Which car brand has the best UK car dealers in 2022?
Our 2022 Driver Power survey reveals the best and worst dealer networks
The best car dealers are those which give a good impression right the way through the ownership experience. From the moment you step into a brand’s showroom to buy a new car, until it’s due a service, the best brands’ dealership networks will be those that offer support, good workmanship and friendly customer service.
Our 2022 Driver Power survey includes information on more than just manufacturers and their cars; it also covers the experiences of customers, giving us a clear picture of which dealers you consider to be the best in the UK.
A visit or phone call to a showroom can be enough to win or lose your custom so the performance of dealers is crucial to the industry. Many of us judge a dealership on presentation, facilities and the attitude of its staff because buying a car is such a significant purchase and all of these factors are accounted for in the Driver Power survey.
During your ownership, your car will need servicing and may need an MOT or maintenance/repair work carried out. As a customer, you’ll want the dealership to be helpful, efficient and communicative. We regularly hear stories - good and bad - about dealership after-sales care and this information is essential reading for anyone looking to purchase a car.
The Kia XCeed finished top of our 2022 Driver Power survey but can the Kia dealer network match these reviews?
Driver Power dealer report
As part of our 2022 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, we asked thousands of you what you love and loathe about your cars and the dealers you use. Motorists were polled across seven different categories, including cost, the showroom experience and technical knowledge. The best and worst garages have been rated, and you can find out which manufacturer offers the best combination of service, quality of work and, most crucially for some, value for money.
The UK’s best car dealerships 2021
1. Honda – 93.38%
Honda finished in first place with the best dealership experience as rated by customers, beating its eighth-place finish in last year’s survey. Customers really liked Honda’s aftersales service and were impressed with the communication they received from the service centres and the facilities they offered.
The Honda retail experience was also highly rated, with customers praising the attractive offers on models, especially when it came to tailoring great value finance for their new cars. Customers reported friendly staff and clean, good quality facilities within the dealerships themselves, too.
13.7% of respondents reported having some sort of an issue with the aftersales service, and this was mostly down to cars not being ready when promised. However, 68.4% reported that once their issue was raised Honda did a good job at resolving it to their satisfaction.
2. Lexus – 93.13%
Lexus is a consistent high performer in the Driver Power dealers survey. In 2022 Lexus dealers earned a second-place finish overall, and the brand came top in the aftersales category.
Customers were particularly impressed with the service centres offered by Lexus, with a great level of communication, friendly staff and good workmanship. Lexus owners also liked the facilities offered in showrooms and were happy with the deals they managed to come to when buying their cars.
An impressively low 2.9% of respondents had an issue with their aftersales experience, although none of these issues reportedly came to a satisfactory resolution. Most complaints related to the car not being cleaned before being handed back to the owner following a service, however.
3. Peugeot – 92.92%
Peugeot managed a podium finish in the 2022 Driver Power survey of the best dealers. Of note were Peugeot’s excellent service centre facilities, which respondents considered to be very clean with hygiene and Covid-19 restrictions strictly adhered to. Communication was reportedly another strong point, customers said, thanks to clear and easy-to-understand paperwork.
The retail experience was also highly rated, with Peugeot offering plenty of deals and finance options to satisfy customers across its broad model and trim ranges. Just under 11% of Peugeot owners reported issues surrounding the aftersales experience across several areas. The most common complaints were that their cars didn’t come back cleaned following a service, that the work wasn’t finished when promised or that staff weren’t courteous.
4. Subaru – 91.30%
Subaru has remained consistent in the 2022 Driver Power dealers survey, finishing in the same fourth-place spot that it took in 2021. While customers praised the aftersales experience in 2021, this was one of the weak areas for Subaru dealers this year. Instead, Subaru customers placed the brand top of the charts for the retail experience in 2022 – an area which the brand performed poorly for in 2021.
Customers were happy with the way salespeople at Subaru dealerships treated them, and were satisfied with the deals they were able to agree to with them. Customers also praised the dealerships’ facilities and considered the handover process to be straightforward.
In contrast to this, Subaru owners were less satisfied with the staff at service centres and found their workmanship to be fairly sloppy. 13.7% of respondents reported issues with the work provided by Subaru’s service centres. The main complaints were that their cars came back uncleaned and that cost estimates were not provided or exceeded.
5. Kia – 91.10%
Although a fifth place finish for 2022 is still very respectable, Kia will likely be disappointed given the brand has fallen from its third-place spot in last year’s survey. One of the brand’s strong points was communication from service centres, thanks to its clear paperwork and concise explanations for various services.
Buyers also praised the retail experience, thanks to plenty of tailor-made options for financing their Kia, and they felt confident that staff were friendly and had the knowledge to best serve them. Customers buying their Kia through the pandemic were impressed with the cleanliness of showrooms and the virtual buying options they were offered.
However, 12.7% of owners experienced an issue at a Kia service centre, with many reporting that their cars weren’t ready when promised, came back uncleaned or that the work wasn’t even carried out on their car.
6. Toyota – 90.78%
Toyota finishes four places behind its Lexus sister company in sixth-place for 2022. Toyota is known for bulletproof reliability, and the brand does a better job at aftersales than its retail experience.
Customers reported issues with the handover process when buying their new Toyota and felt like their new car’s features weren’t explained well enough to them. They reported a lack of communication in general during the buying process.
Communication was a strong point for Toyota’s aftersales team, though. Customers appreciated the clear paperwork and explanations offered by Toyota technicians. Work was carried out on their cars to an impressive standard and timely manner, we’re told, and just 5.1% reported an issue with the service. The only real cause for complaint was a higher than expected price for servicing costs.
