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2019 Automotive Reputation Report

Customer

Industry

Year

Executive Summary

Maintaining a competitive advantage against the backdrop of ever-changing online customer sentiment requires constant vigilance: Dealers must tune into customer feedback and use it to continually improve operations and the customer experience, or watch their ratings and reviews tank.

Over the past several years, the automotive industry has made a real effort to manage online customer sentiment, and it has had a real impact. Our research shows that when they listen to and act on online consumer feedback, they are rewarded with more reviews, better online sentiment and more engagement. This data is the foundation of the Reputation Score and has a direct link to revenue.

Our research revealed that a higher Reputation Score results in higher sales: Dealers see approximately 1% increase in sales for every 30-40 point increase in Reputation Score — up to a 10% difference between dealerships that are effectively managing their reputations and those that aren’t.

The 2019 Auto Reputation Report provides OEM brands with detailed insights into their dealerships’ strengths and weaknesses, uncovering opportunities for operational improvements based on insights from analyzing unstructured data in customer reviews, social media comments, surveys and more.

The Auto Industry Leads in Reputation Score, but Risks Exist for Brands and Dealerships

With its incredible growth over the last century and its millions-strong workforce around the world, the auto industry is a major player in the global economy.

Automotive has a long history of transformation through technological advancements. Now more than ever, the industry is faced with the need to keep up and gain a competitive advantage in the digital space. This requires that OEM brands and tier 3 retail dealers adapt to the preferred ways customers now search and shop for cars. Online reviews, business listings and social media now play a much larger role in the research that goes into a customer’s decision about where to purchase a car or service their vehicles.

Maintaining a competitive advantage against this backdrop of ever-changing online customer sentiment requires constant vigilance: Dealers must tune into customer feedback and use it to continually improve operations and the customer experience — or watch their ratings and reviews tank.

Over the past several years, those in the automotive industry have made a real effort to manage online customer sentiment, and it shows in the dealership’s and OEM brand’s Reputation Score — a comprehensive index of their online presence. They see that, when they listen to and act on online consumer feedback, they are rewarded with more reviews, better online sentiment and more engagement. Ultimately, this data is the foundation of the Reputation Score and has a direct link to revenue.

Reputation Score is a vital measurement for Hendrick Automotive Group that’s discussed weekly in direct calls between every General Manager and our Executive team. The reputation of our dealerships reflects on Mr. Hendrick himself and on our brand.

Using the Reputation.com platform, we can monitor Reputation Score for each dealership and for the organization as a whole, drill down into the specifics for unprecedented insight into the service we’re delivering, and take immediate action on what we learn. That helps us continue to improve the customer experience and inspire customer loyalty and advocacy in the communities we serve.

Ed Brown
CEO, Hendrick Automotive Group

In fact, our research has revealed that a higher Reputation Score results in higher sales: Dealers see approximately 1% increase in sales for every 30-40 point increase in Reputation Score.

Reputation Score to Sales Volume

+0%
INCREASE IN SALES VOLUME
Our findings show dealers that effectively manage their reputations see up to a 10+% increase in average sales volume compared to those who are not. The opposite is true as well, where dealers who have a drop in their Reputation Scores versus their competition see a corresponding drop in sales.

Average Sales Volume Change

Score Change vs. Similar Dealers.
Based on aggregate ROI studies of some of the major OEMs.

Why This Report Matters

The 2019 Auto Reputation Report provides OEM brands with detailed insights into their dealerships’ strengths and weaknesses, uncovering opportunities for operational improvements based on insights from analyzing unstructured data in customer reviews, social media comments, surveys and more. This report reveals which auto brands and dealerships lead the pack on key dimensions of the auto-buying experience — as expressed in the unfiltered voice of the customer. The findings underscore the importance of reputation management as a key element of a dealership’s consumer experience strategy.

This report covers:

  • How an increase in a dealership’s Reputation Score translates to increases in sales
  • The relationship between online review factors and Reputation Score
  • Specific reviews and ratings reflecting consumer sentiment of top auto brands’ dealerships based on their experience with sales, service and a variety of other categories
  • The importance of reputation management as a core element of a dealership’s customer experience strategy

While automotive represents the highest overall Reputation Score as an industry, many challenges are presented for each operating store location — on a daily basis.

