SHANGHAI: Audi, Nissan and Volkswagen are among the auto brands most effectively building customer loyalty in China, a study has revealed.

JD Power, the consultancy, polled 11,496 drivers in 37 major cities across the country, all of which had purchased a new vehicle from local manufacturers and the joint ventures run by their overseas rivals.

Its participants used a 1,000-point scale to rate factors such as the deal secured, sales staff and the delivery process.

Audi topped the charts with 887 points, ahead of Dongfeng Nissan's 800 points, FAW-Volkswagen's 869 points, and the total of 866 points recorded by both Dongfeng Honda and GAC Toyota.

Guangqi Honda registered 863 points, SGMW Chevrolet posted 863 points, Donfgeng Citroen logged 861 points and Beijing Hyundai and Dongfeng Yueda Kia generated 859 points each.

BMW, Buick, Dongfeng Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz, Changan Mazda, FAW Toyota and Shanghai Volkswagen all surpassed 850 points, bettering the category average of 847 points, itself a new high.

More broadly, luxury marques enjoyed an uptick of 22 points year on year, while non-premium alternatives saw a 24 point lift over the same period.

The quality of the delivery process held a 25% weighting in terms of determining satisfaction, while salespeople and dealer facilities yielded 14% apiece, and the deal available provided 12% of the final score.

JD Power suggested building customer loyalty was of increasing significance given the Chinese auto sector's growth rate slowed from 37% in H1 2010 to 11% in H1 2011.

"Many actions that were once considered by automakers to be extra, value-added services are now implemented across the industry as standard practices," Dr Mei Songlin, general manager, research services, at JD Power Asia Pacific, added.

Examples of this include greeting customers as soon as they arrive and answering any queries on delivery, currently performed by 96% of companies, but which was once not commonplace.

Some manufacturers, however, still fall short on small, important details, with three-quarters of cars supplied to customers containing around 20% of a tank of petrol, whereas 95% of buyers in the US receive a full tank.

Data sourced from JD Power; additional content by Warc staff