Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar unit led all automotive brands in customers' satisfaction with their buying experience, according to a survey released Wednesday by research firm J.D. Power & Associates.
The Westlake Village-based company said satisfaction with buying a new car or truck registered a record high for the 20 years it has been conducting the survey.
Jaguar received 912 points out of a maximum 1,000 to lead its closest competitor, General Motors Corp.'s Cadillac brand, in the survey of more than 42,000 motorists who registered new vehicles in May. Jaguar improved by 23 points over its score last year, and it had the largest margin of victory in the history of the survey.
"They did exceptionally well this year. Jaguar has been first the last three years on the study. They have traditionally done very well," said Tom Gauer, senior director of automotive retail practice for J.D. Power.
Cadillac scored 891 in the survey, which measures customer satisfaction with the dealership facility, salesperson, paperwork and finance process, delivery process and vehicle price.
"In each one of those areas, the industry performed better than it ever has," Gauer said.
As in previous years, luxury nameplates generally performed better than nonluxury brands, with Porsche of Germany and Ford's Lincoln tied for third. GM's Saturn, with its no-haggle pricing, ranked highest of the mainstream nameplates, tying for fifth place with the Lexus luxury brand of Toyota Motor Corp.
The industry average score was 847, with luxury brands averaging 876 and nonluxury brands 843.
Gauer said Chevrolet and Ford performed better than Japanese rivals Honda and Toyota, which traditionally are superior in J.D. Power's vehicle quality rankings.
The Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge brands of DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group bested Toyota but were behind Honda Motor Co.'s Honda brand.
Gauer said part of the domestic brands' leadership could be explained by demographics. Traditionally, the Asian automakers attract younger buyers who are tougher graders than older ones, he said.
But still, the domestics largely performed better.
"When it comes to looking at issues more on the personal interaction side ... Asian manufacturers are not as strong," he said.