Getting your car serviced at the dealership, whether it’s for warranty repairs or regularly scheduled maintenance, is an often-overlooked part of the car ownership experience, but it’s one of the most important aspects when it comes to retaining customer loyalty. A positive dealer experience can greatly affect overall customer satisfaction and, from the automaker’s perspective, increases the likelihood a customer will return to the same brand for their second vehicle.

With all the economic doom and gloom eroding new car sales around the globe, the issue of retaining existing customers is now more crucial than ever for automakers--so which brands are doing it right and which aren’t looking so good we hear you ask?

According to influential industry analysts J.D. Power and Associates, Lexus currently offers the best dealer service experience of all the luxury brands, while HUMMER ranks the highest among the mass-market brands.

The study examines satisfaction among vehicle owners who visit a service department for maintenance or repair work and are based on the responses of more than 114,200 owners and lessees of 2005 to 2009 model-year vehicles all around the world. Five measures are examined to determine overall customer satisfaction with dealer service: quality, initiation, level of advice, facilities, and vehicle pick-up.

Aspects customers appear to value most include high levels of service for non-warranty jobs, the ability to provide loaner cars, and friendly staff.

Lexus ranked the highest with a score of 837 out of a possible 1,000 points, reaching the top spot for a second consecutive year.

The top five luxury brands were:
1) Lexus – 837
2) Cadillac – 827
3) Jaguar – 822
4) Acura – 816
5) BMW - 816

The top five mass-market brands were:
1) HUMMER – 815
2) Saturn – 808
3) Buick – 805
4) Chevrolet – 787
5) MINI – 786

[J.D. Power and Associates]