According to a newly released report, more customers are happy with their cars than at any other time before. The automobile customer satisfaction rating tied with 2009, when the numbers were bolstered by the “Cash for Clunkers” government incentive program.
Customer satisfaction for cars just under credit unions
The American Customer Satisfaction Index, based in Pittsfield Township near Ann Arbor, Mich., collected its data from interviews with 70,000 consumers. With an overall score of 84 out of 100, satisfaction with the automobile and light vehicle industry rose 1.2 percent from last year. The industry trailed only credit unions (87), consumer electronics (85) and soft drinks (85).
Cars are being made better
The main reason for the rise in satisfaction, says ACSI managing director David VanAmburg, is that automakers are making better cars than they have in the recent past. And that, he says, could make a lasting difference:
“The automakers are paying more attention to improving the quality of the vehicles themselves. This might be a little more real, a little more sustainable.”
AOL Autos also pointed out that automakers are making more of an effort at courtesy dealer training so that their sales staff will be more helpful and friendly, thereby helping to make customers more satisfied with their purchases.
Not surprisingly, four of the five brands at the top of the satisfaction list were premium or luxury models — those built with customer satisfaction in mind.
Bottom of the top five
Cadillac (86), a perennial favorite among U.S. luxury car owners, took the fifth spot. Subaru (87) came in slightly higher, snagging the fourth place. It is the only make on the list that is not considered a luxury of premium make. Buick (87), GM’s premium make, took the tertiary position. Toyota’s upscale Lexus (89) earned the second niche from the top.
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Number one bolstered by… low sales?
And Lincoln (90), Ford’s luxury liner, astonished some by topping the list. David Kiley, editor of AOL Autos, wrote:
“Surprised? We are a little. After all, we just don’t hear that many people talking about Lincoln, or buying one for that matter.”
However, lower sales may be precisely the reason why Lincoln wins the customer satisfaction lottery. VanAmburg explained:
“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.”