Dealership Service Loyalty Slips Among New Buyers

Fewer new-vehicle buyers in China intend to revisit their dealer for post-warranty maintenance, service and other repairs despite fairly stable prices, J.D. Power and Associates found in a new study.

Only 22 percent of customers in the mass-market segment and 34 percent of luxury-vehicle buyers said they “definitely would” revisit their dealer for post-warranty services, a sharp drop from 34 percent and 44 percent, respectively, in 2015, the market research firm said last week, drawing on the findings from its latest China customer services study.

In addition, Power said customers have displayed a tendency to visit authorized dealerships less often than before. On average, vehicle owners this year have visited their dealership 2.9 times in the previous 12 months, down from an average 3.4 visits in 2015.

Owners don’t believe the service fees dealerships charge for vehicle maintenance are reasonable enough, prompting the decline in loyalty, J.D. Power said.

The percentage of light-vehicle owners who believe service charges are reasonable has dropped to 87 percent this year from 94 percent in 2015.

The decline in loyalty comes as the average maintenance service cost at authorized dealerships has edged up to 660 yuan ($100) this year, compared with 642 yuan last year, according to the study.

J.D. Power’s 2016 China Customer Service Index study gauges the satisfaction of vehicle buyers who have owned their vehicles between 12 and 36 months and who have visited authorized dealerships for maintenance or repair work in the past six months.

The study was conducted between October 2015 and May 2016 in 57 major cities across China.

In the study, Audi ranked highest among luxury brands, with a score of 815 points on a scale of 1,000 points. In the mass market segment, Dongfeng Citroen won the top ranking with a score of 814 points.

2016 China Service CSI Study

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