By Dave Bean, Editor, FMW
November 15, 2023
With new vehicle prices down and dealer inventory up, it seems that a lessening of the most dire ramifications of the pandemic have translated into improved customer purchase process scores, at least according to the recently released J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study.
“The improved level of vehicle inventory and the easing of upward pressure on prices are the driving factors in sending sales satisfaction back in a positive direction,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “Vehicle buyers are more satisfied with the inventory choices they now see in dealerships across the country—more than in the past three years. Increased inventory also means fewer buyers are paying more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for their new vehicle.”
The study also revealed, however, that despite the high profile and improving sales of electric vehicles, EVs trail conventional fossil-fuel powered vehicles in overall purchase process satisfaction, whether in Mass Market or Premium segments. The leading reasons for lagging EV satisfaction scores here are displeasure with dealer communications regarding vehicle maintenance, as well as charging requirements and alternatives.
Notable Key Findings from the 2023 SSI Study
- Dealerships have more vehicles on-hand, which has led to greater customer satisfaction with resulting prices. However, the level of satisfaction remains less than that of pre-pandemic figures. This is true whether in Premium or Mass Market segments.
- Dealer profitability is being squeezed somewhat by customer reluctance to pay more than MSRP, leading to better sales satisfaction scores – clearly a double-edged sword.
- New vehicle buyers express less satisfaction with the EV purchase process than when shopping for conventional ICE vehicles. A major culprit is a perceived lack of salesperson expertise with electric vehicles.
J.D. Power 2023 SSI – Awards Rankings
- Alfa Romeo
Mass Market Brands
- Chevrolet, Mitsubishi (tie)
- Premium Car: Porsche
- Premium SUV: Porsche
- Mass Market Car: Chevrolet
- Mass Market SUV/Minivan: GMC
- Mass Market Truck: GMC
For more information about the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, visit https://www.jdpower.com/business/automotive/us-sales-satisfaction-index-ssi-study.