Special Report

Car Brands With the Best (and Worst) Buyer Experience

Buying a new car is certainly an exciting experience, but it can also be a source of tremendous stress. While much of that stress relates to the substantial personal and financial commitment, the actual experience of going to a dealership, negotiating a price, and signing paperwork can be highly unpleasant. 

But according to a recent survey, the stress associated with buying a new car can depend on the brand of vehicle. To determine the car brands with the best and worst buyer experiences, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the results of J.D. Power’s 2019 Sales Satisfaction Index Study. In the survey, the consumer product review and analytics company measured customer satisfaction with the overall sales experience for major auto brands, rating the experience on a 1,000 point scale.

The Sales Satisfaction study asked consumers about their experience at dealerships nationwide, surveying both customers who ended up buying a certain brand and those who decided against buying the brand. Survey respondents rated brands based on elements such as the dealership personnel, the negotiation and delivery process, the fairness of the price, and the variety of inventory at the dealership. The brands on this list are ranked in order from the best buyer experience to the worst. 

As might be expected, luxury brands perform better in this ranking. Dealerships looking to court buyers who can afford higher prices likely must offer a better overall experience than mass-market sellers. In its press release for the 2019 Sales Satisfaction Survey, J.D. Power noted that luxury dealers were more likely to give a thorough explanation and demonstration of the vehicle than mass-market dealers. Out of the 11 car brands with the best-ranked brand experiences, eight are luxury brands. All but one of the 10 of the car brands with the lowest rated experiences are mass-market brands. Luxury brands also tend to rank best in overall customer satisfaction. These are the car brands with the happiest drivers

J.D. Power releases a separate rating — the Dealership Experience rating — which focuses on the experience of car owners not just in the buying process, but also after the fact, notably the experience of bringing in a purchased car for repairs. Most of the cars brands that perform well in the Sales Satisfaction Survey also rank well in the Dealership Experience score. 

In its press release, J.D. power noted that experience at the dealership — from the quality of sales personnel to the speed of delivery — can be a major factor in ensuring customers stay loyal with a given brand. These are the car brands with the most and least loyal customers.

Click here to see the car brands with the best (and worst) buyer experience.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.