Americans are buying nearly as many new vehicles as ever, but a new study shows they less satisfied with what they’re getting.
According to the latest results of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, driver satisfaction is down 1.2% to a score of 81 on the ACSI’s scale of 0 to 100. Domestic brands led the decline in scores.
Despite General Motors’ improvement — its score rose to 82 — U.S.-based brands fell below the average with Ford down to 81, followed by Fiat Chrysler at 77. Toyota and Lexus tied for top honors with an 86 — slight increases over last year’s results.
Lincoln, which was the top finisher last year, fell 5% to a score of 83. Foreign-made vehicles continued to the highest driver satisfaction with 77% of the “above-average” brands being imports, widening the gap between U.S. and foreign nameplates.
(Hurricane Harvey could drench U.S. motorists with higher gas prices. For the story, Click Here.)
“Chances are that we have seen this movie before,” said Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder. “There was a surge in demand and increasing customer satisfaction with foreign cars in the 1980s, mostly because the domestic auto industry had difficulty keeping up.
“While U.S. cars have improved much over the years, they have not been as consistent in quality and customer satisfaction compared with their international counterparts. Experience with the Great Recession shows that this movie does not have a good ending unless major steps are taken – not another government bailout, but rather a renewed focus on how to create satisfied and loyal customers.”
ACSI divides the ratings into two classes: mass-market cars and luxury cars. Among mass-market cars, five of the top six are foreign-made. Following Toyota was Subaru at 85 (+1%), GMC was stable at 84, Hyundai at 83 (+2%), Kia (+4%) and Mazda (+2%) tied for sixth.
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The rest of the list in order:
- Honda 81 (-6%)
- Chevrolet 81 (-2%)
- Jeep 80 (+3%)
- Buick 80 (+1%)
- Nissan 80 (unchanged)
Volkswagen gained 1% to 79, coming level with Ford and Chrysler at 79. Mitsubishi is a notch below at 78 with Dodge and Fiat coming in last at 75.
(To see more about the expected August sales bump, Click Here.)
Mercedes-Benz finished second in the luxury class up 4% to 84. Cadillac jumped 5% to tie with Lincoln at 83. BMW, Audi and Volvo were next at 82. Acura rose 5%, but still finished last in the segment at 80.