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Dealer Service Satisfaction Improves but Appointment Wait Times Continue to Grow, J.D. Power Finds

Lexus Ranks Highest among Premium Brands for Third Consecutive Year; Buick Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands

While customer satisfaction with the dealer service experience has rebounded this year, dealers continue to grapple with parts and labor shortages that are fueling longer wait times for appointments, according to the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study,SM released today. Overall customer service satisfaction improves five points to 851 (on a 1,000-point scale).

“It’s encouraging to see an improvement in service satisfaction but, unfortunately, the capacity and wait time issues have gotten progressively worse since the pandemic and show no immediate signs of easing up,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power. “Excluding Tesla owners, the service experience for BEV owners is underwhelming. As sales of BEVs continue to grow and the industry moves out of the early-adopter phase, the typical owner will not be as willing to tolerate a less-than-stellar service and ownership experience. On the manufacturer side, a higher rate of BEV recalls is also contributing to an inconsistent experience. This is an area that automakers and dealers need to address now to help make the transition to electrification as pain-free as possible for owners in the future.”

Contributing to the poor service experience of non-Tesla BEV owners is a notable lack of trust with servicing dealers to perform complex repairs and provide useful guidance. Overall dealer trust among non-Tesla BEV owners is 5.62 (on a 7-point scale) but jumps to 6.00 among owners of gas-powered vehicles owners and 5.74 among plug-in hybrid (PHEV) owners.

The study, now in its 44th year, has grown to include emerging features such as valet service, mobile vehicle servicing and online/smartphone app payment options to gauge the effect these processes have on the service experience. The study measures satisfaction with service at franchised dealer or aftermarket service facilities for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of one- to three-year-old vehicles. It also provides a numerical index ranking of the highest-performing automotive brands sold in the United States, which is based on the combined scores of five measures that comprise the vehicle owner service experience. These measures are (in order of importance): service quality; service advisor; vehicle pick-up; service facility; and service initiation. In 2023, model segment rankings were added to the study to differentiate between the service needs of cars, trucks, SUVs and minivans.

Following are key findings of the 2024 study:

  • Appointment wait times for mass market vehicles continue to increase: On average, owners of mass market vehicles wait 5.2 days for an appointment at the dealer, up from 4.8 days in 2023, while owners of premium vehicles wait 5.4 days—slightly better than a year ago. Wait times in both segments are still significantly higher when compared with pre-pandemic levels.
  • Customers want prompt service appointments: Longer wait times at dealers are driving more customers to aftermarket service facilities. Among customers in the mass market segment, 35% now choose aftermarket service because of the ability to be seen right away, surpassing cheaper costs (34%) as a reason for choosing such service. Notable, too, is that 55% of customers choose aftermarket service due to convenience of location.
  • Technology improves service experience: Using technology is an important part of enhancing the service experience. Customers are four times as likely to indicate they would like to get service updates via text message (68%) than a phone call (16%). Additionally, when service advisors provide photos or videos to support the results of a multi-point inspection (MPI), customer satisfaction with their advisor improves 31 points than when no photos or videos are shared (911 vs. 880).
  • Amount spent per dealer visit continues to climb: During the past two years, the average amount spent on a recent dealer service visit has risen 30% for owners of both premium and mass market vehicles. Owners of premium vehicles pay an average of $380, up $66 from 2023, while owners of mass market vehicles pay $140, a year-over-year increase of $15. Among customers whose service is not covered by warranty or a maintenance contract, these increases can be attributed to inflation and higher costs for parts and labor.
  • Non-Tesla BEV owners are the least satisfied of them all: Owners of non-Tesla BEVs experience recalls slightly more than twice as often as do owners of gas-powered vehicles. Compounding the problem, overall service satisfaction with recall work is 782 among these affected owners—50 points lower than among owners of gas-powered vehicles (832). In fact, non-Tesla BEV owners have the lowest satisfaction with recall work across all other major vehicle categories, including diesel (831), hybrids (827) and PHEVs (821).

Highest-Ranking Brands and Segments

Lexus ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among premium brands for a third consecutive year, with a score of 897. Porsche (894) ranks second and Cadillac (883) ranks third.

Buick ranks highest in satisfaction with dealer service among mass market brands with a score of 887. MINI (884) ranks second and Subaru (877) ranks third.

MINI (877) ranks highest in the mass market car segment, followed by Subaru (874) and Mazda (867).

Buick ranks highest among mass market SUVs/minivans with a score of 887. Mitsubishi (877) and Subaru (877) each rank second in a tie.

Porsche (902) ranks highest in the premium car segment, followed by Infiniti (900) and Lexus (892).

Lexus ranks highest in the premium SUV segment for a second consecutive year, with a score of 898. Porsche (889) ranks second and Cadillac (882) ranks third.

Nissan ranks highest in the truck segment for a second consecutive year, with a score of 873. Chevrolet (856) ranks second and Toyota (855) ranks third.

See the rank chart for each segment at http://www.jdpower.com/pr-id/2024020.

The 2024 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study is based on responses from 64,781 verified registered owners and lessees of 2021 to 2023 model-year vehicles. J.D. Power goes to great lengths to ensure that survey respondents are true owners of the brand they are representing. The study was fielded from August through December 2023.

For more information about the U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study, visit

https://www.jdpower.com/business/automotive/us-customer-service-index-csi-study

About J.D. Power

J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services, and data and analytics. A pioneer in the use of big data, artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithmic modeling capabilities to understand consumer behavior, J.D. Power has been delivering incisive industry intelligence on customer interactions with brands and products for more than 50 years. The world's leading businesses across major industries rely on J.D. Power to guide their customer-facing strategies.

J.D. Power has offices in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. To learn more about the company's business offerings, visit JDPower.com/business. The J.D. Power auto-shopping tool can be found at JDPower.com.

About J.D. Power and Advertising/Promotional Rules: http://www.jdpower.com/business/about-us/press-release-info

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