Brand Reputation and Customer Loyalty Are Critical For Automakers in Competitive Mexican Market
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Mercedes-Benz Ranks Highest among Premium Brands in New-Vehicle Sales Satisfaction in Mexico; Dodge Ranks Highest among Non-Premium Brands
MEXICO CITY: 21 May 2015 — As the new-vehicle market in Mexico heats up, so does the competition among the automakers as they build their brand reputation and customer loyalty to boost sales, according to the J.D. Power 2015 Mexico Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM released today.
The study, now in its second year, is a comprehensive analysis of the new-vehicle purchase and delivery experience and examines customer satisfaction with the selling dealer across five measures (listed in order of importance): working out the deal (33%); delivery process (27%); salesperson (22%); dealership facility (11%); and test drive (7%). Overall satisfaction is calculated on a 1,000-point scale.
New-vehicle sales in Mexico increased by 6.8 percent in 2014 and are expected to grow another 10.8 percent to 1.25 million in 2015. Sales in the first quarter of 2015 increased 22.9 percent compared to the same period in 2014. As the market grows, so does the level of competition, especially with the addition of new brands in 2014 and others coming soon.
Study findings show that new-vehicle buyers in Mexico select their vehicle based on previous experience with the brand and the brand’s reputation much more than on a low purchase price.
“Automakers are benefitting from cultivating their brand through ownership of their vehicles and through marketing to increase brand recognition,” said Gerardo Gomez, director and country manager at J.D. Power de México. “While automakers are trying to differentiate themselves with free service contracts and longer warranties, buyers are going with the brands they know and trust. Customer relationships and engagement will drive the future business at the dealership.”
Among buyers of non-premium vehicles, which account for 96 percent of all new-vehicle sales in Mexico, 31 percent select their vehicle based on their previous experience with the brand and 29 percent based on the brand’s “good reputation/reliability.” Less than one-fifth (17%) of buyers cite “low purchase price” and “vehicle safety” as primary purchase reasons.
In the premium vehicle segment, “good reputation/reliability of the brand” and “attractive design/styling” are each cited by 41 percent of buyers as their primary reason for selecting their vehicle. Only 6 percent of premium buyers say that a “low purchase price” factored into their purchase decision.
“Dealer had the exact vehicle I wanted” and “closest dealer with brand I wanted” are the top two reasons buyers in Mexico select a specific dealership, cited by 33 percent and 25 percent of new-vehicle buyers, respectively. The “dealer’s reputation” is also an important factor, cited by 23 percent of new-vehicle buyers overall and 35 percent of premium-vehicle buyers.
- Overall sales satisfaction in the luxury segment increases to 842 in 2015 from 823 in 2014, and drops to 810 from 821 in the mass market segment.
- Encouraging shoppers to test drive can impact sales satisfaction. Overall sales satisfaction among buyers who took a test drive averages 833. Satisfaction drops to 815 among those who are offered a test drive but don’t take one, and falls considerably to 761 when a test drive vehicle is not available and to 716 when a test drive isn’t even offered.
- However, only 44 percent of buyers took a test drive at the dealership from which they purchased their vehicle. While this is an increase from 36 percent in 2014, it still is much lower than in other markets, such as the United States (84%) and Brazil (59%).
- The delivery process is an important aspect of the vehicle purchase process, especially with more technology and features for customers to learn in today’s vehicles. Among buyers indicating their salesperson spent enough time explaining the vehicle during delivery, the median time spent with them is 35 minutes, compared with 20 minutes among those indicating the salesperson did not spend enough time.
- Customer loyalty can be impacted by the delivery experience. Among buyers who indicate the salesperson spent enough time during the delivery process, 49 percent say they “definitely will” consider buying another vehicle from that dealership in the future, compared with only 28 percent among those who indicate the delivery process was too short.
Mercedes-Benz ranks highest among luxury brands, with a score of 868. Mercedes-Benz performs particularly well in all five measures of overall satisfaction. BMW ranks second (853) and Audi third (846).
Dodge ranks highest among mass market brands, with a score of 845. Mazda ranks second (828) and Ford third (821).
The 2015 Mexico Sales Satisfaction Index Study is based on the evaluations of 3,148 new-vehicle owners in Mexico after one to seven months of ownership. The study was fielded December 2014 through April 2015.
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 Sources: J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index StudySM and J.D. Power 2014 Brazil Sales Satisfaction Index StudySM.