Study finds EV owners are less satisfied with dealership service

EV owners are much less satisfied with dealership service than owners of internal combustion cars, according to a new J.D. Power study.

Results were based on a survey of 64,248 U.S. owners or lessees of 2020-2022 model year vehicles, asking them to rate the service at franchised dealers or equivalent aftermarket facilities. Customer satisfaction among EV owners was 42 points lower, using the study’s scoring methodology, than internal-combustion vehicle owners.

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Redline

2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV Redline

J.D. Power attributes this mainly to recall rates, which the company noted are more than double for EVs compared to internal-combustion vehicles. Service advisor knowledge was also a factor in the lower level of satisfaction, albeit a smaller one. EV owners rated service advisors at an average of 8.01 (out of 10) compared to 8.59 for internal-combustion vehicle owners.

The number of EV recalls in recent months alone has been quite large, including a fire concern in Chevrolet Bolt EV models due to an issue with seat belt pretensioners, the devices that cinch seat belts tight during an impact. This was the second major fire-related recall for the Bolt EV, following a 2021 battery recall that applied to every Bolt EV made, leading to a full battery-pack replacement for some vehicles.

2023 Nissan Ariya

2023 Nissan Ariya

In 2022, the Toyota bZ4X was recalled because its wheels might fall off. The recall, since remedied, occurred less than two months after the model’s launch. Also in 2022 Rivian, which doesn’t have franchised dealerships, had to recall nearly every truck it had built to that point over potentially loose fasteners.

More recently, the 2023 Nissan Ariya was recalled because its steering wheel might detach, and the Tesla Model Y is under investigation for what sounds like a similar issue. While these recent issues have nothing to do with the propulsion system, fewer odd manufacturing issues could help make the relationship a little more positive for owners, dealerships, and automakers alike.

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