Toyota Lexus got the highest marks in customer satisfaction for automobiles, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
As automobiles get more interactive and connected to the outside world, consumer satisfaction in automobiles is dropping.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index from the University of Michigan, consumer satisfaction has dropped for three straight years, even while automobile reliability has increased. One reason for the satisfaction drop is believed to be the number of recalls that take place.
“While it is true that all cars are now much better than they were 10 to 20 years ago, it is alarming that so many of them have quality problems,’’ said ACSI Chairman and Founder Claes Fornell in a statement released with the study results. “The number of recalls is at an all-time high. This should not happen with modern manufacturing technology and has negative consequences for driver safety, costs and customers satisfaction.”
Asked to rate automobile satisfaction on a 100-point scale, overall satisfaction dropped to 79, a drop of 3.7 points from the 2014 report. While there was one American automaker with a ranking above 80 (Ford Motor Co. at 81), two other American automakers (General Motors and Chrysler) saw their numbers drop.
There was a 40 percent increase in recalls among automobile owners surveyed for the study. Respondents reported dissatisfaction with automobile prices as well, even though an improved economy is seeing car owners replace older vehicles with newer ones at a more rapid pace.
“The government’s Cash for Clunkers program helped push driver satisfaction to its highest level ever in 2009, and heavy discounting as the economy recovered kept satisfaction up for a while,’’ said ACSI Director David VanAmburg. “The customer satisfaction levels the auto industry is seeing now are more consistent with historical ACSI data.”
Of 27 automobile nameplates tracked by the ACSI, only two saw an improvement in customer satisfaction, Honda’s Acura (up 8 percent to a score of 83) and BMW (up 3 percent to 82).
The top scoring model was Toyota’s Lexus at 84, moving past Mercedes-Benz, which fell 3 percent to 83.
The top-scoring mass market automakers were BMW, Subaru (82), and Toyota (82). Volskwagen, Buick and Honda all slipped into a tie at 80, along with Cadillac and Mazda. Ford and Chevrolet were at 79 along with Volvo.
Below the average of 79 were GMC, Kia and Audi at 78, Nissan, Infiniti and Mitsubishi posted scores of 77. BMW’s MINI had a score of 76m, as did Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge models. At the bottom of the chart were Jeep (75), Chrysler (74) and Fiat (73).
The ACSI is based on more than 4,000 customer surveys collected in the second quarter of 2015.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.