Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, 01:57 AM UPDATED 2:17 AMBy Auto Remarketing Staff
Mercedes-Benz has once again swept the top spots in the annual report from Women-Drivers.com that highlights what women consider the top car brands.
The luxury carmaker’s dealers were not only lauded as the best for the female shopper’s purchasing experience, they also claimed top honors for the browsing experience, as well.
But Mercedes-Benz wasn’t the only automaker whose dealers earned kudos from Women-Drivers.com; several other brands got high praise from female shoppers, including two that cracked the top five for both lists.
So how do the site’s annual awards work?
Women-Drivers.com said it monitors thousands of reviews from consumers annually to see what women are saying about their purchasing and browsing experiences at new-car dealerships.
The site compiles the scores based on these reviews. Dealers can earn a Women Satisfaction Index score on Women-Drivers.com that ranges from 1.0 (lowest) to 5.0 (highest). Those earning between a 3.8 and a 5.0 earn designation as CERTIFIED Women‐Drivers Friendly, the site said.
As for why “browsing” is measured, the site offered this explanation: “Women now account for over half of all car purchases; however, they influence and initiate an estimated 80 percent of them. One of the reasons the company captures the ‘browsing’ is that on average women visit three dealerships when in the market for a new vehicle; the higher a dealership’s browsing score is a critical indication that consumers were treated well and will return to this dealership to buy.”
Women-Drivers.com president and car-buying advocate Anne Fleming said: “When a woman walks into a dealership that treats her with respect and engages her during the buying process, the dealership is out to gain a purchase from that customer. It’s pretty simple, respect plus customer engagement equals sale and potential future purchases. And clearly, these dealerships get that.”
According to the site, there is a “positive correlation” between the WSI and customer satisfaction index, with many dealers having WSI scores seeing a positive impact on CSI.
Breakdown of Top Brands’ Dealers
On the purchasing experience side, Mercedes-Benz earned “an almost perfect” 4.90 WSI score. Lexus was No. 2 having received a score of 4.83.
Chrysler Group brands Dodge (4.78), Chrysler (4.76) and Jeep (4.75) rounded out the top five, which Women-Drivers.com said is “quite a testimony to this family of brands, and how well the in-store buying experience is for their women shoppers.”
Overall, the average brand had a WSI score of 4.46 on the purchasing side. Women-Drivers.com noted that the high-ranking automakers “ranked consistently high with women customers who were very satisfied with the engagement and treatment by the sales person, their overall dealership experience, as well as the financing process.”
As for the browsing experience ratings — which would be comprised by “women customers who went to a dealership but did not purchase that day” — top-ranked Mercedes earned a score of 4.59.
Jeep (4.53) and Lexus (4.10) cracked the top five on this list, as well, placing second and fifth, respectively.
In third was Mazda (4.38) while Chevrolet was fourth (4.24).
On average, brands earned a WSI of 4.01 for the browsing experience.
“These top brands ranked consistently high with women customers who were very satisfied with the engagement and treatment by the sales person and their overall dealership experience,” the company said. “The higher a dealership’s browsing score, the higher the probability that women will return there to purchase.”
The complete set of rankings is as follows:
The Top 15 Brands for Purchasing Experiences at Dealerships
1. Mercedes-Benz: 4.90
2. Lexus: 4.83
3. Dodge: 4.78
4. Chrysler: 4.76
5. Jeep: 4.75
6. Lincoln: 4.72
7. Acura: 4.55
8. Chevrolet: 4.51
9. Buick: 4.48
10. Honda: 4.39
11. GMC: 4.38
12. Toyota and Mazda: 4.36
13. Cadillac: 4.35
14. Ford and KIA: 4.33
15. Hyundai: 4.23
The Top 15 Brands for Browsing Experiences at Dealerships
1. Mercedes-Benz: 4.59
2. Jeep: 4.53
3. Mazda: 4.38
4. Chevrolet: 4.24
5. Lexus: 4.10
6. Chrysler: 4.07
7. GMC: 4.02
8. Hyundai: 3.99
9. Acura and Ford: 3.97
10. Dodge: 3.92
11. KIA: 3.82
12. Volkswagen: 3.67
13. Audi: 3.44
14. Buick & Cadillac: 3.37
15. Toyota: 3.26
*The site notes: “Some brands are not represented in this report because they were no longer being marketed in 2012, or, due to lack of statistically significant data.”
Women-Drivers.com also provided the following graph to illustrate some of its findings: