Here Are The Detroit Car Brands That Top Customer Service Satisfaction

When it comes to customer satisfaction with dealer service, General Motors' dealers get it done, according to the J.D. Power 2019 Customer Service Index study.

Among luxury brands, Cadillac moved up a spot from last year and landed in third place, displacing Audi, which tumbled to the eighth spot. Cadillac has been working to improve its vehicle quality after landing low on J.D. Power's U.S. Vehicle Dependability studies.

More: Lexus, Toyota, Porsche top list of most reliable cars in America, J.D. Power says

Number one this year was Porsche and second was Lexus, according to the study released Thursday.

Ford's luxury brand Lincoln came in below the industry average at seventh out of 12 luxury brands on the list.

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Among 19 mass market brands, Buick ranks number one for the third consecutive year on the J.D. Power 2019 Customer Service Index. (Photo: Jim Fets, Buick)

Among the 19 mass market brands, Buick ranks number one for the third consecutive year. MINI ranks second, followed by Mitsubishi, Chevrolet, GMC and Toyota. Ford landed at number 13, Chrysler was ranked 15 followed by Dodge, Jeep, RAM and Fiat respectively. Ford and FCA brands were all below the industry average.

“This is an important area of opportunity for dealers,” said Chris Sutton, J.D. Power's vice president of U.S. Automotive Retail Practice. “Seemingly simple things like completing service right the first time; returning settings to how they were when the customer brought the vehicle in for service; and washing the customer’s vehicle—all three of which are key performance indicators—can affect their perception of service quality."

Doing it right

Sutton said that completing repairs right the first time is done 94 percent of the time on average and returning settings on the car is done 81 percent of the time, but washing the customer's car is only done 45 percent of the time.

"These basics are really building blocks to cementing the customer’s relationship with their dealer," said Sutton.

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J.D. Power 2019 Customer Service Index study found completing repairs right the first time is done 94 percent of the time on average, but washing the customer's car is only done 45 percent of the time. (Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The 2019 U.S. CSI Study is based on responses from 57,286 owners and lessees of 2016 to 2018 model-year vehicles. The study was fielded from October through December 2018.

The study measures satisfaction with service at a franchised dealer or independent service facility for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of 1- to 3-year-old vehicles.

GM said it's vitally important to rank high in customer service and sales satisfaction.

"We know if a customer has a great service experience with their vehicle, they're far more likely to stay loyal to the brand when it comes time to repurchase," said Jim Cain, GM spokesman.

Case in point: In January, IHS Markit said GM earned the highest customer loyalty among all automakers selling in the United States for the fourth year in a row.

The J.D. Power study found that service customers increasingly want the convenience that technology offers them, said Sutton.

"For example, 34 percent of customers indicate they prefer to communicate via text message — but this only occurs 9 percent of the time!" said Sutton. "There’s no reason why this isn’t a more widely adopted practice across the industry."

Cain credits technology, such as GM's OnStar, as one of the ways GM's brands have scored well.

"With OnStar, you can download the phone app and get service reminders either through your phone or email and schedule service with your phone or even through the touchscreen on your car," said Cain. "That makes the whole experience easy and convenient for the customer."

Also, said Cain, over the past five years, most GM dealers have either remodeled or built new service lanes or showrooms to make them more efficient and inviting. 

Those new facilities do make a difference given it is one of the measurements J.D. Power uses to rank the car brands. In fact, "service facility" accounts for 17 percent of the brand's score, said Sutton.

Luxury brand ranking

J.D. Power provides a numerical index ranking of the highest-performing U.S. automotive brands. The ranking is based on the combined scores of five different measures that comprise the vehicle owner service experience: Service quality, service initiation, service advisor, service facility, and vehicle pick-up. 

1: Porsche

2: Lexus

3: Cadillac

4: Infiniti

5: Mercedes-Benz

6: Acura

7: Lincoln

8: Audi

9: BMW

10: Volvo

11: Jaguar

12: Land Rover

Mass market brand ranking:

1: Buick

2: MINI

3: Mitsubishi

4: Chevrolet

5: GMC

6: Toyota

7: Nissan

8: Volkswagen

9: Subaru

10: Kia

11: Hyundai

12: Honda

13: Ford

14: Mazda

15: Chrysler

16: Dodge

17: Jeep

18: RAM

19: Fiat

Contact Jamie L. LaReau at 313-222-2149 or >[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter > @ jlareauan

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