• Lexus topped all brands with 862 points.
  • GMC topped mass market brands at 819.
  • The study examines satisfaction with dealer service.

Lexus, GMC, Cadillac and Jaguar are among the top performers in a new JD Power survey. The Customer Service Index Study looks at how satisfied customers are with dealership service during the first three years of ownership.

Based on responses from 91,000 owners and lessees of 2008-2012 vehicles, the survey is divided into two groups: luxury brands and mass market brands. Lexus topped the luxury brands chart, reaching an average score of 862 points out of a possible 1,000. Following closely behind were Cadillac, Jaguar and Acura, each of which scored above 850 points.

GMC scored the highest in the "mass market brand" category, with an average score of 819 points out of 1,000. MINI, Buick, Chevrolet and Volkswagen took home second through fifth places, respectively, with each brand scoring over 800 points.

Overall, the study found several important trends. For one, customers are generally happier about their dealership service experiences. This year's overall average of 797 points was 10 higher than the 2012 score, and nearly 30 points higher than the average number in 2011.

"The service experience has a profound impact on vehicle owners, not just where they take their vehicle the next time they need maintenance or repairs, but also on their next vehicle purchase," said Sutton. "Dealers know this, and most are taking the appropriate steps to ensure their customers have the best experience possible on both the sales and service sides of the store."

As expected, the jump in satisfaction corresponds to a decrease in the average cost of a service visit. The average cost of service in this year's survey was $118, compared to $125 in 2011. The average cost per visit is $198 for premium vehicles compared to $108 for brands in the "mass market" category.

According to the study, Land Rover was the most improved brand. It boosted its CSI score by 29 points to 825. Scion was the most improved mass-market brand, jumping 24 points to 776.

What it means to you: The latest JD Power survey shows that dealers are improving service to retain drivers and earn customers for life.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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