The newly released Prospect Satisfaction Index U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study by Pied Piper Management Company has ranked Nissan’s Infiniti brand dealerships the highest for a second year.
Toyota’s Lexus brand ranks second, and dealerships selling Mercedes-Benz are ranked third.
Pied Piper’s process to determine its rankings includes “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success.
Between last July and this past June, the company measured in-dealership treatment of car-shoppers by deploying 5,289 hired anonymous “mystery shoppers” to dealerships located across the country.
“Today nine out of ten car-shoppers gather information on-line before they ever visit a dealership,” Fran O’Hagan, Pied Piper Management president and chief executive officer said in a news release. “Dealerships today have to work hard to be helpful from the first visit, because they may not have another opportunity.”
Tesla, Mitsubishi, Lincoln, Ram, Subaru and Chevrolet brands have improved the most from year to year, according to Pied Piper.
Tesla, which improved 8 points from 2016, had the most improvement of any brand, according to Pied Piper. The U.S. brands low PSI score resulted from high variability in sales process behaviors across Tesla stores, the company said.
“For example, Tesla staff on average asked how the vehicle would be used only about half the time (64%), asked about trade-ins 45% of the time, and suggested going through the numbers 56 percent of the time.” Pied Piper explained.
“About 23 percent of Tesla visits were exceptional experiences that under the PSI “letter grade” scale earned an “A,” with an average PSI score above 130. However, 32 percent of the visits earned a PSI letter grade of “D” or “F,” with an average PSI score below 75.
A total of 21 brands improved or remained the same from 2016 to 2017, while 12 brands declined. Declining brands include Jeep, Fiat, Volkswagen and BMW.
Nine brands consistently ranking at or above the industry average each year includes Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Audi, BMW and Kia.
Chevrolet, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Fiat are five brands that have scored below the industry average for each of the past five years.
For more information about the Prospect Satisfaction Index and Pied Piper’s scoring process, visit www.piedpiperpsi.com.