MONTEREY, Calif. — Infiniti dealerships treat its customers best, at least according to the newly released 2016 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index (PSI) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking study. Now in its 10th year, the study measures how car shoppers are treated at the dealership.
This was the first year that Infiniti ranked highest among all other competitors, although the brand has consistently ranked at or above the industry average. For the past five years, Infiniti, BMW, Cadillac, Honda, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen have all ranked at or above the industry average.
“There is no question that the typical dealership sells more effectively today than it did 10 years ago,” said Fran O’Hagan, president and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC. “However, plenty of variability remains. We have watched some brands completely change the way that they sell, while others sell today no differently than they did 10 years ago.”
Porsche, Land Rover and Mitsubishi showed the most improvement year over year. On the other side of the spectrum, Mini and Tesla showed year-over-year declines in PSI. Pied Piper has found that, on average, when auto dealerships are ranked by their PSI score, dealerships in the top quarter sell 16% more vehicles than the dealerships in the bottom quarter.
The study also found that certain salesperson behaviors have increased since its inception. Salespeople are now more likely to mention the availability of different financing or leasing options. They’re also more likely to ask customers what's preventing their purchase of a new vehicle, and are more likely to discuss features that are unique to their brand.
However, the study also found that some behaviors decreased compared to 10 years ago. Less salespeople offer printed materials to take home, ask how a vehicle will be used or why the customer is considering a particular brand.
The study was conducted between July 2015 and June 2016 using 6,157 hired anonymous mystery shoppers at dealerships throughout the United States.