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Luxury Car Buyers Strongly Engaged throughout Purchase Process, J.D. Power Finds

SINGAPORE: 6 Dec. 2018 — Luxury car buyers in India are deeply involved in the pre-purchase shopping process, according to the J.D. Power 2018 India Sales Satisfaction Index (Luxury) Study,SM released today. The proactiveness of these buyers to be better informed requires dealership staff to be more prepared in interacting with these customers.

More than one-fourth (28%) of luxury car buyers shopped around for other models before making a purchase decision, with 65% of them using the internet as one of their key information sources. Furthermore, 49% of luxury car buyers contacted the dealer directly prior to their first physical visit of the dealership and 52% of these buyers compared prices of the same model across multiple dealerships.

Strengthened engagement during the shopping process from luxury car buyers brings with it the need to transform the role of the traditional sales consultant from being solely transactional to one of being advisory,” said Kaustav Roy, Regional Director Automotive Practice at J.D. Power. “Dealerships that are able to drive this change among their teams will likely be able to create a more engaging experience, thereby influencing word-of-mouth recommendations and brand loyalty.”

Following are key findings of the study:

  • Luxury car buyers rely on recommendations from friends/ relatives for purchase decision:Nearly two-thirds (61%) of buyers rely on friends and family as their primary source of information while deciding on the vehicle brand or model to purchase.

  • High usage of digital devices: The majority (83%) of buyers indicate that their sales consultant used a digital device. Tablets are the most commonly used device (66%), with overall satisfaction highest among buyers whose consultant used a tablet during their sales’ experience (910 on a 1,000-point scale).

  • Problems with clear communication of pricing and paperwork: With more than one-fourth of customers experiencing problems across specific issues, such as clarity on pricing, paperwork and additional item purchases—dealerships need to train their staff to provide clear and correct information regarding such topics.

  • Advocacy and loyalty improve with sales satisfaction: Among highly satisfied customers (overall sales satisfaction scores of 976 and higher), 97% say they “definitely will” recommend their purchase dealer to family and friends, compared with only 62% of highly dissatisfied customers (score of 848 or lower).

Study Rankings

Mercedes-Benz ranks highest in sales satisfaction, with a score of 903. BMW ranks second with 900, while Audi ranks third with 888.

The 2018 India Sales Satisfaction Index (Luxury) Study is based on responses from 250 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from September 2017 through August 2018.

The study examines six factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with their new-vehicle purchase experience in the luxury market. In order of impact on overall sales satisfaction, those factors are dealership facility (22%); delivery process (21%); dealer sales consultant (20%); paperwork completion (17%); working out the deal (15%); and dealership website (4%).

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