With 95% of vehicle buyers using digital sources to conduct research and 60% of automotive-related searches happening on a mobile device, it is critical that you manage the experience customers have with your brand at each point throughout their purchase journey. Proactive communication is how to win business in the digital age and lack of engagement with consumers on social channels and search engines may lead them to consider a competing dealer with better reviews and responses.

0%
OF VEHICLE BUYERS USE DIGITAL SOURCES FOR RESEARCH
0%
OF AUTOMOTIVE SEARCHES HAPPEN ON A MOBILE DEVICE

— The auto dealer’s guide to moving metal in a digital world

Dispelling the Myth

With the data from this report, OEM brands and their dealerships are better positioned to bridge the gap between automotive marketing and customer experience. They can listen, understand and act on all feedback channels, manage and address their online reputation, analyze consumer feedback to improve operations and processes, and increase consumer engagement. This information enables dealers to implement corrective actions where appropriate to drive increased sales and profits, as well as standardize processes based on what’s working well across their locations.


One of the most surprising findings of our report?

Our findings dispel the myth of the cliché “car salesman.” In fact, auto dealerships have better overall customer sentiment and higher Reputation Scores than the other major industries Reputation.com examined. In particular, auto dealers have higher average online sentiment and are among the most responsive to online feedback.

Although auto has done a decent job as an industry, dealers and OEM brands shouldn’t become complacent.

Reputation Scores can change quickly in the Feedback Economy, so consistent monitoring, responding and engagement are essential to successfully maintain a presence with consumers and proactively mitigate potential problems.

Significant revenue benefits are associated with a higher Reputation Score, meaning dealerships who invest in regularly monitoring and optimizing the experience at each touchpoint along the customer journey gain the strongest advantage.

Automotive vs. Other Industries

Automotive has the highest average online sentiment, and is most responsive to online feedback.
Industry Reputation Score Star Rating Last 12 months Reviews per Location Last 12 months Response Rate to Negative Feedback
Auto Dealers 607 4.4 263 69%
Hospitality 605 4.2 609 23%
Dining 584 4.0 444 66%
Real Estate 571 4.0 45 70%
Retail 552 4.2 254 9%
Healthcare 401 3.6 14 48%
Finance 367 3.0 5 15%

Scope of Analysis

Reputation.com analyzed online data covering more than 16,000 dealerships in the United States from reviews, listings, social media, search results, and customer engagements from sources such as Google, Facebook, Cars.com, Edmunds and other sources. By leveraging Reputation.com’s proprietary machine learning algorithms and natural-language processing technology, we drilled into the actual customer feedback to understand what auto consumers are focused on and their overall sentiment. We separated the dealership feedback into overall, sales-specific and service-specific to understand consumer sentiment around each.

0K+
REPUTATION.COM ANALYZED ONLINE DATA
COVERING MORE THAN 16,000 DEALERSHIPS
IN THE UNITED STATES

What’s Your Reputation Score?

Measured on a scale of 0 to 1,000, Reputation.com’s Reputation Score is a comprehensive index of the digital presence of business locations in more than 70 industries. It is calculated based on multiple factors measuring overall review sentiment across review sites, business listings accuracy and other indicators that reflect the consumers’ car-buying experiences and opinions about dealerships — online and onsite.

The Reputation Score is comprised of nine elements:

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Each element has internal factors that are calibrated independently (e.g. more recent and prominent reviews have a greater impact on star averages than older reviews). Once each of these measurements are calibrated, the overall Reputation Score is calculated.

In the auto industry, Reputation Score is the most comprehensive measure of a dealership’s online reputation, helping OEM brands and retail dealer locations determine where improvements must be made.

Auto dealerships must look into their overall Reputation Score to ensure they’re paying attention to all the factors that comprise it.

Some dealerships still struggle in certain areas of their business, and it’s reflected in their Reputation Score and overall success. In reality, dealerships have only scratched the surface with owning their online reputation. For example, while a dealership may have a satisfactory Reputation Score thanks to its focus on collecting and regularly responding to reviews, it may be leaving additional Reputation Score points on the table by ignoring an inaccurate business listing or not engaging with customers through social media. All of these factors affect the customer journey, and the public’s perception of your brand, and it’s critical to monitor, engage and evaluate at each customer touch point.

