The way a dealership treats customers is more important to overall new-vehicle buyer satisfaction than the actual transaction price, according to a new J.D. Power and Associates survey.

The study finds 52% of new-vehicle buyers cite dealer treatment as a reason to purchase their new vehicle from a specific location.

In comparison, 38% of buyers cite vehicle price or the deal offered as the reason for selecting their dealer.

Once the dealer is selected, the ease of coming to an agreement on the final vehicle price has the single-greatest influence on buyer satisfaction, surpassing the price paid.

“The process of working out the deal is the primary indicator of whether new-vehicle buyers have a satisfactory purchase experience,” says Jon Osborn, J.D. Power's director of automotive research.

Some buyers enjoy negotiations, many don't, he says, advising retailers “to make this process as efficient and collaborative as possible.”