Back in 2009, customer satisfaction with major automakers reached an overall ranking of 84 out of 100 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). That mark has been reached again this year, showing that new car buyers are satisfied with major automakers.
Much of the 2009 ranking was attributed to low vehicle prices thanks to the government’s cash-for-clunkers incentive. And despite vehicle prices having risen and stabilized since then, customers are still satisfied with major automakers. ACSI measures the three-year satisfaction from new car buyers, with many American automakers improving from last year to this year.
Leading the way is Lincoln with a score of 90, but managing director of ACSI, David VanAmburg, warns that the American automaker’s recent decline in sales actually helps it score. “What you’ll find is that precisely because a customer base is shrinking, the ACSI score can go up because essentially what’s left is your most-loyal, most-satisfied niche customer base,” he said.
Over the last year, Jeep has gone from a score of 79 to 83, while Dodge increased two points from 79 to 81. Chrysler is still ranked at the bottom of the industry with a score of 78. While domestic automakers continue to improve in its customer satisfaction, Lexus, Subaru, BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and Volkswagen all scored 85 or higher, giving the edge to foreign automakers. Lexus is actually second best on the list with a score of 89.
But that isn’t to say that there aren’t highly-ranked American brands: Buick has the third best score of 87, while Chevrolet rose two points to 84. Ford is slightly behind Chevy with a score of 83, tying Nissan.
Overall, the automotive industry’s level of customer satisfaction is comparable to the soft-drink industry, or consumer electronics market. It bests the US government, banks, hospitals, newspapers, and software.
“It’s actually very strong,” he said. “What we find is that manufacturing, generally speaking, trumps services in terms of customer satisfaction. A manufactured product is obviously easier to quality control. In services, you’re relying on someone else’s human interaction.”
[Source: Detroit Free Press]