What are others saying about PSI?
BusinessWeek Mercedes, Lexus top ranking of U.S. dealerships
Autoline Detroit The Best Sales Experience
Learn how to get your first PSI evaluation for your dealership FREE.
Questions?
Call Us:
+1 (800) 564-3268
(USA & Canada)
+1 (831) 240-0126

Pied Piper Management Company, LLC on Facebook Pied Piper Management Company, LLC on YouTube Pied Piper Management Company, LLC on Twitter


WEB SITE VERIFIED - STARFIELD SECURED

Recent Press - Automotive News

View all articles or select industry below:

ALL    Automotive    Motorcycle    RV/Marine    RSS RSS Feed

Automotive News Lexus, Subaru rank high for responding to internet leads

Automotive News
Lexus, Subaru rank high for responding to internet leads

March 2014

March 2014

LOS ANGELES -- Automakers whose dealers respond quickly to Internet leads with a personalized contact have tended to gain market share over those who treat those leads more casually with auto-response emails or salesman form letters.

The 2014 Pied Piper's Internet Lead Effectiveness Benchmarking Study, found that although the industry-average performance was unchanged over last year, 21 of 33 brands improved their responsiveness. But only two brands, Lexus and Subaru, have remained in the top one-third of the rankings every survey year from 2011 to 2014.

The study uses mystery shoppers to score dealerships on how responsive they are to queries made over the Internet. Among the mass-market brands, Honda, Nissan, Dodge and Ford were the top finishers, while Chevrolet had the worst finish among large brands.

Responsiveness appears to be key in maintaining strong customer relations and improved sales. Of the top 10 brands in last year's survey, eight gained share. Of the bottom 10 last year, six lost share.

“Today's most successful brands and dealerships tend to be the ones that thrive on customer Internet inquiries,” said Fran O'Hagan, CEO of Pied Piper, a mystery-shopping consultant. “The days of considering the Internet as a separate piece of the car business are gone. Today, the Internet is as much a part of the car business as the showroom.”

But some dealerships have yet to embrace the Internet.

No response at all

Of the 14,500 Internet leads that were submitted to dealerships, 7 percent received no response at all.

“If you imagined every 14th person walking into a showroom being ignored, that would be a problem,” O'Hagan said.

Failing to respond to more than 10 percent of the leads were Chrysler, Infiniti, Kia, Mazda, Mini, Mitsubishi and Scion dealers. On the flip side, Buick, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Porsche, Smart and Subaru dealers answered 98 percent or more of their Internet leads.

» View PDF of Article (118.1 KB) PDF Document



Automotive News First Shift Mystery Win for Benz

Automotive News First Shift
Mystery Win for Benz

July 2013

For the fifth straight year, Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked first in Pied Piper's annual survey which rates how car dealers treat car-shoppers in person.

Pied Piper's annual study sends thousands of mystery shoppers to dealerships nationwide to see how effectively salespeople sell.



Automotive News Survey: Mercedes stores have the most effective salespeople

Automotive News
Survey: Mercedes stores have the most effective salespeople

July 2013

LOS ANGELES -- A study of car dealership sales techniques shows that luxury brands often are the most effective deal-closers and also are best at making customers happy. Among mass-market brands, Hyundai, Kia, Ford and Toyota were the leaders.

Among all brands, Mercedes-Benz dealers finished atop the 11-month mystery shopping study by Pied Piper Management Co. of Monterey, Calif. Infiniti finished second, while last year's winner, Lexus, finished third.

Using 5,203 mystery shoppers, Pied Piper repeatedly visited dealerships to analyze their processes and techniques to create the Prospect Satisfaction Index.

Pied Piper CEO Fran O'Hagan said his survey is different from J.D. Power and Associates' Sales Satisfaction Index because Power "only measures everything after the customer says, 'I'll take it.'

"It's all the stuff before then that matters. We're measuring how effectively the sales team sells," O'Hagan said.

Tactics for all brands

Some tactics seem to work best across all brands. Offering a test drive, as well as trying to get the customers to the negotiating table, are more effective at closing a deal. Yet a small percentage of dealerships do neither.

