“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 Claes Fornell, chairman and founder of the survey.
Fifteen of the 27 brands tracked by the ACSI lost ground in customer satisfaction compared with previous year, while just two – Acura and BMW – took positive steps forward. “This could not occur with trendy manufacturing know-how and has damaging penalties for driver security, prices and buyer satisfaction”.
General Motors recalled more vehicles in 2014 than it ever had before following the discovery of numerous quality issues, including an ignition-switch defect that triggered a cascade of government investigations, fines and recalls.
The overall score of 79 reflects a return to normalcy, as ASCI says its automotive score peaked with the 2009 Cash For Clunkers program. That is the lowest score for the entire industry since 2004 according to ACSI.
David VanAmburg, director of ACSI said, “Higher prices are clearly hurting auto buyer satisfaction, but low prices also have artificially inflated satisfaction in the years prior”. Subaru, Toyota, and BMW came in third, each averaging 82 points.
Fiat Chrysler agreed to the largest fine in the history of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this year after the regulatory agency accused the company of flubbing fixes and flouting recall reporting requirements.
Luxury vehicles typically have a higher level of satisfaction, with Lexus and Mercedes-Benz taking the top spots. KTRH vehicle Pro Jerry Reynolds says that’s one of the reasons the most recent American Consumer Satisfaction Index gives some auto models really bad grades. Buick, Cadillac, Honda, Mazda and Volkswagen were ranked equal ninth on 80 points.
MINI and Dodge tied at 76 points apiece.
Several Fiat Chrysler nameplates sat at the bottom of the scoring list, with Fiat earning a 73, Chrysler falling 9 percent to score 74 and Jeep down 5 percent to a score of 75.
The charts that follow show five-year customer satisfaction trends for domestic automakers in comparison with global manufacturers, as well as results for Detroit’s Big Three.