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Kelley Blue Book: Why Americans are more annoyed with their car purchases

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In a year when prices soared and choices dwindled, Americans didn’t like car shopping.

Sometimes, in the news business, we write something new. Other times, we have to write something everyone sees coming. This is one of those.

J.D. Power’s Sales Satisfaction Index examines the experience of buying a new car from the customer’s perspective. In 2022, the study found, overall satisfaction fell for the first time in a decade.

People don’t like overpaying

Price was a big part of why. New car prices skyrocketed as a global microchip shortage and other supply-chain problems left automakers unable to build as many cars as Americans wanted to buy.

When dealers know they’ll find another buyer if the current prospect walks away, they don’t discount cars. In October 2021, incentives made up 4.3% of the average new car transaction price. One year later, they made up 2.1%.

The average non-luxury buyer in October paid $690 over sticker price. Luxury buyers continue to pay more than MSRP as well, though prices are trending closer to or below sticker prices in some luxury segments.

Also see: The luxury cars buyers look for most

Risk to long-term reputations

“When dealers charge more than MSRP, particularly with long-term loyal customers, they risk a potential long-term negative effect on customer advocacy and service business,” said Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power.

Overall sales satisfaction, on a 1,000-point scale, stood at 786 in this year’s survey. Buyers who paid under MSRP reported an average of 850. Buyers who paid over reported 757.

Who had the best buying experience? Alfa Romeo customers reported a satisfaction level of 833. Alfa dealers have consistently had the highest inventory in the industry throughout 2022.

Industry stalwarts like Toyota
TM,
-0.77%

and Honda
HMC,
-1.75%
,
meanwhile, have frequently found themselves with low inventories in 2022. They finished near the bottom of the index.

Read: The most and least reliable car brands, according to Consumer Reports

J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index among premium brands
Brand Score (out of 1,000 points)
Alfa Romeo 833
Porsche
POAHY,
+1.83%
831
Lexus 819
Cadillac 812
Infiniti 811
Jaguar 811
Lincoln 810
Mercedes-Benz 810
BMW
BMW,
+0.05%
808
Land Rover 805
Acura 794
Audi 792
Volvo
VLVLY,
-0.11%
788
Genesis 745
J.D. Power Sales Satisfaction Index among mass-market brands
Brand Score (out of 1,000 points)
Buick 825
Dodge 816
Subaru
FUJHY,
-0.92%
804
Chevrolet 803
GMC 802
Jeep 797
Ram 795
Ford
F,
-1.56%
791
Mazda
MZDAY,
-2.19%
790
Nissan
NSANY,
-2.01%
785
Chrysler 783
Volkswagen
VWAGY,
-0.87%
778
Honda 773
Toyota 762
Hyundai 758
Kia
000270,
-1.35%
754

This story originally ran on KBB.com. 

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