Vehicle owners in China often turn to non-dealers in the early stages of ownership even when most vehicles are still under warranty, according to the 2017 China Customer Service Index Study released on Thursday by U.S.-based J.D. Power, a global market research firm.
As the primary competitors of authorized dealers, car service chain stores and street quick-service centers account for 66 percent of all non-dealer services mainly thanks to their convenient locations. That factor accounts for 43 percent among all factors in consumers' choices, said the study.
New-vehicle owners visit these non-dealers mainly for such services as lubrication, oil or filter changes and other routine maintenance. Their expenditures on service at dealers and non-dealers in the past year were very close - an average of 2,450 yuan (4) and 2,098 yuan, respectively, according to the study.
The study also showed that new-vehicle owners' overall rating of dealers' service is "outstanding," while non-dealers' service is rated as "average," with the rating for non-dealer visits falling as the length of ownership grows.
"A lower level of satisfaction at non-dealers among new-vehicle owners provides dealers with an opportunity to win over these customers at the time their warranties just begin to expire," said Frank Hu, general manager of auto retail at J.D. Power China.
Among the luxury auto brands, Audi ranked highest in satisfaction with dealer service with a score of 764, while Porsche ranked second and Land Rover third.
Among mass market brands, Beijing Hyundai ranked highest with a score of 744, followed by DongfengYueda Kia, Changan Ford and Geely, which was the only Chinese domestic brand among top 10 in the mass market segment.
"In terms of after-sale services, the gaps among auto brands are continuously narrowing and domestic ones are genuinely making breakthroughs in this regard, even overtaking joint venture and foreign ones," Mei Songlin, vice president and managing director at J.D. Power China, said on Thursday.