Isuzu ranks highest in overall new-vehicle sales satisfaction in the Philippines, according to the J.D. Power Asia Pacific 2008 Philippines Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) StudySM released today.

Now in its eighth year, the study has been redesigned for 2008 and examines seven factors that contribute to overall satisfaction with sales experience. In order of importance, these factors are: delivery process; delivery timing; salesperson; paperwork; deal; sales initiation; and dealer facility.

Isuzu ranks highest in 2008, achieving an overall satisfaction index score of 853 on a 1,000-point scale. Isuzu performs particularly well in the areas of delivery timing and paperwork. Kia, included in the study for the first time in 2008, follows Isuzu in ranking with a score of 849. Also ranking above the industry average are Mitsubishi, Toyota and Mazda, respectively.

The study finds that while 85 percent of customers say they experienced no pressure during the purchase process, when customers report experiencing pressure, SSI scores are 37 points below the industry average. The types of pressure that have the greatest negative effect on customer satisfaction include: pressure to purchase a vehicle without the exact options desired by the customer; pressure to buy within the same day; and pressure to accept an inconvenient delivery time. By contrast, when customers experience no pressure during the sales process, satisfaction scores are 7 points higher than the industry average.

"In a pressure-free environment, vehicle buyers are able to make purchase decisions that will ultimately translate into higher levels of satisfaction," said Taku Kimoto, general manager for the Philippines at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, Singapore. "For example, they are not hastened or pushed to accept vehicles that don't meet their needs or expectations. In addition, when customers are able to discuss options with the salesperson, they are less likely to regret their decisions post-purchase."

The study also finds that customers expect their vehicles to be delivered with all promised features, and that failure to do so can result in a considerable decline in satisfaction. Among customers whose vehicles do not contain the features they were promised satisfaction scores are 74 points below the industry average. Currently, 3 percent of customers report not receiving their vehicles with the promised features.

"The service standards that most vehicle manufacturers already provide set the stage for customer expectations regarding delivery of their new vehicle," said Kimoto. "Customers not only expect to receive their new vehicle quickly and without hassle, but also, receiving their vehicles with the promised features is a 'given.' It is paramount that manufacturers ensure the fulfillment of their commitment to the customer. "

In addition, customer satisfaction with the overall purchase experience has a strong impact on dealer advocacy. Approximately 75 percent of customers who report that they are highly satisfied with their overall experience say they 'definitely would' recommend the dealer where they purchased their vehicle to friends and relatives, compared with the industry average of 58 percent. Likewise, 71 percent of highly satisfied customers say they "definitely would" recommend their vehicle make, compared with the industry average (58%).

The 2008 Philippines Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study is based on the responses of more than 1,400 new-vehicle owners who purchased their vehicles between August 2007 and February 2008. The study was fielded between February and April 2008. The SSI study is one of two consumer-based studies conducted annually in the Philippines by J.D. Power Asia Pacific. The Philippines Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) Study, which measures new-vehicle owner satisfaction with after-sales dealership service, will be released in late August 2008.