Drivers are less satisfied with new cars, satisfaction is down 1.2 percent to a score of 81 on the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) scale of 0 to 100. The top rated most satisfied vehicles are from Lexus, Toyota, Subaru, GMC, Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, Lincoln, Audi and BMW.
Car technology ratings have declined since 2016. Technology, controls, displays and video system ratings dropped to 81 from 83 last year. The lowest ranking automakers are Mitsubishi at 78 and Dodge/Fiat/Chrsyler scoring 75.
Automobile Brand Scores
- Lexus – 86
- Toyota – 86
- Subaru – 85
- General Motors – 84
- Mercedes-Benz – 84
- Hyundai – 83
- Lincoln (Ford)- 83
- Audi – 82
- BMW – 82
- Kia – 82
- Mazda – 82
- Volvo – 82
- Chevrolet – 81
- Honda – 81
- All Others – 80
- Acura – 80
- Buick – 80
- Jeep – 80
- Nissan – 80
- Chrysler – 79
- Ford – 79
- Volkswagen – 79
- Mitsubishi – 78
- Dodge – 75
- Fiat – 75
General Motors is the only American automaker with score of 82. Ford slides to 81, followed by Fiat Chrysler at 77. Foreign-made vehicles, however, continue to have the highest driver satisfaction and 77% of the above-average nameplates in the indesx are imports. Overall, the gap between international and domestic manufacturers has widened because of the downturn for U.S. cars.
Vehicle recalls continue to rise, and the percentage of owners reporting recalls has grown steadily since 2013. ACSI data show that nearly one-third of drivers surveyed had their vehicle recalled this year. Not surprisingly, customer satisfaction among drivers who had a recalled vehicle is lower (80) than those who had no recall (82). However, the gap between the two has lessened, indicating that automakers may be improving the recall process itself—it is less onerous than before and customers may be getting used to it.
Only one of the top five nameplates is a domestic car, GM’s GMC, which ties with luxury brand Mercedes-Benz at 84.
Toyota is the highest-scoring company in both the mass-market category (+1% to 86) and among luxury vehicles (with Lexus increasing 2% to 86). Ford’s Lincoln, which held first place a year ago, falls 5 percent to 83. Mercedes Benz scored 84.
Among mass-market cars, five of the top six are foreign-made, and all five move up this year. Subaru at 85 (+1%) follows Toyota in second place. Third-place GMC, the sole domestic brand in the top tier, is stable at 84 following a big gain a year ago. In fourth place, Hyundai gains 2 percent to 83, while Kia advances 4 percent to 82, alongside Mazda (+2%).
Following a slate of safety recalls, Honda drops 6 percent to tie Chevrolet (-2%) at 81. Buick and Jeep buck the downward trend for mass-market domestic cars. Buick edges up 1 percent and Jeep improves 3 percent to tie Nissan (unchanged) at 80. Buick is also the only GM brand to post rising sales in June.
Volkswagen gains 1% to 79, suggesting that the German automaker may have recovered from the emissions scandal that slowed sales for the past two years. Meanwhile, Ford slips 2% into a deadlock with Volkswagen and Chrysler at 79. Mitsubishi is a notch below at 78 (-1%). Two Fiat Chrysler nameplates come in last at 75: Dodge (-4%) and Fiat.
Toyota’s Lexus (86) leads the luxury-vehicle segment, followed by Mercedes-Benz, up 4 percent to 84. Cadillac jumps 5 percent to tie with Lincoln (-5%) at 83. BMW (-4%) ties Audi (-1%) and Volvo at 82. Acura remains at the bottom of the segment, but with a 5-percent boost to 80, the Honda nameplate narrows the gap considerably.
According to drivers, the comfort of luxury cars is excellent (86), but luxury cars are not more dependable than mass-market vehicles—both do very well at 86. Customers also are impressed with driving performance and opinions of driving safety are strong (both 86). Owners are still very fond of the look of luxury exteriors (86); interiors (85) and technology (84) score slightly lower than a year ago, but exceed mass-market cars. The websites for luxury brands (84) rate better this year and outperform those of mass-market brands (82).
Regardless of category, everybody wants better gas mileage, but luxury vehicles score lowest in this area (77).
The ACSI report, which is based on 3,934 customer surveys collected between July 1, 2016, and June 20, 2017,