Ford Motor Credit Co. and its Lincoln Automotive Financial Services unit earned the top spots in the 2012 Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study of J.D. Power and Associates released last week. According to the study, Ford Credit ranked No. 1 in leasing among volume brands. Its Lincoln AFS unit, on the other hand, ranked No. 1 in luxury leases, besting Lexus Financial Services, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and BMW Financial Services.
Meanwhile, Volkswagen Credit ranked No. 1 for volume brands in loans. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services ranked No. 1 for customer satisfaction with luxury loans. J.D. Power and Associates renewed the Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study after a four-year lull and revamped it for 2012. Among the modifications in the study include switching to an online survey format as well as switching to a single time frame for collecting surveys instead of conducting two surveys per year.
The 2012 Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study is based on 11,259 surveys from customers who bought or leased a new vehicle from June 2011 to May 2012. Lisa Stimac, account director for automotive finance at J.D. Power, remarked that the 2012 study ranks consumer satisfaction with auto lenders based on four main criteria that statistically have had the strongest correlation to overall satisfaction: billing and payment, interest rate/monthly payment, Web site and phone contact.
According to Stimac, customer handling in billing and payments certainly affect consumer intentions toward selecting a finance provider for their next purchase. She noted that analysis of customer responses gave the billing and payment category of questions roughly twice the weight of interest rate/monthly payment.