Heres a question every new car buyer should be asking themselves: Whats more likely to go wrong the vehicle Im looking at, or the dealer Im expecting to service it?
New cars are pretty reliable these days, but the metal is only part of what you buy into when you sign up for that finance agreement. Youre also exposing yourself to the manufacturers after-care system.
Even if all goes well with the car, your local dealerships efficiency, ambience, politeness and pricing will be put to the test at every service interval. If things go wrong with the car, that structure will come under even closer, and perhaps more unwelcome, scrutiny.
Thats why weve teamed up with JD Power and Associates, the worlds leading publisher of research into vehicle ownership, to bring you the 2012 Dealer Satisfaction Survey.
Over the following pages, we outline which manufacturers are making you feel great about owning one of their cars and which ones are falling short every time you walk through the door.
How the results are calculated
The analysis is based on JD Powers 2012 UK Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study. Out of the 17,686 respondents nearly 15,000 customers had a service experience with their dealership within the past 12 months. These customers gave data on vehicles bought between January 2009 and December 2010. Surveys were completed between December 2011 and January 2012.
The survey focuses on a number of areas: service initiation, rating the ease of making the appointment and the time involved in dropping off the car; service adviser, evaluating staff courtesy and quality of explanation; service facility, rating ease of access, parking convenience, and waiting area cleanliness and comfort; vehicle pick-up, the punctuality of the collection process, charging fairness and staff helpfulness; and service quality, dealing with the time required to do the service, the thoroughness and overall quality of work, and condition of the vehicle on return.
Manufacturers with fewer than 100 respondents arent counted, but that still leaves us with a picture on how 27 dealership networks treat customers.