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Study Finds Mercedes Benz Tops List For Best Dealership Experience

Mercedes is #1 in the 2011 Pied Piper Dealership Experience Study

It’s probably not too surprising to most car shoppers that dealerships selling luxury car brands treat their customers the best, with Mercedes-Benz topping the list for 2011. Pied Piper PSI, a company that monitors consumer satisfaction for the automotive industry, sent more than 3500 mystery shoppers to dealerships across the United States to measure how well people shopping for vehicles were treated by each brand’s staff.

The top five dealerships in the study were:

  1. Mercedes-Benz
  2. Jaguar
  3. Lexus
  4. Acura
  5. Infiniti

There was a four-way tie for sixth place between Cadillac, Land Rover, Ram, and Toyota, with those last two being the highest-ranked non-luxury brands on the list.

Interestingly, the overall treatment of shoppers at all dealerships declined a bit in 2011, compared to Pied Piper’s 2010 results. Only five brands -- Mini, Infiniti, Buick, Jeep, and Scion -- were able to improve their scores by a few points.

Pied Piper measured 58 points of the sales process and found that salespeople were less likely to mention maintenance programs and costs and less likely to discuss which features were relevant to the shopper’s needs. The salespeople were more likely to provide reasons shoppers should buy now.

There are a couple practical bits of advice to take away from this study (and no, it’s not that you should buy a car you can’t afford because the salespeople are nicer). No matter where you shop, make sure you ask about typical maintenance costs for the vehicle you’re interested in buying. Make sure the salesperson understands how you’re going to use the vehicle so they can help tailor options and packages. And don’t bow to pressure if you’re not ready to buy. While some sales are better than others, it’s rarely the case that you’ll miss out on a deal so huge you should rush into a new vehicle purchase without thinking.

Before you set foot in any dealership, use the research tools in our New Autos section to find the best car for you -- and your wallet.