JD Power: Lack of New Vehicle Inventory Reduced Sales Satisfaction in 2022

For more than 37 years, JD Power has provided annual consumer satisfaction reports based on consumer insights, consulting services, data and analytics. The recently released JD Power 2022 US Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) study shows that customer satisfaction with the vehicle buying experience has declined for the first time in more than 10 years. The 2022 study shows that overall sales satisfaction fell to 786 (on a 1,000 point scale) from 789 in 2021.

The results are hardly surprising given that the inventory of new vehicles remains very low and transaction prices have increased considerably — and consumers are not happy about it. New vehicle production has been hit hard by the pandemic and automakers are still trying to catch up in a post-pandemic world.

In 2021, new vehicle prices have increased and consumer satisfaction has been offset by higher than expected trade-in values. But in 2022, new-vehicle inventories have shrunk further, allowing a higher rate of dealerships to charge more than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). This has led to a decline in the Satisfaction Index for Fairness of Price Paid and the variety of physical and online inventory has fallen in each of the past three years.

“Even in the face of a continued shortage of new vehicle inventory and general inflationary pressure, dealers have been able to maintain a consistent level of sales satisfaction,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail. at JD Power. “With the supply chain being an ongoing issue with no short-term fix, dealers have had to use additional tools at their disposal, such as special orders and more personal customer management, to maintain sales satisfaction. However, when dealerships charge more than MSRP, especially with long-term loyal customers, they risk a potential long-term negative effect on customer advocacy and service businesses.

Another important finding of the study is that electric vehicle (EV) buyers continue to have less satisfying sales experiences than gasoline vehicle buyers in the premium and mainstream segments. For example, consumer satisfaction among battery electric vehicle (BEV) owners is 56 points lower than gasoline vehicle owners (791 vs. 847). In addition, the satisfaction of owners of high-end BEVs is 33 points lower than that of owners of gasoline vehicles (831 versus 864).

“If electric vehicles are to be the wave of the future, rapid improvements must be made to close the gaps in factors such as product knowledge and vehicle delivery,” Sutton said. “There’s no doubt that the products are coming, but from a customer shopping experience perspective, the dealerships just aren’t there yet.”

In the JD Power 2022 study, four key findings should be considered in order to improve overall consumer satisfaction. The four areas that would help increase consumer satisfaction were sticker prices, special orders, electric vehicle instructions, and digital retail.

List pricing for new vehicles contributed to buyer dissatisfaction as many dealers were pressured to charge more than the suggested price for new vehicles – this practice had a negative effect on overall satisfaction. The satisfaction of buyers who paid more than the list price is 757, while the satisfaction of those who paid the list price is 850. Another interesting finding: 25% of buyers of mainstream vehicles paid more than the MSRP , compared to only 19% of buyers of high-end vehicles. then.

Special orders increased consumer satisfaction levels compared to those who purchased from a dealership. Buyers who specially ordered a vehicle for later delivery were rated at 854, while those who bought a vehicle from the dealer lot were rated at 841. Additionally, dealer communication of the condition of the vehicle during the ordering and building process contributes to a real differentiation of the customer experience.

The EV instruction has been very surprising in consumer satisfaction. The study shows that 38% of electric vehicle buyers did not receive instructions on how to charge electric vehicles before leaving the dealership. Satisfaction is 872 among buyers of premium electric vehicles who received a demonstration, but drops to 709 when there was no demonstration. Among mainstream EV buyers, satisfaction is 835 and declines to 717 when there was no demonstration.

“Explaining how to charge the vehicle should be a mandatory part of every EV delivery,” Sutton said. “Sellers don’t need to show gasoline vehicle buyers how to fill their tank, but they need to show EV buyers how to charge their vehicle.”

Satisfaction with digital retailing has made lack of inventory less important to visit dealerships as shoppers have become more comfortable with shopping and shopping activities online. This year, 85% of buyers say they visited a dealership during the buying process, up from 88% in 2021. Additionally, 18% of buyers who purchased a vehicle say they completed the purchase paperwork online, compared to 13% a year ago. Additionally, the final purchase price was agreed online by 18% of buyers compared to 15% in 2021.

The JD Power 2022 US Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) study was based on responses from 36,879 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle from March through May 2022.

Buyer satisfaction is based on six factors (in order of importance): the delivery process (26%); concessionaire staff (24%); closing the deal (19%); completing paperwork (18%); concession (10%); and the dealership website (4%). Rejector satisfaction is based on five factors: seller (40%); price (23%); establishment (14%); the variety of stocks (11%); and negotiation (11%).

Image selected by Paul Fosse/CleanTechnica

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