Repost: US News & World Report.
If the dealership experience is what matters to you when car shopping, buy a Lexus. Toyota's luxury division topped J.D. Power and Associates' annual Customer Service Index this year.
Edmunds Inside Line comments, "The study measures dealer performance through experiences with going to a service department for maintenance and repairs in the first three years of vehicle ownership. J.D. Power surveys five categories: service quality, service initiation, service advisor, service facility and vehicle pickup. Top marks went to Lexus, with 835 points out of a possible 1,000. Last year, Lexus was 4th. The lowest score went to Suzuki, at 702."
In a press release explaining the results, J.D. Power says, "The study, now in its 29th year, examines satisfaction among vehicle owners who visit a service department for maintenance or repair work. The CSI rankings are based on dealer performance during the first three years of ownership, which typically represent the majority of the vehicle warranty period." This year, 106,059 owners of 2004 - 2008 model year vehicles completed the survey.
Last year's winner, Jaguar, continued to perform well, coming in second. Jaguar also recently claimed the top spot in J.D. Powers' Sales Satisfaction Index Survey, which measures consumers' impressions of the car buyer experience.
BMW, Cadillac and Acura rounded out the top five in customer service. Only two non-luxury brands snuck into the top ten - Buick and Saturn, both GM nameplates.
As dealerships struggle in 2009, customer service will become increasingly important to their bottom line - and their survival. Edmunds notes, "Consumers who called their dealership experiences ‘unacceptable' spent eight times as much at ‘non-dealer service facilities' as those who called their dealership experiences ‘truly exceptional.'"