The Volkswagen and Audi brands have again dominated the top positions in the latest automotive customer care survey conducted by Ipsos in South Africa. This research, based on interviews with more than 20 000 customers in 2017, covered both purchasing and servicing experiences.
The sample of participating brands in the latest survey represented more than three out of every four new cars and light commercial vehicles sold through dealership channels in South Africa in 2017, as well as the consistency of results from year to year supports the credibility of the research as a valuable tool with which to measure customer service in the automotive market in South Africa.
The Volkswagen Group continues to fight the ongoing backwash of its 2015 so-called Dieselgate scandal and a host of vehicle recalls worldwide, but it seems its image remains strong if one looks at its dominance in terms of global vehicle sales and customer loyalty. The excellent ratings by customers in both the purchasing and servicing aspects of vehicle ownership here in SA are evidence of this good relationship between these brands, their owners and the franchised dealers.
The Volkswagen and Audi brands have been in leadership positions in the purchasing experience in these annual Ipsos surveys for a number of years. In the latest survey Audi and Volkswagen both once again attained gold awards for the customer purchasing experience with Volkswagen also collecting gold in the LCV sales category.
Audi has achieved the gold standard in the servicing experience for the past four years too, while Volkswagen has had a gold rating for both passenger car and LCV servicing for the past two years. Nissan has made very positive strides in both its purchasing and servicing operations at its dealers and collected gold awards in both categories among local passenger car and light commercial vehicle buyers.
Audi, Nissan, and Volkswagen were the only brands which received gold awards for passenger car purchasing, with several brands – Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Opel, Toyota, and Volvo – collecting silver, with Ford, Honda, and Renault rating bronze in this category of the survey.
Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen were the only three gold award winners in terms of the light commercial purchasing experience, with Chevrolet, Ford and Isuzu collecting silver.
Five brands – Audi, Lexus, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen – earned gold awards for the passenger car servicing experience, with another five – Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, Opel, Renault, and Volvo – rating silver. Honda was the sole recipient of a bronze award in this category.
Isuzu, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen all earned gold awards for the light commercial vehicle servicing experience, with Chevrolet rating silver and Ford bronze.
“The consistency of good service that some brands deliver across their dealer network to so many customers over time is highly commendable as consistency is one of the most important factors in building a powerful brand reputation,” said Patrick Busschau, Business Unit Director at Ipsos.
“Volkswagen and Audi brands continue to maintain particularly high levels of customer satisfaction in terms of both the buying and servicing of new passenger vehicles, year after year, despite facing very tough opposition in the local market,” commented Busschau. “What is also pleasing to note is that a number of other brands are also upping their game to challenge for the Gold medal positions as well. Nissan is now seeing the fruits of their labours in all categories while Toyota can also see reward for their consistent effort in the Passenger Car Servicing and both Sales and Servicing for Light Commercials,” he added. “These latest results underline the fact that the custodians of these brands are certainly not sitting back and resting on their laurels but rather use the customer feedback from our ongoing surveys as well as other sources to improve areas of weakness.”
There were a number of variations in the attributes a customer expected when having a light commercial vehicle serviced compared to a car owner. For example, transport to a next destination is very important for the car owner, but not so important for the LCV owner. The LCV owner, however, requires a fuller explanation of the work done and the contents of the invoice than the passenger car buyer.
“We, at Ipsos South Africa, are proud to have been able to continue our relationship with the local motor industry for more than a quarter of a century and we believe the companies that are successful in the field of customer service are those that make use of our detailed research of their brand to fix any shortcomings for the ultimate benefit of their customer,” concluded Patrick Busschau at a recent media briefing.