Key Findings

The following tables show the 28 largest OEM brands ranked by Reputation Score. Highlights include:

  • Lexus has the highest average Reputation Score, along with the most consistent retail dealer body of locations pushing Reputation Scores above 700.
  • Lincoln is generating the most favorable consumer sentiment within the industry.
  • Consumer review volumes are the greatest for Toyota retail dealers amongst all OEM brands.
  • Tesla had the poorest response rate to consumer reviews.
  • Top dealer groups include AutoNation, Hendrick Automotive, and Ford and Lincoln. They represent 40% of the top 100 dealerships.
  • It is well known that Google is the leader in search. Our findings conclude Google also dominates in online review volume, further reinforcing the need for brands and dealers to become committed to managing their online reputation.

Reputation Scores for Largest U.S. Brands

Reputation Scores for Largest U.S. Brands

Scores can be analyzed down to the retail dealership level, meaning the largest opportunity for OEMs, brands and dealers is to work collectively to improve reputation management efforts at each location.
Brand Average Reputation Score per Dealership Reviews per Locations (Last 12 Months) Average Location Rating (Last 12 Months) Recent Response Rate (Negative Feedback)
Lexus 672 311 4.49 48%
Nissan 663 353 4.38 55%
Acura 654 222 4.47 46%
Subaru 647 269 4.43 56%
Lincoln 642 168 4.45 40%
BMW 641 284 4.42 48%
Buick 639 153 4.35 52%
Toyota 630 423 4.38 50%
Mercedes-Benz 628 260 4.41 47%
Chevrolet 627 180 4.32 47%
Ford 617 213 4.35 42%
Kia 613 226 4.24 39%
GMC 612 119 4.3 48%
Audi 612 180 4.39 43%
Honda 604 321 4.37 40%
Infiniti 602 164 4.39 40%
Ram 593 286 4.2 46%
Jeep 584 244 4.21 40%
Volkswagen 582 164 4.25 41%
Dodge 581 239 4.21 40%
Chrysler 580 238 4.21 40%
Mazda 573 135 4.3 37%
Cadillac 572 108 4.34 57%
Hyundai 565 193 4.26 38%
Land Rover 561 102 4.27 48%
Volvo 550 85 4.3 35%
Tesla 549 96 4.47 1%
Mitsubishi 512 108 4.11 24%

Data Factored to get the Reputation Score

Many factors go into the Reputation Score, including listings accuracy, social sentiment and search impressions.
Brand Visibility Score Engagement Score Sentiment Score Locations w/ Score <500 Locations w/ Score >700
Lexus 65% 68% 79% 8% 49%
Nissan 70%  72% 72% 6% 38%
Acura 61% 64% 76% 12% 39%
Subaru 66% 74% 73% 10% 36%
Lincoln 58% 65% 79% 15% 43%
BMW 63% 66% 74% 11% 33%
Buick 60% 71% 74% 11% 33%
Toyota 65% 66% 71% 14% 32%
Mercedes-Benz 63% 66% 73% 14% 34%
Chevrolet 59% 66% 73% 13% 30%
Ford 59% 64% 73% 19% 32%
Kia 62% 56% 69% 14% 23%
GMC 54% 67% 74% 17% 27%
Audi 56% 63% 74% 19% 33%
Honda 59% 58% 71% 19% 27%
Infiniti 56% 62% 72% 18% 29%
Ram 64% 64% 65% 18% 17%
Jeep 60% 59% 66% 20% 16%
Volkswagen 56% 58% 68% 22% 20%
Dodge 59% 59% 66% 21% 16%
Chrysler 59% 58% 66% 21% 16%
Mazda 51% 56% 71% 26% 20%
Cadillac 49% 77% 75% 27% 25%
Hyundai 54% 56% 68% 28% 21%
Land Rover 49% 65% 70% 29% 18%
Volvo 44% 57% 73% 36% 22%
Tesla 44% 3% 76% 31% 7%
Mitsubishi 46% 42% 66% 43% 11%

Reputation Score Results

For the Top-Rated Large Dealer Groups and Top 100 Dealerships

TOP RANKING

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Reputation Scores for Large US Dealer Groups