7. Nissan – 90.45%
Nissan has come back fighting with a seventh place finish for 2022 – that’s a big improvement over the brand’s 13th-place result in 2021. The Japanese carmaker scored its best results in the retail categories. Customers felt the brand’s dealers offered good deals thanks to flexible and competitive finance options to suit their needs.
The salespeople were friendly and explained the paperwork in the sales process clearly.
Nissan’s aftersales experience wasn’t as well received, however. Many respondents reportedly struggled to get a courtesy car from their Nissan dealer, but staff were still friendly and approachable. While just 5% of respondents said they experienced an issue with their Nissan service centre, the main complaints were that the fault was not correctly identified and fixed.
8. Ford – 90.37%
Ford’s dealer network came in eighth place in the survey with some mixed reviews. Its aftersales department really impressed owners with a top-of-the-leaderboard score for workmanship, and it came in second place for communication.However, while customers praised the courteous staff, they were less impressed with the facilities offered at service centres, especially in waiting areas.
This is a similar theme on the retail side of Ford’s dealer network, with good ratings for staff, but less impressive scores for facilities and dealership environments.
7.8% of respondents reported an issue with their aftersales experience – most of these complaints are attributed to service centres failing to identify and fix their faults.
9. Audi – 89.23%
In ninth place, Audi scores well for showroom facilities, but disappointingly for service centre satisfaction. This is mainly due to Audi dealers’ limited supply of courtesy cars, although this comes as no surprise amidst a shortage of new cars being produced and sky-high used car prices – dealers are likely selling as much stock as they can instead of holding back cars to loan out to customers.
6.3% of respondents reported an issue with the Audi aftersales experience, most notably for high servicing costs that included unexpected charges and the time it took for jobs to be completed. Most respondents considered the brand’s staff as courteous, however.
10. Volkswagen – 89.13%
Volkswagen came in 10th place in the survey. A strong suit for the brand’s service centres were its positive ratings for facilities. Hygiene, cleanliness and comfort of the waiting areas all did well, but in a similar vein to Audi, a lack of courtesy cars negatively affected Volkswagen’s score.
On the retail side of things Volkswagen performed more poorly. Showroom facilities were not highly rated by customers and they were reportedly dissatisfied with the deals they negotiated. Sales staff were rated okay, although customers didn’t feel that employees had enough product knowledge to make the handover process smooth enough.
20.3% of respondents reported a problem when dealing with a Volkswagen service centre, and a quarter of complaints related to the brand’s failure to identify and fix faults.
11. Mercedes – 88.96%
Mercedes showroom facilities came bottom of our survey, with poor parking provision, and even appearance, comfort and cleanliness below the best. Salespeople were also marked down, with staff at other brands placing higher for friendliness and product knowledge.
It’s better news for the service department, where Mercedes came top for personal courtesy, although customers would prefer it to be easier to get hold of a courtesy car.
A relatively high 17.3% of owners had a service centre issue, which included cars not being ready when promised and unexpectedly high bills for the work.
12. Hyundai – 88.58%
Most scores for Hyundai were rather lacklustre, although workmanship and communication for the aftersales department was given a good score, boosting its ranking.
There’s plenty to work on, though, with Hyundai’s facilities and the courtesy shown to staff coming out at the bottom of the table. Salespeople were rated well for responsiveness, but product knowledge and the explanation of vehicle features were weak.
Just 3.5% of owners experienced an issue with the service centre, with the small number of complaints being around failure to identify and fix faults.
13. Volvo – 88.11%
It appears Volvo customers had a mixed experience in the last year, with the aftersales and servicing side scoring better than the retail aspect of the customer journey.
The facilities were a particular letdown, with the dealerships parking, appearance and comfort of showrooms scoring the lowest. Sales staff were also marked down for poor product knowledge, and at the vehicle handover stage.
A middling 7.4% of customers reported an issue with the service centre, but a significant 70% of complaints were regarding discourteous staff who failed to explain issues, and 60% of complaints weren’t resolved satisfactorily.
14. Jaguar – 87.35%
While Jaguar will be happy to beat rivals BMW, its overall performance was fairly average for both retail and aftersales. There were low scores for its salespeople and showroom facilities, along with the handover process, but the value of deals buyers were able to negotiate won it back some points.
A fifth place for service centre facilities impressed, but the results for workmanship, value for money and timeliness weren’t so good. Oddly, communication was given a low score, but courtesy was better - ultimately, owners felt they could be given better explanations for works in progress.
A worrying 24.5% of owners reported an issue with the service centre, and 60 per cent of complaints cited unanswered phone calls, while 65% of issues weren’t resolved satisfactorily.
15. BMW – 86.48%
Dealer facilities scored well for BMW, but once inside the shiny showrooms, owners weren’t so happy with the retail or aftersales experience. Salespeople lost points for their explanations of vehicles before and after a sale, while the variety of models and trims on offer was also criticised.
Aftersales was scored down for poor parking provision, and for the time it took to carry out jobs and value-for-money.
A notable 18.4% of owners reported an issue with the service centre, with 40% of complaints related to failure to find and remedy faults. Discourteous staff were also reported and 23% of complaints went unresolved.
16. Skoda – 86.29%
It appears the retail held Skoda back in these results, with the sales side ranked one place from bottom in the standings. Customers weren’t impressed with the deals they were able to get, staff performance or the facilities at the dealership. Prices, product knowledge and on-site parking all came in for criticism.
Skoda’s aftersales was more successful, with a 10th spot for staff courtesy and 11th for workmanship, but again facilities were deemed poor, rated 16th.
22.5% of owners experienced an issue with the service centre, and 90% of those who complained reported unfixed and undiagnosed faults, while unanswered phone calls came second.
Read more about the best-rated manufacturers in our Driver Power survey.
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