The US automobile industry, like the economy at large, couldn’t escape the crosshairs of the COVID-19 global pandemic. However, that’s not the only hurdle the industry has to overcome: New data indicate an ongoing, industrywide customer satisfaction decline.
Overall customer satisfaction with cars and light vehicles slides 1.3 points to a score of 78 (out of 100), and 17 brands record downturns year-on-year, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Automobile Report 2019-2020.
Customer satisfaction decreases across all automakers, both foreign and domestic, for the second consecutive year and now sits at its lowest level in five years. European manufacturers hold their lead over Asian and US cars despite a two-point drop to 79, whilst Asian manufacturers slip just one point to 78 and US automakers fall two points to 76.
“The drop in satisfaction was more alarming a year ago, with 21 of 27 nameplates registering ACSI declines, but this ongoing slide pulls the auto industry into uncharted waters,” said David VanAmburg, Managing Director at the ACSI. “After a 4.9-point drop in customer satisfaction over the last two years, automobiles and light vehicles hit an industry low not seen since 1999”.
Customer satisfaction with the mass-market segment fades again, down one point to an ACSI score of 77, as just under half of the measured brands show declines year-on-year. Ram makes its first appearance at the top of the mass-market list with a steady score of 80, tying for first place with Toyota. Honda and Subaru tie for third place despite each retreating four points to 79, although Subaru continues to be number one for safety among mass-market vehicles. GMC, unchanged at 78, ties for fifth place with Mazda and Volkswagen, which inch up one point each, while Kia and Mitsubishi also increase by one point to 77.
A large group of mass-market plates are deadlocked at scores of 76, and two Fiat-Chrysler brands round out the industry’s bottom with Dodge at 75 and Chrysler at 73, its second-worst satisfaction score ever.
Luxury nameplates also lose their lustre as customer satisfaction deteriorates across every measured brand, as the segment rolls back four points to an ACSI score of 79.
Lexus leads all luxury vehicles for a fourth consecutive year at 82, although this score marks an all-time low for the brand. Three luxury brands, Audi, Cadillac and Mercedes-Benz tie for second place with scores of 80, whilst Infiniti records a 79, and BMW and Volvo record a 78 – a record low for both brands. Acura and Lincoln tie for the lowest score in the luxury segment at 77.
The ACSI Automobile Report 2019-2020 covering both domestic and foreign automobile nameplates is based on interviews with 10,414 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between 1 July 2019, and 14 June 2020.
This article courtesy of Russell Thrall III, publisher CollisionWeek. Check out their website at: www.collisionweek.com.