ALL – (As of Q2 2019)
Brand Average Reputation Score per Dealership Visibility Score Engagement Score Sentiment Score
Hendrick Automotive 722 77% 91% 77%
AutoNation 704 84% 98% 68%
Group1 696 77% 89% 72%
Sonic Automotive 693 78% 86% 70%
Asbury Automotive Group 673 77% 95% 64%
Penske 656 63% 83% 76%
Lithia 641 74% 55% 68%
Ken Garff Automotive 638 69% 82% 65%
Larry H. Miller 636 76% 81% 62%
Berkshire Hathaway Automotive 618 67% 67% 69%
Greenway Automotive 592 70% 47% 63%

Reputation Scores for Publicly Held Large US Dealer Groups

(As of Q2 2019)
Brand Average Reputation Score per Dealership Visibility Score Engagement Score Sentiment Score
AutoNation 704 84% 98% 68%
Group1 696 77% 89% 72%
Sonic Automotive 693 78% 86% 70%
Asbury Automotive Group 673 77% 95% 64%
Penske 656 63% 83% 76%
Lithia 641 74% 55% 68%
Berkshire Hathaway Automotive 618 67% 67% 69%

Reputation Scores for Privately Held Large US Dealer Groups

ALL – (As of Q2 2019)
Brand Average Reputation Score per Dealership Visibility Score Engagement Score Sentiment Score
Hendrick Automotive 722 77% 91% 77%
Ken Garff Automotive 638 69% 82% 65%
Larry H. Miller 636 76% 81% 62%
Greenway Automotive 592 70% 47% 63%

Top 100 Dealerships

(As of Q2 2019)
Dealership Name City State Reputation Score
Hendrick Lexus Charlotte Charlotte NC 930
Gilbert & Baugh Ford, Inc. Albertville AL 917
Mazda City of Orange Park Jacksonville FL 917
Keller Bros. Ford Lebanon Lebanon PA 913
King Ford Murphy NC 913
Hendrick Lexus Northlake Charlotte NC 910
Friendly Ford Geneva NY 910
Porsche Riverside Riverside CA 910
Witt Lincoln San Diego CA 910
McKie Ford Lincoln Rapid City SD 909
Bob Boyd Lincoln Columbus OH 908
Metro Ford Miami FL 907
BMW of Catonsville Catonsville MD 906
Rusty Wallace Ford Dandridge TN 906
Leman’s Chevy City Bloomington IL 906
Bayou Ford Laplace LA 905
Smail Honda Greensburg PA 905
Bill Jacobs MINI Naperville IL 905
Brilliance Subaru Elgin IL 905
Hendrick Honda Bradenton Bradenton FL 904
Chastang Ford Houston TX 904
Lamoille Valley Ford Hardwick VT 904
Sykora Family Ford West TX 903
Mike Carpino Ford Columbus KS 902
Earl Duff Subaru Harriman TN 900
Hendrick Acura Charlotte NC 900
Nye Ford Oneida NY 899
Howard Bentley Buick GMC Albertville AL 899
Hendrick Lexus Kansas City Merriam KS 898
D’ELLA Honda of Glens Falls Queensbury NY 898
Bob Tomes Ford Mckinney TX 897
Autosaver Ford Comstock NY 896
AutoNation Lincoln Clearwater Clearwater FL 896
Libertyville Lincoln Libertyville IL 896
Shaker’s Family Ford Lincoln Watertown CT 895
Jack Kain Ford Versailles KY 894
Suburban Ford Sandy OR 893
Sunbury Motor Company Sunbury PA 893
Tom Peck Ford of Huntley Huntley IL 892
Miller Motor Sales Inc Burlington WI 892
Planet Hyundai Golden CO 891
Hendrickson Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Monticello IN 890
White Bear Mitsubishi White Bear Lake MN 890
Kimber Creek Ford Pine River MN 889
McCoy and Mills Ford Fullerton CA 889
Wagner Subaru Fairborn OH 889
Ray Dennison Chevrolet Pekin IL 888
Royal Nissan Baton Rouge LA 888
Heritage Toyota Owings Mills Owings Mills MD 888
Finnin Kia Dubuque IA 888
Heritage Mazda Bel Air Bel Air MD 887
Crown Nissan St. Petersburg FL 887
RBM of Alpharetta Alpharetta GA 887
Rick Ridings Ford Monticello IL 887
Courtesy Buick GMC Louisville KY 887
Doug’s Northwest Cadillac Shoreline WA 887
Garnet Ford West Chester PA 886
MINI of Charleston Charleston SC 886
George Coleman Ford Travelers Rest SC 886
Classic Cadillac Mentor OH 886
Terrebonne Ford Lincoln Houma LA 885
Parker Ford-Lincoln Murray KY 885
Flood Ford Lincoln Narragansett RI 885
Faulkner Volvo Feasterville – Trevose PA 885
Smail Acura Greensburg PA 885
O’Brien Nissan Of Bloomington Bloomington IL 884
MINI of Bedford Bedford NH 884
Golden Circle Ford-Lincoln Jackson TN 884
Sunnyside Chevrolet Elyria OH 884
Audi Temecula Temecula CA 884
Jim Ellis Hyundai Atlanta GA 883
Arundel Ford Arundel ME 883
Tamaroff Nissan Southfield MI 883
Hendrick Subaru Southpoint Durham NC 883
Hendrick Porsche Charlotte NC 883
Marlboro Nissan Marlborough MA 883
Bob Ruth Ford Dillsburg PA 883
Bill Colwell Ford Inc. Hudson IA 883
Handy Toyota St Albans City VT 882
Tom Gibbs Chevrolet Palm Coast FL 882
Honda of Lincoln Lincoln NE 882
Sullivan Honda Torrington CT 882
Sam Wampler’s Freedom Ford Mcalester OK 882
Butler Lexus Macon GA 881
Volvo Cars Mall of Georgia Buford GA 881
Lighthouse Buick GMC Morton IL 881
Seelye Kia of Kalamazoo Kalamazoo MI 881
Crown Acura Clearwater FL 881
BMW Southpoint Durham NC 881
John Lee Nissan Panama City FL 881
Crest Ford Center Line MI 881
Jaguar Palm Beach West Palm Beach FL 881
Riley Ford Chazy NY 880
DeVoe Cadillac Naples FL 880
Mainer Ford Okarche OK 880
Toyota of Wausau Wausau WI 880
Paoli Ford Paoli PA 880
Classic Hyundai Mentor OH 880
Flammer Ford of Spring Hill Spring Hill FL 880
Pauli Ford Saint Johns MI 879

