Maruti tops in customer satisfaction for new cars: study



Auto major Maruti Suzuki tops the chart for buyers' satisfaction with newly launched cars, while Tata Motors found its berth at the bottom, says a study by JD Power.

According to the latest study -- India Sales Satisfaction Index -- by the market research firm, Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) topped the list of 11 auto-makers, garnering 819 points on a 1,000-point scale. It was followed by Honda and Skoda, with 816 and 812 points, respectively.

"The success of Maruti Suzuki is largely attributed to the enthusiasm of sales people at the dealership, as well as their ability to understand customer requirements and provide knowledgeable answers to queries," JD Power Asia-Pacific Executive Director Mohit Arora said.

The company launched the new WagonR, a 1,000cc version of the Alto and multi-purpose vehicle Eeco this year.

The study ranked Tata Motors at the bottom of the list, with 758 points, JD Power said.

The study also said buyers of models that were launched in 2010 are less satisfied with their sales experience at dealerships compared to buyers of models that are at least one-year old.

"Excitement surrounding the launch of a new model can quickly become overshadowed in the minds of consumers if there is a lack of availability of the model and if the salesperson fails to display adequate enthusiasm, knowledge and skill in selling and delivering such models," Arora said.

In addition, the owners of newly launched models report longer waiting periods before delivery as against the customers of carry-over models, he added.

However, the report said that overall sales satisfaction has increased by 10 points to an average of 803 in 2010, compared to 2009.

The study is based on responses from 6,178 new vehicle owners, who purchased their vehicle between September, 2009, and April, 2010, and includes evaluations of more than 60 models.

New launches, coupled with the easy availability of finances, has helped the car industry post an over 30 per cent increase in sales during this fiscal. Some of the new models include the Ford Figo, General Motors Beat and Volkswagen Polo.

According to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, total car sales in this fiscal so far have soared by 34.62 per cent to 5,92,405 units, compared to 4,40,069 units in the year-ago period.

Domestic passenger car sales in 2009-10 also registered strong growth over the previous year. Car sales in 2009-10 stood at 15,26,259 units, as against 12,20,475 units in 2008- 09, an increase of over 25 per cent.