Top 10 Brands With the Worst Car Buying Experience for 2016

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Sometimes, the car buying experience is more painful than pleasant.

The J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study sets out to determine just which automakers offer the worst shopping experience. This year’s study is based on responses from 28,979 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicle in April or May 2016, measuring satisfaction with the sales experience among buyers and rejecters, those who shop a dealership but end up purchasing elsewhere.

SEE ALSO: A Surprising American Automaker Offers the Best Car Buying Experience

Rated on a 1,000-point scale, buyer satisfaction is based on measures that include working out the deal, salesperson, delivery process and facility. Rejecter satisfaction is based on five measures: salesperson, fairness of price, experience negotiating, facility and variety of inventory.

Check out the top 10 brands with the worst car buying experience below.


Among luxury brands, Acura is the worst with a score of 769. That’s a great deal lower than the luxury brand average of 801 and it seems like Acura’s car buying experience isn’t improving. Last year, the brand also finished last with a score of 706, but the luxury average in 2015 was 732.


Last year, Toyota scored 678 to finish below the mass-market average of 681. The Japanese automaker did improve this year, scoring 766 and coming slightly above the mass-market average of 764. Among mass-market brands, however, Toyota is in the middle of the pack, finishing ninth out of 17 automakers.


Honda remained steady year-over-year, sliding underneath the mass-market average with a score of 755. Last year, the brand scored 679 compared to the average of 681, finishing 11th among mass-market brands. This year, the brand slid up a spot to 10th, but it’s worth noting that Fiat (finished sixth in 2015) isn’t part of this year’s study.


Chrysler never seems to perform well in J.D. Power studies and the SSI is no different. The American automaker scored 750 this year, landing it in 11th place among mass-market brands. Last year, Chrysler scored 666, earning it 14th place out of 19 brands.


Kia may be impressive in J.D. Power’s 2016 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS), ranking highest among nameplates, but the shopping experience doesn’t receive high marks. With a score of 747, Kia finishes 12th among mass-market brands, although that’s an improvement over last year’s results. In 2015, the Korean automaker scored 662, tying it in 16th place.


Mazda took a sharp tumble down the list after finishing above the mass-market average last year with a score of 683. This year, the Japanese automaker scored 742, landing it in 13th on the list compared to ninth in 2015.


Like Mazda, Hyundai also saw a drop in this year’s study. With a score of 741, Hyundai is towards the bottom of the list for mass-market brands after finishing eighth last year with a score of 683.


Jeep improves after coming in last place in 2015, earning a score of 740 this year and narrowly beating out other brands that fall under the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) umbrella.


Dodge remains consistently bad with its car buying experience, once again finishing second-to-last on the study. This year, it managed to score 738 compared to last year’s 652, but remember the mass-market average also rose 83 points.


Sliding into the spot Jeep held last year is Ram, scoring 733 to finish at the bottom of the list. In 2015, Ram performed better finishing in 15th place with a score of 664.

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Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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2 of 11 comments
  • Hey Hey on Nov 22, 2016

    Actually in Mexico, Acura is one of the best brands with one lf the best car services in even higher levels than BMW and Audi.

  • Melete Melete on Nov 22, 2016

    :-D Stumbled across this while trying to figure out how to work something in the car's inscrutable electronics. Toyota is only the 2nd most hideous buying experience? Am I understanding that right? It's hard to imagine how anything could be worse! I will NEVER buy another Toyota again, period, not even through a broker. Matter of fact, I'm so disgusted I may never buy another car again: after this one dies, it'll be Uber and Rent-a-Junker for me.