Which dealers car buyers like best: J.D. Power

Shoppers who bought new cars from Mini and Lexus this year had the best buying experience, according to a new survey from J.D. Power and Associates.

Lexus topped the luxury brands and Mini repeated last year's win among mass market names, according to Power's annual Sales Satisfaction Index.

Power researchers surveyed 24,000 people who bought or leased new cars during May 2011. Respondents ranked their satisfaction in four categories: Working out the deal, the sales person, the delivery process and the dealership facility. Overall sales satisfaction averaged 648 out a possible 1,000 - a 13 point increase from last year.

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The biggest gain from last year's ratings  was in the delivery process. That seemed to result from dealer personnel giving buyers longer demonstrations of the technology that controls entertainment, navigation and cell-phone calling, says Jim Gaz, director of automotive research at Power. Some 88 percent of buyers said they received such a technology demonstration. These  training sessions may improve perceptions of vehicle quality, Gaz said, since major complaints in new-car quality surveys have centered on problems with using this technology.

Further details of the study:

--Following Lexus among luxury brands were Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz. Improving sharply from last year were Lincoln, moving from ninth to sixth and Audi, up from 11th to ninth. However, both remained below the luxury average.

-- Behind Mini in mass-market brands came General Motors' Buick and GMC. Volkswagen moved up sharply  from 13th to fourth, while Scion improved from 11th to fifth. Among high-volume U.S. brands, Chevrolet ranked fifth, Chrysler ninth and Ford 10th, all above average. Jeep finished dead last.

For full rankings, see below:

Mass Market Brands

Mini

Buick

GMC

Volkswagen

Chevrolet

Scion

Subaru

Mazda

Chrysler

Ford

Toyota

Mass Market Average

Honda

Nissan

Mitsubishi

Hyundai

Dodge

Kia

Ram

Jeep

Luxury Brands

Lexus

Cadillac

Mercedes-Benz

Porsche

Land Rover

Luxury average

Lincoln

BMW

Infiniti

Audi

Acura

Volvo

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