Relearning customer service at the U.S. auto dealer

Date of publication: June 15, 1987

Company: JD Power

Author: Philip Wade

Abstract:

The consumer has ambivalent feelings about the new car dealer, who has long been protected by the exclusive franchise system. In the U.S. market there are signs that the dealer franchise system is already undergoing a revolution, caused by changes in the industry and in the broader consumer environment. In a crowded market the product must be redefined and broadened to include the service element. Customer satisfaction with individual dealers Is now being monitored by market research studies carried out by the manufacturers. Such studies can monitor progress within a franchise, but it requires a larger, industry wide CSI survey to show the position of the franchise relative to competition. Some of the larger multi-franchise dealers are also seeking to build a corporate identity based on quality of service, which may in time conflict with the manufacturer’s image objectives.

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