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As a general rule, people are having a better time with car dealers than just a few years ago, but some brands’ franchise partners are still lagging behind the performance of industry leaders Mazda and Hyundai.

That’s a summary of the findings from market research firm J.D. Power, which this week published results from its latest annual customer survey. Overall satisfaction has climbed 48 points on a 1000-point scale since 2013, the firm says.

More specifically, of the 13 brands ranked in the mass market segment it was Mazda that again scored highest, with a total of 835 (ranked highest five times in eight years), followed by Hyundai with a score of 831 and Kia with 829.

Honda (which won the award two years ago) Nissan, Volkswagen, Suzuki and Jeep all finished below the average, with the American SUV brand finishing last for the second year running.

The 2017 Australia Customer Service Index (Mass Market) Study is based on responses from 4646 owners who purchased their new vehicle between August 2012 and September 2017, and “took their vehicle for service to an authorised dealership service centre between August 2016 and September 2017”.

Now in its eighth year, the study measures overall satisfaction with the vehicle service experience at an authorised service centre by examining five factors (listed in order of importance): service quality; vehicle pick-up; service advisor; service initiation; and service facility.


BRAND RATING (1000 max) COMMENT
Mazda 835 Among the best
Hyundai 831 Among the best
Kia 829 Better than most
Mitsubishi 825 About average
Subaru 824 About average
Ford 823 About average
Holden 823 About average
Toyota 823 About average
Market average 822 About average
Honda 817 About average
Nissan 809 The rest
Volkswagen 798 The rest
Suzuki 797 The rest
Jeep 781 The rest

Other findings:

  • Fixing the vehicle in the first service visit is now a basic expectation, in addition to receiving communication from the dealership post-service.
  • Although more than 9 in 10 customers have their vehicle returned fixed right the first time, only 48 per cent of these customers were contacted after their service.
  • Satisfaction increases by 30 points above the mass market average to 852 when customers are contacted after their vehicle’s service to ensure that all work was carried out as per their expectations.
  • The unpredictability of service bills has tapered off since 2013. 70 per cent of customers paid what they expected (increase of 7 percentage points since 2013).
  • Satisfied customers are kept informed of their vehicle status: 73 per cent of customers indicate they were kept informed by their service advisor of the status of their vehicle being serviced. Satisfaction among these customers is 30 points higher than the mass market average.
  • Most customers still call their service dealer to schedule their appointment (79 per cent); however, customers who use the internet to schedule service (11 per cent) are more satisfied
  • The study finds that 31 per cent of customers needed their service dealer to provide them with transportation while their vehicle was being serviced.

MORE: JD Power news coverage




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