Leveraging Location-Level Feedback to Maximize the Value of your Reputation

In addition to providing brand feedback, Reputation Score provides insight at the location level and beyond.

Overall averages can mask poorly performing locations, but much of the underlying data exists at a dealership level, an OEM, regional manager, dealer group or individual dealership can see detailed insights about particular locations or departments in real time — to catch problems when they arise and address them.

At Sonic Automotive and at our dealerships we place significant importance and invest our efforts in managing our online customer reviews. We closely monitor and respond to all reviews, positive or negative. Daily reports are reviewed at all levels of our organization including by our CEO and President.

Rachel Richards
CMO, Sonic Automotive

For example, monitoring your Reputation Score in real time can help you identify:

  • Which dealerships are seeing a drop in customer sentiment and why.
  • When you have received negative feedback that needs to be addressed.
  • Sites where your volume of customer feedback is lagging behind your competitors.
  • When and where your listings data has become inaccurate.
  • Which regions you are leading and lagging in local search, and which competitors are ahead of you.

Reputation Score Provides Location-Level Feedback

Locations, groups and OEM brands that manage their reputation across all touchpoints and all locations can ensure the highest overall score and maximize the entire impact of their reputation and how it drives customer visibility and satisfaction at every one of their dealerships.

Google, Facebook and dozens of other sites have become the go-to resources to get information about vehicles and auto dealers, which means your reputation is displayed prominently on the results pages of any search, whether you ask for it or not.

The nature of search engines and how they help consumers instantly gain answers is why you have to manage your online reputation.

Customers prefer to do business with the best. Having a high Reputation Score and ratings are essential to boost your visibility and how consumers perceive your dealership’s brand.

A solid strategy for improving and maintaining your online reputation has many components:

  1. Make sure that all review sites have correct and consistent information.
    After all, that’s how car buyers find you. Plan quarterly, track monthly and monitor on a daily basis.
  2. Build up a solid base of positive reviews.
    Consistently increasing the volume of positive reviews offset existing negative reviews and show the true level of customer satisfaction.
  3. Monitor and respond to reviews.
    Being proactive on your company and social sites is how to demonstrate commitment to your customers, in order to build customer advocacy online. The unfiltered feedback collected from surveys provides valuable insights into what your dealership is doing well and where some improvements could be made.
  4.  Develop a social media strategy.
    The best way to amplify your dealership and brand online is to get proactive on social media. Develop a strategy to publish consistently on sites like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Sharing positive customer feedback via social channels and your website is a final essential step.
Reputation management has always been a priority to our business, and continuing to lead within our industry is really a testament to each of our 26,000 associates who do everything to create a best-in-class experience for our customers.

