Tesla Ranked Lowest Treatment of Car Shoppers & Least Helpful

For the first time, Volkswagen Group’s Audi brand dealerships ranked highest in the newly released 2018 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index® (PSI®) U.S. Auto Industry Benchmarking Study. The study measured treatment of car-shoppers who visited 3,466 dealerships throughout the country. Study rankings by brand were determined by the Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to industry sales success. From a customer’s perspective, top scoring brands and dealerships on average are considered “more helpful.”

Compared to salespeople for all other brands, Audi salespeople were most likely on average to ask customers questions to determine how a vehicle would be used. Audi salespeople were also among the most likely on average to provide a “walkaround demonstration” showcasing vehicle features and benefits, to mention features that distinguish a vehicle from the competition, to ask follow-up questions to better understand customer needs, and to provide reasons why customers should buy from their specific dealership.

Dealerships selling Lexus were ranked second, followed by Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Infiniti and RAM. Brands which improved the most from year to year were Audi, Jeep and GMC. Brands suffering the greatest declines were Infiniti, Tesla and Porsche. Tesla was rated the lowest of all dealerships in the survey.

A total of 19 brands improved or remained the same from 2017 to 2018, while 13 brands declined.

Seven brands have improved their PSI performance in each of the past three years: Buick, Chevrolet, Jaguar, Kia, Land Rover, Mazda and RAM. Five brands have consistently scored above the industry average for each of the past three years: Audi, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota.

“Many challenges faced by dealerships are difficult to improve quickly,” said Fran O’Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC. “But how their sales team sells is something that a dealership can change immediately.” Pied Piper has found that while top performing dealerships may use slightly different sales processes, what they all have in common is commitment for their salespeople to consistently follow the dealership’s sales process.

The 2018 Pied Piper PSI U.S. Auto Industry Study measured treatment of car-shoppers who visited dealerships in-person and was conducted between July 2017 and June 2018 using 3,466 hired anonymous “mystery shoppers” at dealerships located throughout the  Complete Pied Piper PSI industry study results are provided to vehicle manufacturers and national dealer groups. Manufacturers, national dealer groups and individual dealerships also order PSI evaluations as a tool to improve the sales effectiveness of their dealerships. For more information about the Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index, and the proprietary PSI process