If a salesman is empowered to talk about leasing or financing options — instead of making the customer wait to talk to the F&I department — that's even better at closing the deal. And while being a "friendly museum curator" is seen as an essential tactic for a genteel luxury brands, it doesn't sell cars, O'Hagan said.

Not that everything has improved on the showroom floor, though. While many salespeople sell themselves and the car, fewer salespeople are giving customers a compelling reason to buy from their specific dealership

"The best dealerships have a process. It's not the Wild West where you get to sell the way you want to," O'Hagan said.



Automotive News First Shift Secret shoppers pick Porsche

Automotive News First Shift
Secret shoppers pick Porsche

March 2013

Porsche and dealerships ranked highest in a study that looked how auto dealers handle internet leads.

Pied Piper's annual study used internet mystery shopping to contact 11,000+ dealerships to see how the U.S. dealer networks for all car brands compare.



Automotive News Study: Dealerships respond better to Internet leads

Automotive News
Study: Dealerships respond better to Internet leads

March 2013

LOS ANGELES – Car dealerships are doing better at responding to Internet leads, but the quality of the responses still leaves something to be desired, according to a new study.

Mystery-shopping consultant Pied Piper Management Co. found that most of the 11,353 dealerships it submitted Internet inquires to in the past year now use customer relationship management software. And although the software usually automatically responds immediately to an e-mail inquiry, what happens after can make all the difference.

» View PDF of Article (158 KB) PDF Document



Automotive News First Shift Secret shoppers pick Benz

Automotive News First Shift
Secret shoppers pick Benz

July 2012

Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in a study that looked how auto dealers treat customers.

Pied Piper's annual study sends thousands of secret shoppers to stores across the U.S. and measures how salespeople perform.



Automotive News Mercedes has most effective sales process

Automotive News
Mercedes has most effective sales process

July 2012

Some vehicle brands that score high in customer satisfaction surveys do less well when the effectiveness of dealership salespeople is measured, according to a California consultant. Mystery shopping consultant Pied Piper of Monterey, Calif., sent 4,419 shoppers to dealerships nationwide, from July 2011 to June 2012, to measure salespeople's effectiveness in selling cars on the showroom floor.

Mercedes-Benz ranked first in the survey and led all brands in 10 of the 60 sales activities measured in Pied Piper's Prospect Satisfaction Index. For example, Mercedes led in salesperson introductions, offering a thorough test drive and focusing attention on important features. Mercedes was followed by Acura, Infiniti and Lexus.

Pied Piper said it looked at everything leading up to the purchase decision, starting from the first contact by the salesperson to the customer's decision to purchase or not. J.D. Power's Sales Satisfaction Index asks consumers for their impression of a dealership where they had recently purchased a vehicle.

» View PDF of Article (948.9 KB) PDF Document



Automotive News First Shift Secret Shoppers Pick Mercedes

Automotive News First Shift
Secret Shoppers Pick Mercedes

July 2011

Mercedes-Benz dealerships ranked highest in a study by Pied Piper Management Company to measure how effectively dealerships sell cars. Jaguar and Lexus tied for second.



Automotive News Rethinking Scion

Automotive News
Rethinking Scion

May 2011

According to mystery-shopping consultancy Pied Piper of Monterey, Calif., although Toyota's sales practices are near the industry average, Scion's are the third-worst.
Scion trailed other youth-oriented brands such as Volkswagen, Kia and Mazda mostly because the brand's low-pressure sales techniques don't give customers a reason to buy now or return for a future visit. Scion salespeople fared well in product knowledge, not overselling, and having power over negotiating the selling price.
"We are improving the customer experience, the shopping process, the in-dealership, service," said Dawn Ahmed, Scion corporate manager. "There are lots of opportunities there."

» View PDF of Article (1.66 MB) PDF Document



Automotive News Survey: Dealers botch many Web leads

Automotive News
Survey: Dealers botch many Web leads

March 2011

Ninety percent of internet customers received some sort of response, but usually it's the e-mail equivalent of a form letter, according to a survey by Pied Piper Management Company of Monterey, California.

» View PDF of Article (127.7 KB) PDF Document