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Buying a new car? Talk to a delivery specialist before you drive away

2014 Jaguar F-Type

Jaguar

If you've bought a new ride, you've also taken delivery of a new ride and it is the latter which is at least as sticky for customers and dealerships as the former.

Industry researcher and consultant J.D. Power and Associates, in fact, calls the delivery of a new vehicle "a delicate balance," with a significant impact on customer satisfaction. And the sales person need not necessarily apply.

J.D. Power's research, in fact, finds that buyers prefer a so-called "delivery specialist." As J.D. Power puts it, "customers who had their vehicle delivered by a delivery specialist had the highest overall satisfaction with that process, with an average score of 881 on a 1,000 point scale."

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So no love for salespeople after the deal is done. Which means dealerships are increasingly adopting the practice of handing over a new car using an expert in this area – particularly when the sale is to a premium customer.

The delivery specialist helps customer satisfaction in a serious way. How so? Today's increasingly complicated vehicles need to be explained. Infotainment and connectivity systems are not standardized across the auto industry and some are more user-friendly than others.

Customers emphatically agree that the dealership that gets the delivery right the first time is the most satisfying. New vehicle buyers do not want to return for a second go-round of explaining how to input a navigation destination or what constitutes regular maintenance to keep the warranty in effect.

J.D. Power found that when a delivery specialist is involved, "the need for a second delivery drops to 13 per cent from 24 per cent. That's huge.

"The new-vehicle delivery is also a critical function in terms of limiting perceived quality problems, particularly regarding the types of problems that can be classified as 'Difficult to Use' as opposed to actual manufacturing defects," says J.D. Power in a note to clients.

"Among owners who said their delivery was rushed," adds J.D. Power, "31 per cent said they experienced at least one problem in the first 90 days of ownership. When the delivery took the 'right amount of time,' however, only 13 per cent experienced a problem, cutting the rate by more than half."

Here's why new-car buyers should care about the delivery: the research shows that buyers often experience "quality" problems that are realted to the design of a vehicle, not a malfunction. The right delivery process should explain and clarify issues that have the potential to infuriate buyers.

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Indeed, the most recent J.D. Power and Associates Initial Quality Study found that nearly two-thirds of the problems experienced in the first 90 days of ownership are related to the vehicle's design, not malfunctioning components. When a component is difficult to understand or operate, that shows up as a quality problem.

In short, if a technology or a component is not designed to operate intuitively, dealers can reduce customer dissatisfaction with an excellent delivery process.

Seems simple, then: Find a great deal at a dealership that knows more than just deal-making. You're likely to be happier for it in the long run.

That said, the deal itself matters and does Jaguar ever have one on the gorgeous new F-Type sports car. String together all the potential savings out there and the right buyer can save $14,000 or more. On the outgoing Mercedes-Benz C250 (an all-new version is coming later this year), buyers are looking at up to $3,000 or more in potential savings, plus the first three monthly payments waived.

Deals also noticed a $2,000 factory discount on the excellent Subaru Outback and a $3,000 discount on the completely functional Mazda5 wagon.

Deals of the Week consulted with unhaggle.com, carcostcanada.com, and other sources on these offers. As usual, pricing information here is subject to change and dealer discounts vary, so consult your dealer for all the details, including expiry dates for all offers.

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2014 Jaguar F-Type Jaguar Jaguar  

2014 Jaguar F-Type 2 door Convertible V6 S

  • MSRP: $88,900
  • Freight, dealer prep, air conditioning tax: $2,375
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $4,200
  • Factory discount: $6,500 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Factory discount: $3,000 (Conquest incentive for owners of competitive brands)
  • Taxable subtotal: $77,575
  • Total price with 13% HST: $87,659.75
  • 3.49% financing for 48 or 60 months available with Conquest and dealer incentives

Mercedes-Benz 

2014 Mercedes-Benz C250 Sedan

  • MSRP: $37,350
  • Freight, dealer prep and air conditioning tax: $2,130
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $1,700
  • Factory discount: $1,500 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $36,280
  • Total price with 13% HST: $40,996.40
  • 0.90% financing for 48 or 60 months available with factory and dealer incentives

2013 Mazda5Guy Spangenberg 

2014 Mazda5 4 door Wagon Auto GS

  • MSRP: $23,195
  • Freight, dealer prep, AC tax: $2,030
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $800
  • Factory discount: $3,000 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $21,425
  • Final price: $24,210.25
  • Factory incentive not available with 0.0% financing for 48 or 60 months

2014 Subaru Outback Subaru Subaru  

2014 Subaru Outback 5 door Wagon Auto 3.6R

  • MSRP: $34,495
  • Freight, PDI, AC tax: $1,785
  • Dealer discount (estimated): $2,000
  • Factory discount: $2,000 (manufacturer incentive)
  • Taxable subtotal: $32,280
  • Total price with 13% HST: $36,476.40
  • Cash incentive not available with 1.90% financing for 48 or 60 months

Pricing information source: unhaggle.com and carcostcanada.com. Calculations based on Ontario customers. Please note that while the information above is accurate at the time of publication, incentives are given at the discretion of individual dealers, and may be changed or discontinued at any time. Where noted, "dealer discounts" are negotiated with the customer on a case-by-case basis. Unhaggle Savings are actual discounts received by Unhaggle customers.

If you have questions about driving or car maintenance, please contact our experts at globedrive@globeandmail.com.

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About the Author
Senior writer, Globe Drive

In 25 years of covering the auto industry, Jeremy Cato has won more than two-dozen awards, including three times being named automotive journalist of the year. Jeremy was born in Montreal and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. More

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