Kia is warning its American dealers about poor performance, in response to a J.D. Power study.
The research, which analyzed customer sales satisfaction in the mass market, ranked Kia last, placing them behind 16 other major automakers. The report sourced information from nearly 37,000 consumers, asking them to report on their experiences with various steps in the dealership process.
However, neither Kia’s leadership or retail body have agreed on exactly why performance was so poor. Speaking to dealers earlier in the year, Chief Operating Officer, Steve Center, expressed worries that the brand could fall behind others due to its dealers’ poor digital literacy. Center used Sears as a cautionary example of what happens to companies who fail to adapt to new technology. Speaking later to Wards Auto in November, Center explained that dealerships “have to find a way to meet customer expectations.”
Yet the J.D. Power report attaches minimal importance to digital access, focusing instead on consumer experiences at the dealership. The question of what exactly Kia’s dealers should do to resolve its customer satisfaction issues has seemingly remained unanswered. The problem may be more pervasive than it seems, however. Hyundai, a partial owner of Kia, scored barely above its subsidiary in the same report, landing in second-to-last-place behind Toyota, and some 67 points short of the study’s leader, Buick.
Despite its customer service woes, it seems drivers of Kia vehicles are perfectly happy with their purchases, once the buying process is over, which is reflected in the company’s strong sales numbers. The brand hopes to leverage the generally positive reputation of its vehicles to grow its EV lineup over the next decade. Doing so, however, may require effort from all sectors of the organization, beyond its retailers.
Did you enjoy this article? Please share your thoughts, comments, or questions regarding this topic by connecting with us at email@example.com.