Customer-service satisfaction among owners of battery-electric vehicles is significantly lower than among owners of internal-combustion-engine vehicles, a J.D. Power survey shows.
Increasing numbers of BEVs serviced at dealerships contributed to the first year-on-year decline in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study in 28 years, the research organization says. Satisfaction with the service experience declined 2 points to 846 on a 1,000-point scale.
Recall rates are more than double for BEVs than for their gasoline/diesel counterparts, a major reason why customer-service satisfaction among BEV owners was 42 points lower than among ICE owners, J.D. Power says.
“As the electric-vehicle segment grows, service is going to be a ‘make or break’ part of the ownership experience,” says Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power.
Among individual brands (all segments), Lexus ranked highest in satisfaction with dealer service for a second straight year, with a score of 900. Porsche was ranked second-highest among premium brands at 800, followed by Cadillac (879) and Infiniti (878).
Among premium cars, Lexus ranked highest (902), followed by Porsche (880) and Infiniti (878).
Among premium SUVs, Lexus (900) ranked highest. Second-place Cadillac and Porsche were tied at 880.
Mitsubishi (pictured, below) was No.1 in satisfaction with dealer service among mass-market brands (all segments) for the first time, with a score of 884. Mazda (870) ranked second and Buick (867) ranked third.
Mitsubishi’s overall No.1 ranking was underpinned by an 884 score in the mass-market SUVs/minivan segment. Mazda (872) and Buick (867) followed.
In the mass-market car segment, Subaru ranked highest with 866, followed by Mazda and Honda with 863 and 855, respectively.
Nissan (886) ranked highest in satisfaction among truck brands, scoring 886. Chevrolet (851) ranked second and GMC (843) ranked third.
The three brands with the greatest improvement in year-over-year satisfaction rankings were Alfa Romeo (+59 points), Mitsubishi (+30) and Infiniti (+16).
The 2023 study is the first in its 43-year history to rank customer satisfaction by model segment.
“A truck is not a car, and the vehicle needs are going to be different,” Sutton says. “Each vehicle segment has a unique service experience based on customer preferences, demographics and vehicle use, wear and tear, so it’s appropriate to recognize the different journeys that car, SUV and truck customers have in the service experience.”
Service advisor knowledge was another major satisfaction issue among BEV owners, who provided a rating of 8.01 on a 10-point scale, compared with 8.59 among owners of ICE vehicles.
“The industry has been hyper-focused on launches and now these customers are bringing their electric vehicles in for maintenance and repairs,” Sutton says.
“As training programs for service advisors and technicians evolve, EV service quality and customer experience must address both the vehicle and the unique customer needs. The EV segment has the potential to spur massive convenience improvements in how customers service their vehicles – but we’re not seeing the benefits yet.”
The study, now in its 43rd year, measures satisfaction with service at franchised dealer or aftermarket service facilities for maintenance or repair work among owners and lessees of 1- to 3-year-old vehicles. Results were based on responses from 64,248 verified registered owners and lessees of 2020 to 2022 model-year vehicles. The study was conducted from August through December 2022.
The study’s rankings of the highest-performing automotive brands sold in the U.S. are based on the combined scores of five measures comprising the vehicle owner service experience. These measures are service quality (32%); service advisor (19%); vehicle pick-up (19%); service facility (15%); and service initiation (15%).