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Unhappy about car services? Buy a Chevrolet, Lexus or Mitsubishi, suggests research

Unhappy about car services?
Buy a Chevrolet, Lexus or Mitsubishi, suggests research

By: Irma Venter
30th May 2011
Engineering News

South Africans were last year happiest buying an Audi, and servicing a Mitsubishi, Lexus and Chevrolet. When it came to bakkies and vans, the best buying experience was aquiring an Isuzu, Toyota or Chevrolet, and servicing a Mitsubishi, Toyota, Chevrolet, Isuzu and Nissan.

Research house Synovate on Monday announced the winners of its Synovate Quality Awards for Sales and Service in the local automotive industry.

These awards rated customers’ experience when buying a new car or bakkie, while they also recognised excellence when servicing these vehicles.

The awards were based on more than 33 000 interviews with customers who purchased or serviced a vehicle between January and December 2010.

Recognition was given to the achievers in four categories, namely passenger vehicle (PC) purchasing experience, PC servicing experience, light commercial vehicle (LCV) purchasing experience, and LCV servicing experience.

In general, across all categories, younger people were less satisfied when servicing or buying a vehicle, while women were more pleased than men when buying a vehicle, but on par with men when it came to vehicle services.

“Dealers are telling us that women are more assertive than they used to be, and that they need to treat men and women the same way,” said Synovate South Africa sales and marketing director Richard Rice.

He added that black customers used to be more satisfied in all these categories, but that this had now evened out to be on par with other race groups.

What had also happened was that emotional factors had become far more important when buying or servicing a vehicle than rational factors, noted Rice.

It had, for example, become more important to a customer that a salesperson kept his or her promise, or that they provided advice that could be trusted, than for work on a vehicle be completed correctly the first time around.

Where the experience was still found lacking by customers in both the servicing and purchasing categories, was the absence a follow-up phone call from the dealership once the money had been spent.

In the PC purchasing experience category, customers experienced the most joy, by quite some distance, when buying an Audi, which won the gold award, while silver medals went to Volkswagen, Chevrolet and Toyota.

Opel, Renault, Mercedes-Benz, Lexus, Ford, Mazda and Peugeot won bronze.

This category enjoyed the highest average score for the quality of the customer experience, at 90%.

Audi’s score was far above average, at 95%.

In the PC servicing experience category, Mitsubishi, Lexus and Chevrolet clinched gold, all three with a score of 87%, with silver going to Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, and bronze to Audi, Toyota, Mazda and Opel.

“The service experience is typically a more difficult area for manufacturers, as it is not as exciting for the consumer as the initial sales process,” says Rice.

“They are, therefore, harder to please, and scores are usually lower for service then they are for sales. The average satisfaction for this category is 78%.”

In the LCV purchasing experience category, Isuzu, Toyota and Chevrolet topped the leaderboard, with Mitsubishi, Mazda and Ford second, and Nissan third.

This category had an average score of 88%.

Isuzu scored 93%, with Toyota and Chevrolet at 92%.

For the LCV servicing award, there were a myriad of gold medal winners, with Mitsubishi, Toyota, Chevrolet, Isuzu and Nissan all top of the log. Ford and Mazda took silver, and Fiat bronze.

The average score for this category was 80%.

Not all the vehicle brands were included in the Synovate survey, for various reasons. This could be because the manufacturer chose not to participate, or because the sample was too small.