J.D. Power polls vehicle owners on a wide variety of topics, ranging from initial vehicle quality to overall satisfaction. It also talks to them about vehicle service, and its latest service satisfaction rankings just came out.
Infiniti and Buick are the top automakers in the 2018 J.D. Power US Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. The study was created from 74,021 responses from owners and lessees of 2015-2017 vehicles. It measures satisfaction with dealership and independent service work across a variety of topics, including service advisors, facilities and vehicle pick-up.
Winners and losers
Infiniti topped the rankings for luxury brands, followed very closely by Porsche, Audi, Cadillac and Lexus, with the latter three all receiving the same score. It was Infiniti's first time atop the list since 2003. Volvo, Jaguar and Land Rover landed in the bottom three. Genesis was not included on the list because it hasn't been around long enough to cover the three model years specified.
This is the second year in a row that Buick topped the list for mass-market automakers. Chevrolet and Mini are tied for second, with GMC and Volkswagen not far behind. Bringing up the rear on this list are four Fiat Chrysler brands: Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat, respectively. Smart was not on the list because its sample size was too small.
J.D. Power's study includes more than rankings. It also tracks specific trends based on the age of those polled. Nearly a quarter of Generation Y respondents (born 1977-1994), aka millennials, use internet scheduling for vehicle service, which J.D. Power believes will become more important as younger buyers continue to capture market share.
Younger buyers also choose their service departments in different ways than older buyers. The poll indicated that younger customers rely more on word of mouth and promotional offers than older buyers, which tend to rely on prior experiences and location.
If a service department is keen on pulling in more luxury buyers, J.D. Power's poll indicates that white-glove service is key. A majority of luxury buyers said that offering pick-ups and drop-offs at home and work increases the likelihood that a respondent will return for additional service.