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Cadillac Top Brand in Customer Satisfaction

National survey measures 2009 new vehicle happiness.

by on May.19, 2009

2009 Cadillac Escalade ESV

It is of course GM's over reliance on trucks and its inability to increase its market share in cars that is largely responsible for its pending bankruptcy.

For the second straight year, Cadillac ranks highest among new car owners, taking the Highest Satisfaction Brand honors in the 13th Annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA) from consulting firm AutoPacific.

In addition to Cadillac’s overall award, the Cadillac Escalade was the VSA category winner in the Luxury Sport Utility segment, contributing to Cadillac’s win as the top-ranked brand for vehicle satisfaction. Cadillac has been rated among the top five overall brands all 13 times the annual survey has been conducted.  It is of course GM’s over reliance on trucks and its inability to increase its market share in cars that is largely responsible for its pending bankruptcy.

The vehicle – car or truck – registering highest overall satisfaction in 2009 is the Lexus LS. The LS scored 99 points above the industry average to place first among all 2009-model year vehicles. In an interview with, the head of Lexus said that the brand was struggling to be profitable in the current sales environment.

Parent Toyota Motor Corporation finished off fiscal 2009 with a huge $7.7 billion loss during the fourth quarter of the traditional Japanese fiscal year, which ended March 31. The fourth quarter loss left the Japanese auto giant with a decidedly non-traditional full-year loss of $4.4 billion, the largest in the company’s 71-year history. 

AutoPacific claims that the winners perform well in 48 separate categories that “objectively measure” the ownership experience. The survey includes responses from more than 25,000 2009 model new vehicle owners and lessees. The company did not release the names of its automaker clients.  

Overall brand satisfaction ratings among Hyundai purchasers jumped 11 positions earning Hyundai 2009 Rising Star honors.  This positive move was more than any other manufacturer in the survey. Hyundai scored higher in 40 of 48 rating categories in 2009 compared with 2008. “These are difficult times, with news of automaker bankruptcies, companies restructuring and dealer closures a daily occurrence,” says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. “Clearly, the dynamics surrounding the Vehicle Satisfaction Award in 2009 are far different from anything we’ve seen in many years.

At the manufacturer level, multiple top-ranked award winners are: Toyota with six winners (Toyota 3, Lexus 2, Scion 1), Ford with four (Ford 3, Lincoln 1), Hyundai/Kia with three (Hyundai 2, Kia 1), Chrysler with 2 (Dodge 1, Jeep 1) and General Motors with 2 (Cadillac 1, Chevrolet 1). Honda, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Porsche and Volkswagen each took top honors in one segment.

The buyers of vehicles included in the Vehicle Satisfaction research purchased or leased their new vehicles during the 4th Quarter of 2008, as the industry was collapsing from excesses and fraud of finance capitalism. The global Great Recession that resulted continues to this day, with the future of many automakers threatened if it continues.

AutoPacific claims that more than 25% of respondents are positively influenced by awards such as VSA when deciding on a vehicle. 

Passenger Cars

Premium Luxury Car Lexus LS
Aspirational Luxury Car Hyundai Genesis
Luxury Large Car Lincoln Town Car
Luxury Mid-Size Car Lexus ES
Premium Mid-Size Car Hyundai Sonata
Mid-Size Car Ford Fusion
Image Compact Car Toyota Prius
Compact Car Mitsubishi Lancer
Economy Car Honda Fit
Sports Car Porsche 911
Sporty Car Scion tC


Light Trucks

Large Pickup Dodge Ram 1500
Compact Pickup Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Luxury Sport Utility Cadillac Escalade
Large Sport Utility Chevrolet Tahoe
Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility Ford Explorer
Mid-Size Sport Utility Jeep Liberty
Luxury Crossover SUV Land Rover LR2
Large Crossover SUV Mazda CX-9
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV Toyota Venza
Mid-Size Crossover SUV Volkswagen Tiguan
Compact Crossover SUV Kia Sportage
Minivan Toyota Sienna

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2 Responses to “Cadillac Top Brand in Customer Satisfaction”

  1. DL says:

    Are you kidding?! What the heck is a “Crossover SUV”?!?! The term “crossover” was invented to distinguish from “SUVs” — which, by the way, means (here’s a shocker) “sport utility vehicle.” “Sport Utility” is NOT different from “SUV.” People will do anything to come up with a different way to make a stupid award look different from all the other stupid awards already in existence.

  2. Ken Zino says:

    Well, yes, I understand the ongoing problem of marketing categories, and if you look at our coverage we often point out such things. The categories in this award are not established by TDB.

    This is real data, though, from actual buyers. As such, it is one data point for consideration for people interested in what’s going on in the car market, as most of our readers are.