Thursday

Jaguar Best in Quality Survey

Jaguar comes in best, at the top of the heap, in the 2006 JD Power quality survey for customer satisfaction for the third year in a row.

The new car quality survey is based on more than 42,000 new vehicle buyers and looks at dealership facility, salesperson, the paperwork process, financing, the delivery process, and vehicle price.

Overall the entire new car sales industry score was 847 out of 1,000. Jaguar posted 912, Cadillac was 891, Porsche 889, Lexus 887, and Volvo at 883. Landing below average was Mitsubishi and Suzuki at 794 each and VW at 827.

The survey matters because studies show that nearly half of all car shoppers walk away from a dealership because they feel poorly treated. Given the way some dealers act, that's no surprise to many consumers. The score may be an indicator of how well some brand dealers treat their customers.

The average time at a dealership to buy a new car is now about 3 hours. Part of the process, of course, is designed to make sure the dealer is in control of every aspect of what's happening to the customer. They don't need 3 hours to sell you a car. You don't need 3 hours to buy one either. They keep you there so they can sell a lot more than just that shiney new car.

One of the most profitable parts of the process for the dealership, the finance department, takes just over half an hour to get through. There's a lot more going on there than just signing paperwork, although that's what dealers try to make it seem like, in order to get you to let down your guard so they can sell you lots of other stuff with that new car.

In the F&I department, car dealers often work the customer thru a "menu" of extra items (it's called menu selling), trying to sell high profit soft add on's like extended warranties, gap insurance (which isn't really insurance at all in most states), credit insurance, and the latest money maker --- tire and wheel "protection" (sort of like an extended warranty on your wheels!).

Curiously, nearly a third of new car sales happen on the weekend and customers are consistently less happy with their purchase when it occurs on a weekend. To top it off, it takes an average of 22 minutes longer to get thru the process on the weekend too.

Part of that time length may be because the dealership is trying to push more soft add on's into the deal in the F&I part of the process, largely because of the huge profit markups. Sometimes the customer might not even realize their deal is being packed with lots of costly items they probably don't need.

If a dealer rips you off, don't put up with it. Contact us for help. Representing consumers against dishonest and unfair car dealers is what we do!