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Auto financing, service preferable at dealers

Mar 16, 2012 Philip Burgess

As the U.S. auto market continues its months-long rebound, consumers are weighing their options of where to buy, and how they'll finance their purchases. According to a report released this week by J.D. Power and Associates, vehicle owners are considerably more satisfied with the service at dealer facilities than at independent service centers. Specifically, satisfaction with dealers' service experience averaged 38 points higher on a 1,000-point scale than non-dealer facilities. Driving this trend is an uptick in maintenance and repair work offered by dealers. Auto financing options also tend to be broader at official dealers, providing further incentive for buyers to seek out these businesses for service and repairs. "Steady improvements in vehicle quality, longer intervals between recommended service visits and a higher mix of maintenance service events have had a positive effect on overall dealer service satisfaction," said Chris Sutton, senior director at J.D. Power and Associates. "Moreover, manufacturers and their dealers have instituted broad-based customer service improvement." These initiatives increased customer satisfaction with both the purchase experience and after-sales service.