Customer satisfaction with car buying has been at a low point over the past few years, as price increases, inventory shortages, and COVID restrictions have complicated every part of the process. There are signs of improvement, however, as J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index Study showed that customer satisfaction has improved slightly from a year ago.
J.D. Power rates satisfaction on a 1,000-point scale, finding that it improved seven points to 793 from last year. Improving inventory levels and a slow leveling off of prices have contributed to that improvement, and fewer people are paying above MSRP for new cars.
Some auto brands performed better than others with sales satisfaction. Porsche ranked highest among premium brands, followed by Alfa Romeo. Buick took the top spot among mass-market brands, with GMC, Chevrolet, and Mitsubishi behind. J.D. Power also handed out segment-level awards:
- Premium Cars: Porsche
- Premium SUV: Porsche
- Mass-Market Car: Chevrolet
- Mass-Market SUV/Minivan: GMC
- Mass-Market Truck: GMC
Despite the increase in sales satisfaction, there’s still room for improvement to reach pre-pandemic levels. J.D. Power noted gaps in salesperson knowledge as an area of improvement. Buyers rated salespeople much better during a gas vehicle purchase than with EVs, citing their expertise as a challenge.
Pricing remains a challenge despite an improvement since 2022, and satisfaction is still below pre-pandemic levels. Mass-market buyers reported a slight bump in satisfaction, while premium buyers felt that pricing was less fair than a year before.
It’s an interesting contrast, showing that dealer pricing tactics can significantly impact satisfaction with the sales process. Fewer people may be paying more than MSRP, but several premium models still list with significant markups. Even more interesting is Porsche’s top spot on the satisfaction list, as its cars often sell with huge upcharges, and it’s exceedingly tricky even to get a build allocation for some models.