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Why I Didn’t Take Any Surveys After I Bought a New Car

Why I Didn’t Take Any Surveys After I Bought a New Car

After being stranded one too many times last summer by my ’02 Volkswagen Jetta, I decided to lease a ’13 Chevy Volt in September.

I hadn’t even left the dealership with my car and already I was being asked to complete a survey.

As my colleague Tom Murphy wrote back in his October blog, “Please Tell Me I’m Truly Exceptional,” dealers are judged so harshly by manufacturers for even a “really satisfied” score that you must be “really, really satisfied” with them, so as not to wreak havoc on your humble salesman’s life.

If I spend the time to take a survey I want to answer it truthfully, so I didn’t take my dealer’s survey.

I also didn’t participate in J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study, the results of which were just released for the ’13 model year.

But I did pocket the $1 they sent. Thanks, guys.

Nor did I fill out the AutoPacific survey that recently arrived in my mailbox.


You would think that, in working at WardsAuto where data is big business, I would be apt to put even more data into this world.

But frankly I have better things to do with my time.

This year’s IQS included 233 questions. 233 questions!

I didn’t count the number of questions on the AutoPacific survey, but it looked to be many more.

Dave Sargent, vice president-global automotive for J.D. Power, says they don’t require 233 answers, as IQS participants only need to answer questions relevant to them.

Still, each question needs to be read and processed, which takes time.

Sargent estimates it takes 40 minutes to complete the IQS questionnaire, but that’s only the start of the fun.

This year, J.D. Power switched to online survey-taking, meaning it can follow up with respondents if their answers are unclear or it wants to know more detail about a particular problem.

I’m sure every industry survey firm is being prodded by auto makers, their customers, to ask more and more questions, but 233 is about 200 too many.

Not only do I take issue with the length of these surveys, but also the number of possible responses.

Again, why must GM know if my experience buying my Volt was “really” satisfying, or “really, really” satisfying?

I love my car, I don’t LOVE MY CAR!!! I don’t LOVE anything but my family.

What’s wrong with “satisfied,” “neutral” and “dissatisfied” choices?

I do love my car. It’s been relatively problem-free. There was an early issue with the passenger airbag that was easily remedied at the dealership.

I also had a volume switch replaced. It had a tendency to change the radio station when held down at length.

I wasn’t put out by either of these problems.

I’m not a complainer.

I have a feeling that most of the people who participate in these surveys are, or, given the tradition of luxury brands scoring well, trying to justify all the Benjamins they spent on their vehicle.

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