Volvo tied with Lexus for the top brand honors in the latest ACSI survey, receiving its highest score ever.

Vehicle owners in the U.S. are slightly happier with their ownership experience this year than last year, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The index, which is the result of surveys of car owners on their overall service and product experience with specific auto brands, creates a score between 1 to 100. According to the latest edition, the industry-wide score for 2018 is 82, up from 81 in 2017.

“Car owners are often highly satisfied—they’ve kicked the tires enough times that they’re happy with their decision when they buy,” said David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI. 

“But this year’s improvements might not last. Proposed tariffs on auto imports add to the pressure of rising metal costs for both international automakers and American-made cars using foreign parts. We’ll be watching how the threat of higher prices affects customer satisfaction in the coming year.”

(Ford smacked with ratings cut by Moody’s. Click Here for the story.)

Lexus fell one point from last year and tied Volvo for the top spot on the 2018 ACSI list.

Lexus and Volvo tied for the best rating overall, earning a score of 85 points, after the Japanese luxury brand dropped a point and Volvo gaining three points. The score of 85 is a new high for the Swedish-Chinese brand. Luxury brands typically earn slightly higher scores.

Among the “mainstream” brands, Subaru took top honors with a score of 84. Toyota and Honda came second each scoring an 83 and Volkswagen was next with a rating of 82. Toyota slipped three spots to 83 while Honda and VW moved up to their respective scores.

Of the American companies, Ford took top honors at 81, GM came next at 80 and Fiat Chrysler was third at 78. American companies also finished third, which an average of 79, when compared with European and Japanese and Korean automakers, which earned scores of 82 and 81 respectively.

(Click Here for details about Aston Martin’s $9B IPO.)

The automakers and their scores were:

The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica may have received IIHS' Top Safety Pick rating, but the brand finished last in the latest ACSI.

  • Lexus and Volvo (85)
  • Subaru and Lincoln (84)
  • Audi, Toyota and Honda (83)
  • Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac and BMW (82)
  • Acura (81)
  • Mini, Ram, Buick, Jeep, Nissan, GMC, Hyundai and Mazda (80)
  • Kia, Chevrolet and Mitsubishi (79)
  • Fiat and Infiniti (78)
  • Dodge and Ford (77)
  • Chrysler (74)

Among mass-market cars, driving performance is up 1% to 86, and both vehicle safety and comfort are unchanged. Dependability, however, is down. Drivers give slightly lower marks for the look of exteriors (84), but interiors are unaffected (83). Gas mileage continues to be the low point at a score of 78.

(To see more about new vehicle sales rising slightly in August, Click Here.)

Luxury car owners note several improvements in the customer experience. Driving performance is excellent, safety has improved, cars are more dependable than ever, and both interiors and exteriors continue to impress (all score an 87). Luxury vehicles also improved slightly in warranties (83) and gas mileage (78).

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