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New-vehicle buyers shopping around

Released at: 14:59, 30/11/2017

New-vehicle buyers shopping around

Photo: TMV

Buyers driving hard bargains but paying more than expected, J.D. Power 2017 Vietnam Sales Satisfaction Index Study finds.

by Khanh Chi

New-vehicle buyers are increasingly comparing brands, models, dealers, and offers and negotiating harder at authorized dealers before deciding on their purchase, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Vietnam Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, released recently.

Sixty-five per cent of new-vehicle buyers say they seriously considered another model while shopping for their new vehicle, with shoppers also visiting more brands’ dealerships compared with 2016. On average, new-vehicle shoppers use seven different sources of information to gather preliminary data and feedback about the models they are considering.

The internet is the primary media used, with 99 per cent of new-vehicle owners saying they used online sources while shopping. Browsing specialized websites and social networks has increased notably from last year at the expense of original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or dealer websites, which have been used less frequently in 2017. 

“As competition in Vietnam’s automotive market grows in advance of the scheduled tax cuts in 2018, authorized dealers are actively trying to entice shoppers and boost sales through aggressive discounts and incentives, thereby increasing competition between brands,” said Mr. Loïc Péan, Senior Manager at J.D. Power. “Unfortunately, this sometimes has the adverse effect of increasing expectations with respect to the final vehicle price, and dealer staff neglecting or expediting certain aspects of the new-vehicle sales and delivery process, which both have a negative effect on customer satisfaction.”

The study found that the number of sales standards experienced by new-vehicle buyers has dropped considerably, to 19.6 standards in 2017 from 20.6 in 2016 (out of 22 critical standards evaluated in the study). Specifically, interactions with customers are less pertinent than last year, as more customers indicate that their salesperson was not entirely focused on them (-13 percentage points), that they did not receive a comprehensive explanation of the features and benefits of the vehicle while shopping (-10 percentage points), and/or that they were not kept informed about the delivery status of their vehicle (-8 percentage points). 

New-vehicle buyers are increasingly driving a harder bargain, as 60 per cent said they negotiated a deal, up from 35 per cent in 2016. Additionally, 66 per cent received discounts and 98 per cent received additional freebies from their dealer. Despite receiving more discounts and freebies, however, 27 per cent of new-vehicle owners said they paid more than expected for their vehicle, a sharp increase from 12 per cent in 2016. 

Toyota ranked highest in overall sales satisfaction for the third consecutive year, with a score of 777. It performed particularly well in sales initiation, dealer facility, and delivery process factors. Nissan (776) ranked second, followed by Kia (764).

The 2017 Vietnam Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study examined sales satisfaction in the mass market segment using six factors that contribute to overall customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience (in order of importance): delivery timing (21 per cent), dealer facility (17 per cent), deal (17 per cent), delivery process (16 per cent), sales initiation (16 per cent), and salesperson (13 per cent). 

The study, now in its ninth year, was based on responses from 1,734 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle from January to October 2017. The study was fielded online from August through October 2017.

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