Ford ranks highest in customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle sales and delivery process in the Philippines, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2006 Philippines Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM released recently.

The annual SSI Study, conducted independently by J.D. Power Asia Pacific since 2001, measures customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience in the Philippines market. The study examines six factors that contribute to overall satisfaction with the sales experience. In order of importance, these factors are: delivery process, delivery timing, salesperson, paperwork, deal and dealer facility.

The overall industry average is 841 based on a 1,000-point scale. The study covers seven makes, and includes Hyundai for the first time.

With an overall index score of 851, Ford moves up two positions from 2005 to rank highest in the study. Ford performs particularly well in the areas of delivery timing, dealer facility and deal.

"Ford has shortened its average delivery time from 4.6 days to just 3.5 days, setting the benchmark for the industry in 2006," said Gerrit Kuyntjes, managing director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific. "Ford also improves on its ability to deliver the vehicle at the promised time, demonstrating the principle that customer satisfaction is not just about efficiency in the process, but also about honoring commitments to customers."

Isuzu maintains its second place in the ranking, with an overall score of 846. Isuzu also leads the industry in three factors: delivery process, salesperson and paperwork. Toyota follows Isuzu with a score of 844.

The study finds that customers who take a test drive at the purchase dealer are more satisfied with the delivery process and the sales process overall. More than one-half of all Ford customers, for example, took a test drive of
their new vehicle.

"Taking a test drive not only gives customers an idea of the features and driving experience of the vehicle, but is also an important time in which the salesperson can provide detailed explanations of the vehicle both in terms of its features and servicing requirements," said Kuyntjes. "It is a time when the quality of interaction with the salesperson can effectively influence satisfaction with the overall sales and delivery process."

The study also finds that customers experiencing any form of sales pressure-to take delivery at an inconvenient time or to pay/contract more than their budgeted amount, for example-leads to dissatisfaction with the sales and delivery process. Fewer than 20 percent of customers who report having an outstanding sales experience (those reporting SSI scores above 984 points) say they received some form of pressure from their selling dealer, compared to the industry average of 33 percent.

"While some amount of sales pressure is necessary to ensure the closure of the sale, judging the right amount of pressure the customer can bear before it becomes uncomfortable is a soft skill that salespeople develop with
experience," said Kuyntjes.

The 2006 Philippines Sales Satisfaction Index Study is based on evaluations from more than 1,300 new-vehicle owners who are surveyed at two to six onths of ownership. The field work for the study was conducted from June 2006 to August 2006 and includes buyers who purchased their vehicles between December 2005 and June 2006.