Lexus, Mini top JD Power’s 2012 sales satisfaction survey image

Lexus ranked as the top luxury brand in JD Power’s 2012 Sales Satisfaction Index Study, with Mini occupying the first place for mass-market brands.

According to the survey, consumers are increasingly satisfied with the auto-buying experience, as overall sales satisfaction among new-vehicle buyers increased to 664 on a 1,000-point scale, up from 648 a year earlier. Most of the gain was due to better salesperson ratings.

All 11 luxury brands and nine of the 20 mass-market brands scored above industry average in JD Power’s 2012 survey. For the second consecutive year, Lexus was the top-rated luxury brand with a 737 score, followed by Infiniti, with 728. The Nissan-owned brand was the biggest gainer of all brands, with 52 points more than a year ago, when it ranked eighth. Cadillac, Lincoln, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz occupy the next four spots, all scoring above the luxury average of 716.

The mass-market brand list was topped by Mini for a third straight year with a 712 score. Buick ranked second and GMC third, with GM placing all three of its mass-market brands in the top five. Fiat was fourth and Subaru tied with Chevrolet for fifth. Ford, Honda and Volkswagen also scored above the mass-market average of 657.