Marc Cannon
EVP & CMO, AutoNation

A Deeper Dive Into Reputation Score Influencers

Let’s take a look at three of the main categories influencing Reputation Score — visibility, engagement and sentiment.

Visibility

Visibility refers to the dealership’s online presence, which includes business listings accuracy as well as the consumer’s ability to easily find reviews and feedback.

Google emerges as the primary source of information about dealership locations (e.g. where to find a dealership’s address, phone number, or business hours) — even more than the dealer sites or auto industry-specific sites like Cars.com and Car Gurus. Over the past three years, Google has also dominated in user feedback. While Google star ratings are only one element influencing Reputation Score, they feature prominently on search results and are therefore a key factor in driving consumer choices.

Engagement

Engaging with customers throughout the customer journey drives new content, higher search rankings and greater customer satisfaction. Responding to reviews is no different.

In fact, 75% of consumers expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with a business — both online and offline. That certainly also holds true for the automotive industry.

Dealerships that respond to all negative reviews and the majority of overall reviews have significantly higher sentiment, more reviews, better search rankings, higher Reputation Scores and higher sales volume.

Sentiment

Sentiment refers to the actual consumer feelings about a brand, typically found in written reviews and social media discussions.

The first chart illustrates the overall consumer sentiment for the top dealerships. The second chart illustrates the same for dealerships with a lower Reputation Score. Here, we see many more complaints around sales, service and pricing for lower-ranked dealerships.

Consumer Sentiment for The Top Dealerships

Consumer Sentiment for Dealerships With Lower Reputation Scores

The following charts compare feedback for the top and bottom dealerships in the category of sales.

The number of complaints for dealerships with lower Reputation Scores is much greater, and centers on the salesperson and customer service, financing, issues related to test drives and honoring commitments.

Feedback for The Top Dealerships in The Category of Sales

Feedback for The Bottom Dealerships in The Category of Sales

These charts compare feedback for the top and bottom dealerships on service.

A similar theme emerges: The lower-ranked dealerships received more complaints around service advisors, and customer service, as well as competence and honoring commitments.

Feedback for the Top Dealerships in the Category of Service

Feedback for the Bottom Dealerships in the Category of Service

In addition, Reputation.com found that dealership ratings vary by source: A rating that appears on Google may be higher than one that appears on Facebook, for example:

Comparison of Ratings for the Location on Different Sources

Google Cars.com Facebook Dealer Rater Car Gurus Edmunds
4.4 4.65 4.37 4.76 4.21 4.73
Ratings also vary over time. One item worth noting, along with the increasing volume of reviews over the last several years, star ratings have been rising for auto dealers as well. For example, ratings on Google have risen 0.2 points from 2015 to 2019 (4.27 to 4.47), meaning that getting your dealership noticed online is more competitive than ever, and that 4-star average may not look as great as you think it does.

Average Google Rating Over Time

Brand-Level Customer Feedback

The following charts show the top five OEM brands’ actual rankings in eight categories — Sales, Service, Speed, Pricing, Salesperson, Sales Competence, Service Advisor and Service Competence/Quality — based upon an analysis of all of the online feedback we gathered through 2018.

Each brand was measured on a scale of 1 to 5 in each category (1 being the lowest and 5 the highest).

Sales

Brand Category NPS Associated Rating
Subaru 71% 4.5
Lexus 68% 4.5
Lincoln 66% 4.4
Mazda 65% 4.4
Honda 65% 4.4

The Sales category refers to the actual car-buying experience, from initial greeting through test drive and out the door. Subaru and Lexus tied for the top spot with a 4.5 ranking for each. The others — Lincoln, Mazda and Honda — all tied for second place with a rating not far behind, at 4.4.

