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Mercedes tops customer satisfaction in 2012

Rewarding: Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific president and CEO Juergen Sauer receives the 2012 Car Manufacturer of the Year plaque from Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine.

Benz collects its first Roy Morgan automotive award as customers give thumbs up

21 Feb 2013

MERCEDES-BENZ has been named Car Manufacturer of the Year in the 2012 Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards, pipping Subaru for the prize handed out in Melbourne last night.

The German company promptly declared its ambition to go back-to-back in the 2013 awards, despite an expected big influx of first-time Benz buyers attracted to the brand by the new entry level A-Class hatch and CLA sedan.

In 2011, Mercedes was equal fourth with Subaru behind Lexus, Volvo and Honda in the awards which are based on the results of Roy Morgan Research ‘single source’ surveys of 50,000 ordinary Australians and 22,000 business decision makers throughout the year.

Last year, Mercedes finished on top of monthly survey results six times in what Roy Morgan Research described as a remarkably consistent performance that deviated only 1.4 per cent across the year.

Subaru came a close second, winning four of the monthly surveys, with Honda and Volvo winning one each.

Lexus found the going a little tougher in 2012, finishing second in January and fifth in February before dropping out of the top five.

 center imageLeft: Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific president and CEO Juergen Sauer.

Audi and Suzuki also figured in the top five in some months during 2012.

After receiving the winner’s plaque in Melbourne this week, Mercedes-Benz Australia/Pacific president and CEO Juergen Sauer said Mercedes-Benz received many awards, but the greatest award was finishing number one in customer feedback through independent surveys such as those done by Roy Morgan Research.

He said most of Mercedes’ competitors had “customer satisfaction number one” as their main target, but it was hard to achieve because customers could be highly critical of products.

“If they (customers) think we are the best in the field from their point of view, we can be really proud,” he said.

Mr Sauer said Mercedes-Benz had set up a lot of internal programs to change the customer satisfaction values for CSI (customer satisfaction index).

“We change this from year to year, and we try to implement these with all our dealers, and this has worked,” he said.

Mr Sauer said the new and more affordable A-Class and CLA models would provide an opportunity to impress a growing number of buyers with Mercedes’ high standards of customer care.

“This helps, because most customers have not had any contact with our brand so far, so when they come, maybe their expectation is not so big,” he said.

“We don’t make a difference between a customer who buys an A-Class or buys an S-Class.

“So, the customers for the A-Class might appreciate very much our customer performance.”

The new A-Class will be launched next week with pricing starting from $35,600 (plus on-road costs).

The CLA – essentially a sedan version of the A-Class and built on the same MFA modular platform – arrives in the second half of the year.

Mr Sauer said he was confident the arrival of the new models would propel Mercedes ahead of its rival BMW in Australian market sales this year.

In announcing the award to Mercedes-Benz, Roy Morgan Research CEO Michele Levine said customer satisfaction awards were not about luxury.

She pointed out that Suzuki had won the New Zealand equivalent last year.

“It is about satisfying the customers that choose you,” she said.

The Roy Morgan awards – now in their second year – cover 37 categories across retailing, the finance industry and service providers.

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