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Trust in your car, truck, or SUV can come from a few places. Perhaps your family has been loyal to a car brand that has served you well for many years. Maybe you have owned a single car without many issues for years. On the flip side, some people get a lemon and have disdain for a brand after a bad experience. The sales and shopping experience is a significant part of buying a new car, and Buick had the highest score for mass market brands. Toyota slid in at the bottom in the same segment, and Porsche is still keeping shippers happy in the premium segments.

Buick is J.D. Power’s most satisfying car brand shopping experience

This Buick SUV has helped the car brand earn a positive reputation
2023 Buick Enclave | Buick

According to the most recent J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, Buick was the car brand that ranked the highest among consumers. Buick earned the highest score for mass-market brands for sales satisfaction. However, what exactly does that mean? Cars and SUVs produced by the Buick brand tended to have fewer issues in a couple of areas. The 2023 Buick Encore GX is also one of the most reliable SUVs overall.

Mitsubishi812Segment Average790
Car brand sales satisfaction among shoppers

The Sales Satisfaction Index uses data to determine how the average shopper’s new car buying experience went. Factors include the delivery process, dealer personnel, working out the deal, and paperwork completion. It doesn’t surprise us that a brand that is frequently at the bottom for sales figures offers excellent dealer experiences. Simply put, every customer who enters the building is likely immediately taken care of with very little hassle because no one else requiring the employee’s attention is there.

Finally, the facility and website are a part of the score. This is for those who go through with selling a new vehicle. Another factor mentioned by shoppers is related to inventory. Inventory is up over pandemic levels, and Buick had many vehicles to choose from. Toyota still has lower inventory numbers on some of its more popular models.

J.D. Power also looks at those who do not complete the sale based on salesperson, price, facility, inventory, and negotiation tactics. After looking at responses from 37,234 shoppers who bought a new car between March and May 2023, Buick had the highest score of all mass-market brands.

Why is Toyota so low on the list of car brands?

The Toyota car brand doesn't have the best dealership experience like the one seen here
A Toyota vehicle sits on the sales lot at the Joe Myers Toyota dealership | Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Some car brands don’t have satisfying shopping experiences, and Toyota is one of those. With a segment average score of 790, Toyota came in just a few points behind that with 773. Unfortunately, that left it at the bottom of the mass-market car brands. Based on the criteria above, Toyota didn’t excel in essential areas like delivery processes or dealership personnel. As previously mentioned, the brand has had trouble keeping up with inventory over the last few years. As a result, popular models can be hard to find and sometimes are even subject to dealership markups.

Toyota has had a similar low score for the last few years, sitting at the bottom of the satisfaction survey. Some brands emphasize dealership experience, and Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC have been hard at work doing that. There are many ways an automaker can get sales, and shopping at the dealership is one of them. Due to its popularity, Toyota dealer staff may also frequently be busy, helping multiple customers at once, etc., which leads to a worse experience for many consumers.

Buick has long been a favorite for J.D. Power, usually landing on the top of owner satisfaction and quality surveys. It makes sense the shopping experience would match the ownership experience.

Buick, GMC, and Chevrolet brands had the best experience

Porsche is a high-quality car brand making good SUVs like the one seen here
A Porsche SUV | Porsche

Besides Buick, there were two other car brands with high scores from the study. Additionally, Porsche was the most satisfying brand in the premium segment, providing a high-end sales experience to match the vehicles. The Porsche brand also scored highest for the premium car and SUV segments.

Even though Buick ranked the highest among sales satisfaction for brands, GMC, Chevrolet, and Mitsubishi followed. For the segment awards, Chevrolet had the highest score for cars. GMC had the highest score for truck, SUV, and minivan sales. What does that mean, exactly? Shoppers found that these brands provided the best experience while looking for vehicles in each segment.

Porsche has been high on the charts of these studies for the last few years, proving to have a good product and sales experience for potential shoppers. That is the same story for Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC.


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