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Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service Lags among Mini-Car Owners Who Previously Owned a Mass Market Brand

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Lexus Ranks Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Dealer Service among Luxury Brands; MINI Ranks Highest among Mass Market Brands

TOKYO: 26 September 2012 — In the face of mounting competition from major makes, mini-car dealerships are facing a severe challenge in satisfying customers in after services, particularly among owners who have switched from domestic mass market brands, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2012 Japan Customer Service Index (CSI) StudySM released today.

The study, now in its 11th year, measures overall customer satisfaction with service performed at automotive dealer facilities based on five factors (in order of importance): service representative (23%); service charge (22%); service content (21%); service system/process (19%); and facility (15%). Overall customer satisfaction is reported as an index score based on a 1,000-point scale.

The study finds that among customers who switched from a domestic mass market brand to a mini-car brand,  overall customer satisfaction with the dealer service averages 584 points, compared with 596 points among customers who have stayed with mini-car brands.

Overall satisfaction among customers who switched from a domestic mass market brand to a mini-car1 brand is 584 points, which is 32 points lower than among those who switched conversely. The former group expressed lower satisfaction in all factors examined in the study, particularly in service representative, service system/process and service content. Significant gaps were identified in the service representative's attitude and demeanor toward the customer; service proposals regarding service needs/vehicle condition; and prompt and courteous work. Customers who switched from a domestic mass market brand to a mini-car brand also indicate that dealers execute fewer key service activities.

"The mini-car segment, which currently accounts for one third of total industry volume in Japan, is becoming a main battlefield with major players announcing launches of their min-car models," said Taku Kimoto, executive director of the automotive division at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Tokyo. "Competition from major makes, such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan, has not only posed a threat to conventional mini-car brands in gaining and retaining customers, but creates a severe challenge to the mini-car dealerships, who typically are less competitive in terms of size, resources and quality of customer handling. Improvements in customer service, basic courtesy and the overall service process are urgently needed."

According to Kimoto, the inability to provide services that measure up to these expectations may directly impact customer intentions to return to the selling dealers for service, routine maintenance, shaken2 inspections, and other services, as well as repurchase and recommendation intentions for the selling dealer.

Overall service satisfaction averages 617 index points in 2012 in both the luxury and mass market brand segments combined. Lexus ranks highest in the luxury segment with an overall CSI score of 761 points, which is 64 points higher than the segment average of 697. Lexus performs particularly well in all five factors. Following Lexus in the segment rankings are BMW (703); Mercedes Benz (674); and Audi (670).

MINI ranks highest in the mass market brand segment with a score of 628 points. MINI performs particularly well in the service representative, service content and facility factors. Honda (627) ranks second in the segment, performing particularly well in service system/process. Nissan (626) ranks third, and Toyota and Volkswagen (618 each) tie for fourth.

The 2012 Japan Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study measures passenger vehicle owner satisfaction with after-sales service obtained during the most recent one-year period at the dealership where the vehicle was purchased. The study is based on responses from 12,513 domestic and import vehicle owners after 15 to 50 months of ownership. The online survey was fielded from late May to late June 2012.

The Japan Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study is one of eight consumer-based benchmark studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific in Japan. Other 2012 studies conducted by J.D. Power Asia Pacific include:

  • The Japan Winter Tire Customer Satisfaction Index Study was released in late May 2012
  • The Japan Initial Quality Study (IQS), which measures problems experienced by new-vehicle owners during the first two to nine months of ownership, was released in late August 2012.
  • The Japan Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which measures satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales process, was released in late August 2012.
  • The Japan Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which measures what excites and delights owners about their new vehicle's performance and design during the first two to nine months of ownership, will be released in late September 2012.
  • The Japan Original Equipment Tire Satisfaction Study will be released in October.
  • The Japan Navigation Systems Customer Satisfaction Index Study, which measures customer satisfaction with original equipment and aftermarket navigation systems, will be released in October 2012.
  • The Japan Replacement Tire Satisfaction Study will be released in November 2012.
1 Mini-car brands refer to makes that primarily sell mini-cars--Daihatsu and Suzuki. Domestic mass market brands refer to Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, Subaru, and Mitsubishi.

2 Shaken inspections are performed to ensure that vehicles are properly maintained, safe to be on the road and have not been illegally modified. These inspections are required every two to three years.

About J.D. Power Asia Pacific

J.D. Power Asia Pacific has offices in Tokyo, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai and Bangkok that conduct customer satisfaction research and provide consulting services in the automotive, information technology and finance industries. Together, the five offices bring the language of customer satisfaction to consumers and businesses in China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. Information regarding J.D. Power Asia Pacific and its products can be accessed through the Internet at Media e-mail contact:

About J.D. Power and Associates

Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a global marketing information services company operating in key business sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement, Web intelligence and customer satisfaction.  The company's quality and satisfaction measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually.  For more information on car reviews and ratings, car insurance, health insurance, cell phone ratings, and more, please visit J.D. Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.

About The McGraw-Hill Companies

McGraw-Hill announced on September 12, 2011, its intention to separate into two companies: McGraw-Hill Financial, a leading provider of content and analytics to global financial markets, and McGraw-Hill Education, a leading education company focused on digital learning and education services worldwide. McGraw-Hill Financial's leading brands include Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, S&P Capital IQ, S&P Dow Jones Indices, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. With sales of $6.2 billion in 2011, the Corporation has approximately 23,000 employees across more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at

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