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Car sales satisfaction up: J.D. Power

Automakers and car dealerships are trying harder to please the customer in the showroom - and it's paying off, according to J.D. Power.

Chris Sutton of J.D. Power says sales satisfaction jumped 11 points from last year.

He says dealers are trying to make the negotiating process easier and faster.  They're also working on the delivery experience.

"The vehicles are a lot more technologically advanced," says Sutton.  "It's impossible for customers to really understand a lot of this (technology) in a short period of time, so we're finding the dealers are doing a lot better job explaining those features -- and then following up with the customers afterwards if they need help."

Car companies are also requiring dealers to make facility improvements, and boost training for sales people.

Sutton says as the gap narrows in terms of vehicle quality and reliability, automakers and dealers are turning to the sales experience as a differentiator to win and keep customers.

Mini and Buick had the highest sales satisfaction scores among mass market brands.   Jeep and Dodge had the lowest score.  Toyota, which is usually at the top of reliability and quality surveys, was just below average for sales satisfaction.

The top two luxury brands for sales satisfaction were Lexus, and Infiniti, followed closely by Cadillac and Lincoln.

Audi  and Volvo had the lowest scores for luxury vehicles.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.