Captive auto lenders still topped the banks in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study, released last week. But banks are gaining ground, says Richard Howse, senior director of J.D. Power’s auto financing area: “Satisfaction with banks is gaining at a much greater pace than with the financing industry as a whole,” he observes.
The study is based on consumer responses between May and September, “prior to all the craziness,” Howse notes. Captive financers have “built strong relationships with dealers over the years, and this is a relationship business.” Even though “market dynamics are changing a little bit” customers continue to focus on “how they are treated—who resolves problems on the first try, who has the best billing statements,” adds Howse.