Car buyers are more satisfied with their shopping experience than last year -- even when they walk away from the car dealership empty handed, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Study.
Overall sales satisfaction, among both buyers and rejecters, rated 664 on a 1,000-point scale, a 16-point jump from 2011. The study also found that car buyers' satisfaction with the dealer who sold them a car jumped five points this year, averaging 776 points, while car buyers' satisfaction with dealerships where they walked away without buying has jumped 28 points from 2011 to 553.
Among buyers, the most important aspect of satisfaction was "working out the deal" at 17 percent. That related to the sale price of the car and, for many buyers, the price of a trade-in and the terms of the car loan.
The study also ranked satisfaction with specific car brands based on the sales experience of car shoppers who bought cars as well as those who ended up not buying. Among luxury brands, Lexus scored highest for the second year with 737 points, followed by Infiniti (728) and Cadillac (725). Infiniti saw the biggest jump in satisfaction: 52 points from 2011 to 2012, moving its rank from eighth in 2011 to second this year. Among mass-market brands, Mini ranked highest for the third consecutive year with 712 points, followed by Buick (706) and GMC (683). Honda was the biggest-improving mass market brand, with a jump of 30 points, moving it from 12th in 2011 to eighth this year.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing practical financial advice for consumers and insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.