Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 14 December 2019

Toyota is the UAE's top car brand for consumer sales satisfaction

More customers are taking advantage of digital channels when buying new cars, study finds

Toyota comes out on top among mass market brands while Mercedes-Benz leads the luxury category. Reuters
Toyota comes out on top among mass market brands while Mercedes-Benz leads the luxury category. Reuters

Toyota scored the highest in a UAE ranking of consumer sales satisfaction among mass market brands, with Ford taking second place and Chevrolet third, a new study from global consumer insights company JD Power found.

The Japanese car maker secured a score of 819, compared to Ford’s 813 and Chevrolet’s 807, according to a UAE Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, which polled 1,884 buyers who purchased or leased a new vehicle between June 2018 and September 2019. The index measures how satisfied buyers are with the experience among new vehicle sales based on six criteria including the sales consultant, the delivery process, the paperwork and securing the best deal.

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz ranked highest in overall sales satisfaction among luxury brands, with a score of 826, followed by Infiniti in second position and Lexus in third.

The study also found that more customers are taking advantage of digital platforms during the process of buying a new car, with 57 per cent using digital tools in 2019, compared to 42 per cent in 2018.

“Dealerships are increasingly investing in customer-focused digital technology to provide a more transparent, convenient and efficient buying experience,” said Shantanu Majumdar, the region director of JD Power’s automotive practice.

“While digital tools help streamline some of the day-to-day processes, dealerships need to consider that not all customers may be comfortable or can appreciate the benefits of such tools. Human interaction will continue to be critical in crafting a memorable customer experience at the dealership, which can be complemented by a judicious use of digital tools.”

Toyota is a popular brand among consumers. Its Camry model was considered the most-viewed used car online in the UAE, according to a March report from classifieds site dubizzle Motors. The Japanese car model recorded over 1.18 million page views from users of the car marketplace in 2018.

In the JD Power study, satisfaction for customers who use the internet during their shopping process came in at 828 — on a 1,000-point scale — compared with 781 for those who do not.

These customers are also almost three times more likely to compare prices across dealerships compared to those who do not use the internet, at 49 per cent versus 17 per cent respectively. Dealers are also adding more technology to serve customers, with tablets, touchscreen monitors and smartphones now used to input customer needs, demonstrate vehicle features or to display price or payment information.

However, the study also found that digitalisation cannot replace human interaction entirely. Ninety-two per cent of customers still engage with dealers via a physical visit while 77 per cent interact over the phone.

While women make up almost a quarter of new car buyers, female customers have lower satisfaction levels compared to men, with a score of 797 versus 811, respectively.

Challenges women face at the dealership include attempts to change the originally promised price or having to return to the dealership to fix paperwork issues.

Updated: November 30, 2019 03:32 PM

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