August 21, 2012
The American Customers Satisfaction Index (ACSI), which interviews over 70,000 customers to provide a score between 0 - 100 for more than 230 companies across 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, has ranked the auto industry as 84/100.
Though the score is the same as achieved in 2009, this year's is more of an impressive performance as customers weren't simply reacting to low prices driven down by government incentives in a bid to beat the recession.
Managing Director of ACSI, David Van Amburg said of the findings:
"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."
Of the nine major American car makers, six have improved on last year's rankings; Jeep rose from 79 to 83, Dodge from 79 to 81 and though Chrysler rose two points to 78, it is still ranked last.
"Obviously there are lots of indicators that Chrysler has been improving," said Van Amburg. "Its financials have been showing that, its sales are up. They had such a gap with Ford and GM. They've closed that gap, but there's still some ground to make up."
Ford's Lincoln brand reached the highest score, with 90, however Van Amburg indicated this could be as a result of a decreasing, yet staunchly loyal and established customer base.
As usual, foreign manufacturers were ranked among the top of the table, with only five points separating five companies. Toyota's Lexus came second with 89, Subaru just behind on 87, BMW on 86 and Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota and Volkswagen all scoring 85, above the industry average.
The average score makes the auto industry fall in line with consumer electronics and soft drinks, both on 85, and way ahead of newspapers (64), the US government (67), banks (75) and software (77).
"What we find is that manufacturing generally speaking, trumps services in terms of customer satisfaction," concluded Van Amburg. "A manufactured product is obviously easier to quality control. In services, you're relying on someone else's human interaction."
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