J.D. Power has published its 2019 Malaysia Sales Satisfaction Index Study, which measures overall customer satisfaction with their new vehicle purchase experience in the mass market segment. Based on the results, Toyota managed to take the top spot with a score of 835 points (following a 1,000-point scale), which is a significant improvement over fourth place last year.

Mitsubishi (831 points) also climbed several spots to take second place this year, pushing Nissan (810 points) and Honda (801 points) down to third and fourth respectively. It should be noted that the top four brands all scored higher than last year, and this is reflected in the mass market average that is 16 points higher at 800 points this year.

Below the 800-point mark is Perodua (798 points), with the national carmaker gaining 24 points from last year. Meanwhile, Mazda and Proton are tied at 779 points, which is slightly less than what both brands scored in 2018. According to J.D. Power, brands like Ford, Isuzu, Kia, Subaru and Volkswagen are not included in the ranking due to small and insufficient sample sizes.

The company also revealed a few key findings from the study, with SUV buyers accounting for 20% of new vehicle buyers despite the transaction price of SUVs in 2019 being 2.6 times higher than small cars. Additionally, customers who purchased an SUV have higher satisfaction than small car buyers (806 versus 794 points).

There’s also a higher proportion of replacement vehicle buyers (26% versus 21% in 2018) this year compared to those looking to buy an additional vehicle (51% versus 56% in 2018). On a related note, the percentage of vehicle trade-ins rose to 21% compared to 17% in 2018.

Other findings include the importance of clear communication on vehicle pricing, as unwelcomed and unexpected costs added on resulted in lower satisfaction. Well-equipped facilities and the availability of test drive vehicles also boosted satisfaction, and in the case of the latter, only 6% of buyers were told that a test drive vehicle was not available.

For the 16th year of the study, J.D. Power revised the six weighted factors that affected overall customer satisfaction with the new-vehicle purchase experience. These include dealer sales consultant (26%); dealership facility (21%); delivery process (20%); working out the deal (13%); paperwork completion (17%); and dealership website (4%).

The study is based on responses gathered from 2,045 new vehicle owners who purchased their vehicle between July 2018 and July 2019, and was fielded from January through September 2019. It also includes the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures new vehicle owners’ likelihood to recommend their vehicle brand on a 0-10 point scale.