WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Releasing its 2008 Consumer Financing Satisfaction study today, J.D. Power and Associates reported that two import financial arms and one domestic captive took top honors in the various segments analyzed.

More specifically, BMW Financial Services, Ford Credit and Hyundai Motor Finance Co. each ranked highest in their respective segments in satisfying customers with the new-vehicle financing process.

Basically, this study measures customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle financing process and examines the intentions, priorities, influences and preferences of new-vehicle buyers and lessees.

J.D. Power found that involving customers in the finance provider selection process can lead to higher satisfaction with a lender, as well as to higher rates of intended loyalty and advocacy.

Among customers who arrive at the dealership with a lender preference and use that lender to finance their new vehicle, overall satisfaction averaged 837.

In addition, 48 percent of these customers indicate that they "definitely will" use the lender again and 50 percent say they "definitely will" recommend the lender to others.

On the other hand, satisfaction averaged 746 among customers who intend to have the dealer work out financing arrangements for them.

Only 22 percent of these customers say they "definitely will" use the lender again and 23 percent say they "definitely will" recommend the lender.

"Because customers who are more involved with the finance provider selection process tend to be more satisfied, it's essential for lenders to proactively communicate with existing customers and reach out to potential new customers," explained Rich Howse, senior director of the automotive finance practice at J.D. Power.

"Satisfying customers contributes to increased levels of loyalty and advocacy — both of which can have a strong financial impact — and is particularly important amid the current uncertain economic environment," he highlighted.

The study also reported that online research for financing options among new-vehicle buyers has increased to 64 percent of luxury customers and 55 percent of non-luxury customers.

More than 30 percent of luxury-vehicle owners report that Internet research has a considerable impact on their finance provider selection, while 26 percent of non-luxury-vehicle owners say the same.

Overall, four factors were examined to determine customer satisfaction with auto finance providers: application approval process; customer contact; payment/billing process; and provider offering.

Luxury Loan Segment Rankings

BMW Financial Services took home the top ranking in this category with a score of 860 on a 1,000-point scale.

According to officials, the financial institution performed particularly well in three factors driving satisfaction: application approval process; finance provider offering; and payment/billing process.

GMAC (798) and Honda Financial Services (792) followed BMW Financial Services in the segment.

Luxury Lease Segment Rankings

For a second consecutive year, BMW Financial Services (786) also grabbed the top spot in the luxury lease segment.

Executives explained that the financial arm performed particularly well in payment/billing process.

Ford Credit followed BMW Financial Services with 785, and Honda Financial Services ranked third at 781.

Non-Luxury Loan Segment Rankings

Performing well in finance provider offering, Hyundai Motor Finance Co. ranked highest among non-luxury loan providers with 795.

Meanwhile, Ford Credit at 786 and Mazda American Credit at 780 followed in this category.

Non-Luxury Lease Segment Rankings

A domestic captive grabbed top honors in this division. Taking home the prize was Ford Credit at 787. J.D. Power indicated that Ford Credit performed particularly well in the application approval process.

Additionally, Volkswagen Credit at 780 and Honda Financial Services at 772 followed Ford Credit in the rankings.

The 2008 Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study was based on responses from 27,964 consumers who financed their new vehicle during the past five to seven months. The study was fielded between May and September 2008.

Complete rankings are as follows:

Luxury Loan Segment

1. BMW Financial Services


3. Honda Financial Services

4. Mercedes-Benz Financial

5. Infiniti Financial Services

Segment Average: 776

6. Lexus Financial Services

7. Chase Auto Finance

8. Bank of America


Luxury Lease Segment

1. BMW Financial Services

2. Ford Credit

3. Honda Financial Services

4. Lexus Financial Services

Segment Average: 767

5. Mercedes-Benz Financial

6. Audi Financial Services


8. Infiniti Financial Services

9. Volvo Car Finance


Non-Luxury Loan Segment

1. Hyundai Motor Finance Co.

2. Ford Credit

3. Mazda American Credit


5. Honda Financial Services

6. Volkswagen Credit

7. Chrysler Financial

8. Toyota Financial Services

9. Nissan Motor Acceptance

Segment Average: 739

10. Mitsubishi Motors Credit

11. Subaru Motors Finance

12. U.S. Bank

13. Regions

14. Bank of America

15. Wachovia Dealer Services

16. Branch Banking and Trust

17. Chase Auto Finance

18. Harris Bank

19. Citizens/Charter One Auto Finance

20. CitiFinancial Auto

21. SunTrust Bank

22. Capital One Auto Finance

23. Sovereign Bank

24. Huntington National Bank

25. Fifth Third Bank


Non-Luxury Lease Segment

1. Ford Credit

2. Volkswagen Credit

3. Honda Financial Services


5. Toyota Financial Services

Segment Average: 752

6. Chrysler Financial

7. Mazda American Credit

8. Nissan Motor Acceptance

9. Subaru Finance