer post service.
Seven percent of customers reported that their service and repair bills were higher than first estimated.
The 2014 J.D. Power Customer Service Index Study is based on responses from 4313 owners who had their vehicles serviced with an authorised service centre between August 2013 and September 2014.
Jeep and Peugeot were included in the survey, however the sample size for both brands was too small to be ranked.
Top 10 Selling Brands - October 2014
- Toyota - 17,382 sales - (down 4.1 percent)
- Hyundai - 8401 - (up 3.3 percent)
- Holden - 7542 - (down 28.4 percent)
- Mazda - 6880 - (down 13.6 percent)
- Ford - 6337 - (down 15.3 percent)
- Nissan - 5759 - (up 8.9 percent)
- Mitsubishi - 5115 - (up 0.9 percent)
- Volkswagen - 4764 - (down 3.0 percent)
- Subaru - 4003 - (up 40.0 percent)
- Mercedes-Benz - 3150 - (up 39.3 percent)
Top 10 Selling Models - October 2014
- Toyota Corolla - 3819 - (36,925 sales year-to-date)
- Toyota HiLux - 3228 - (31,876)
- Mazda3 - 2928 sales - (36,011)
- Hyundai i30 - 2475 - (25,791)
- Ford Ranger - 2405 - (22,539)
- Holden Commodore - 2210 - (25,994)
- Toyota Camry - 1908 - (17,689)
- Mitsubishi Triton - 1787 - (18,654)
- Volkswagen Golf - 1755 - (16,157)
- Mazda CX-5 - 1594 - (18,237)