Published in Automotive

Shattering Negative Stereotypes in the Automotive Industry

I’d like to introduce you to one of my colleagues, Dr. Scott Pimley. Scott is Director, Solutions Architecture and works out of our Torrance, CA office. He put together this post to shed some light on where we stand as an industry in terms of the retail experience.


The automotive world frequently gets a bad rap regarding its treatment of people. Whether deserved or not, many view automotive dealerships negatively. People often talk of dealerships in disparaging terms and express reluctance to go there.

We just recently conducted a national study in the US that indicates that consumers actually feel better about the customer experience in the auto industry than you might think. In fact, the auto industry outperforms many others.

In the study (which is called CEBenchmarks TM in case you’re interested), we obtained about 25,000 ratings of customer experiences per quarter, covering 34 types of transactions across 11 industries. For automotive transactions, we asked customers about their experiences purchasing or leasing a vehicle from a new car dealership in the past six months and about their experiences servicing their vehicles at a new car dealership within the past three months.

In the chart below, we compare the automotive industry against ten others. Nearly three-quarters of those who purchased or leased a new vehicle or obtained service from a dealership (74.7 percent) provided top-three box satisfaction ratings on a 10-point scale. More specifically, for purchasing or leasing, the figure is 74.5 percent; for service it’s 74.9 percent. In both instances, these figures are above the average for all industries combined (73.4 percent). Also, the automotive industry beat out the shipping, retail, mortgage, wireless, and internet and television service industries.

% Satisfied With Experience

(Top Three boxes on 10 point scale, Top Box Shown in Blue)

The automotive industry is above average and does better than many others in delivering quite a good retail experience. In fact, when you look only at top box, we rank third. This accomplishment should not lead the industry to slacken its resolve to keep customers happy since they are demanding more and more from manufacturers and dealers. These expectations must be met. Those who fall behind in the retail experience do so at their peril.