Service

Brand Category NPS Associated Rating
Lexus 49% 4.3
Acura 48% 4.3
Infiniti 44% 4.2
Volvo 43% 4.1
Audi 40% 4.1

Service relates to any service maintenance experience, such as an oil change, tire rotation, tune-up, and so on. In this category, Acura bested Subaru to join Lexus at the top with a 4.3 rating. Infiniti came in at No. 2 with a 4.2 rating, and Volvo and Audi tied for third with 4.1 each.

Speed

Brand Category NPS Associated Rating
Subaru 71% 4.5
Lexus 68% 4.5
Lincoln 66% 4.4
Mazda 65% 4.4
Honda 65% 4.4

Ironically, Speed in the automotive report has nothing to do with how fast any of these cars can go. Rather, Speed refers to the speed of service delivery, such as wait times and representative availability at dealerships. In this category, Lexus again emerged at the top with a 4.6 rating. Acura and Subaru followed close behind with ratings of 4.5. Honda and Toyota rolled in at 4.4.

Pricing

Brand Category NPS Associated Rating
Subaru 32% 4
Mazda 27% 3.9
Acura 26% 3.9
Lexus 24% 3.8
Honda 23% 3.8

The Pricing category relates to pricing fairness, including terms and competitiveness of rates and optional services. It also includes the payment experience. Interestingly, this category logged the lowest scores. Subaru came in at 4.0, Mazda and Acura at 3.9, and Lexus and Honda at 3.8.

Salesperson

Brand Category NPS Associated Rating
Subaru 68% 4.5
Lincoln 66% 4.4
Lexus 66% 4.4
Ford 64% 4.3
Acura 63% 4.3

Employees’ attitudes and demeanor often make all the difference in positive online ratings and reviews. The Salesperson category attempted to quantify this. Here, Subaru claimed the top spot with a 4.5 rating. Lincoln and Lexus came in at 4.4 each, and Ford and Acura rounded out the top five with ratings of 4.3.

Sales Competence

Brand Category NPS Associated Rating
Subaru 77% 4.7
Lexus 76% 4.6
Acura 75% 4.7
Honda 73% 4.6
Mazda 73% 4.6

The Sales Competence category relates to how informed and prepared a dealership’s sales representatives are to answer customer questions. Subaru and Acura each rated a 4.7, and Lexus, Honda and Mazda came in with ratings of 4.6.

Service Advisor

Brand Category NPS Associated Rating
Lexus 60% 4.3
Acura 56% 4.2
Volvo 53% 4.1
Mercedes-Benz 50% 4
Honda 49% 4

A service advisor is the liaison between the customer and the service technicians at a dealership. In this category, Lexus earned the top spot with a rating of 4.3. Acura and Volvo came in second and third, with ratings of 4.2 and 4.1, respectively. Mercedes-Benz debuted in the top five in this category with a rating of 4.0, as did Honda.

Service Competence/Quality

Brand Category NPS Associated Rating
Acura 59% 4.5
Lexus 59% 4.4
Infiniti 52% 4.2
Volvo 52% 4.2
Honda 50% 4.2

Service Competence/Quality refers to the quality of work performed in the service department. Acura and Lexus claim the top two spots with ratings of 4.5 and 4.4, respectively. Infiniti, Volvo and Honda all clock in with 4.2 each.

Final Thoughts

In terms of reputation management, the auto industry has done well — better than any other industry we’ve focused on to date. But that’s not a sign that dealerships can rest on their laurels. With the revenue benefits associated with a higher Reputation Score and customer sentiment always changing, dealerships should regularly monitor every touchpoint on the customer journey to make sure nothing is overlooked that could negatively affect the customer experience. A reputation management platform can help here to identify potential issues and ensure you’re covering all your bases. In fact, more than one-third of dealers in the United States now use Reputation.com’s state-of-the-art technology platform and managed services to better attract and engage customers, drive traffic and increase revenue. Find out how you can better manage online customer reviews and increase sales with Reputation.com.

As evident in the findings of this report, brands that are proactively managing online reputation and the customer experience connect with more customers. Your Reputation Score is a window into where your organization is excelling and where issues or opportunities exist. There is tremendous room for brands and dealers to improve overall ratings, as well as drive more traffic and actions such as click-to-call, click for driving directions and scheduling appointments — ultimately resulting in more visits and higher sales.

Want more insights on how to grow your business with the only platform that brings together online reputation management and gives you the tools to take command of your customer experience?

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