DETROIT (Reuters) - Mercedes-Benz dealerships were tops for the third straight year in an independent study issued on Monday of U.S. auto dealers that uses secret shoppers to determine how customers are treated.
Mercedes-Benz, a Daimler AG brand, was followed by Jaguar, a Tata Motors brand, and Lexus, the luxury brand of Toyota Motor Corp , which tied for second.
Toyota's U.S. dealerships and Chrysler's Ram pickup truck dealers were best among mass-market brands in the Pied Piper study. Fuller results are at http://www.piedpiperpsi.com
Chrysler is managed by Italy's Fiat SpA.
Mercedes-Benz is in a tight race with BMW to overtake Lexus this year as the top-selling luxury brand in the U.S. market. Lexus lost sales because of the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan that curbed production.
While there are variations, the brands that scored the poorest were those that had fewest sales per dealership, where good sales people are difficult to retain, said Fran O'Hagen, CEO of Pied Piper, based in Monterey, California.