Car customer satisfaction fell for the first time in two years, according to the 2013 American Customer Satisfaction Index automobiles and light vehicles report. Over the course of 4,078 random phone and e-mail interviews between April 6 and May 22, the index, based on a scale of 0 to 100, revealed that customer satisfaction with automobiles fell from 84 in 2012 to 83. Domestic autos bring up the rear.

Domestic vehicles, which received an average score of 82, also lost traction in perceived quality, with European automakers ranking 84.7 and Asian brands close behind at 84.1. This is reflected in the scores of the 20 individual automakers counted in the study.

Mercedes-Benz is at the top of the index with a score of 88, up four percent from last year. Lexus relinquished its lead with a score of 87, down two percent from 2012. Third place is a three way tie between Subaru, Toyota and Honda, which all scored 86. Here are the rest of the scores in order: GMC (85), Cadillac (85), Volkswagen (84), Acura (83), Ford (83), Nissan (83), Chrysler (83), Buick (82), BMW (82), Hyundai (82), Kia (82), Mazda (82), All Others (81), Jeep (80), Dodge (79) and Chevrolet (79). It's worth noting that both GMC and Chrysler gained five points from last year.

While it's not a good sign that customer satisfaction went down, the authors of the report explained that it could be due to "greater customer expectations that the automakers are then challenged to meet." But the ACSI says automakers should take the erosion in customer satisfaction as a warning signal: once pent-up demand has subsided, successful brands will keep the customers they have and poach new ones from elsewhere, and customer satisfaction plays a direct role in this relationship.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      DumpTruck
      • 1 Year Ago
      I think it is spectacular that the difference between first place and last place is 9 points. Cars across the board are amazing pieces of equipment these days.
        Nick B
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DumpTruck
        Best comment yet. As consumers, no matter what brand you prefer, we're getting arguably the best cars ever built. Think about what a pile of **** entry level cars we're even ten years ago. Now you can go buy a Kia Forte for $12,000 and you get a pretty well made little car.
      CJ_313
      • 1 Year Ago
      I agree with the comments below regarding how many calls were made to owners of each carmaker. If you call 1,000 Nissan owners, and 2,500 GMC owners, the ratings will naturally be skewed. These surveys frankly don't appear to have much bearing at all due to that lack of information.
      Jerry
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe all the rebadged Daewoos and Opel's are starting to pay dividends for GM? LOL
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jerry
        [blocked]
        dohc73
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jerry
        I just pictured Jerry laughing out loud to his own numb-skull joke, like some fat nerdy kid in class that the rest of the students think is retarded.
      dohc73
      • 1 Year Ago
      This survey is the reason why I think the majority of people on the earth are genuinely stupid. It's a crap shoot survey that on any given day you ask someone to answer questions based on perception. Of course American's see European cars as higher quality; that myth has been blown up their azz since the birth of Christ so what else would you expect an average person, who has almost no idea what wheels drive their own car, to know. I guarantee you mostt of them probably never even owned a European brand and experienced the lack of reliability and insane upkeep they require to keep them running properly.
        omgcool
        • 1 Year Ago
        @dohc73
        If we're talking initial impressions, I'm not especially surprised. In my experience, German cars have tended to feel a bit more well screwed-together than the domestics and Asians (in the recent past, anyways). After warranty, however, I agree that satisfaction tends to go out the window. Had an Audi A6 back in 2004, loved it, sold it shortly before warranty expiration because it was turning into a (potential) money pit.
      Chris Zeidler
      • 1 Year Ago
      Love it when previous *domestic* buyers bring up conversations of not wanting to buy first year products "to get the bugs out" and then congratulate them on their first domestically built Toyota purchase.
      breitling65
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great achievement MB, time to show toyota his place!
      GRR
      • 1 Year Ago
      Chevrolet and GMC are the same cars but with different badges, yet Chevy scores very low and GMC very high..
        LBFTPSEC
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GRR
        Oh ya, like the GMC Cruze, the GMC Malibu, the GMC Impala, the GMC Camaro, the GMC Corvette, the GMC Spark, the GMC Sonic..... Same cars my ass. It just goes to show how good GM trucks are as a whole.
        NightFlight
        • 1 Year Ago
        @GRR
        What? Aside from a few models, Chevrolet has a MUCH more diverse lineup.
      Unni
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's worth noting that Chevrolet (79) dropped 5 points ( 2012 it has 84 )
      jayss2k07
      • 1 Year Ago
      The showing of VW is also surprising and encouraging for VW. It was above Acura and 6th out of 20, counting the three way tie for third place.
        Mondrell
        • 1 Year Ago
        @jayss2k07
        Not reallly. VW typically does well in short-term metrics because (IMO) they offer a good product and attentive service at the onset of ownership. Based on the interactions I have with VW owners past and present, their focus area, if anywhere, should be the medium to long-term.
      404 not found
      • 1 Year Ago
      No surprise here.
        John K
        • 1 Year Ago
        @404 not found
        Mercedes-Benz being in first place is somewhat surprising
          Street King
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John K
          They sell 1/10 the cars others do, its not a surprise, its math. Less cars means less people to piss off. Out of 100 phone calls, 3 probably were for MB, and 97 were for GM. Customers can get pissed off if they weren't told how to unlock the doors or work the Navigation system. Numbers again, Chevy sales turkey sells 20 cars a month, MB guy hustles 6 and has more time. This is why Porsche is always up on these lists, they don't sell anything. Toyota fans will say their car is good, even when it went back for 27 safety recalls, such is life. Buy what YOU like.
          Mondrell
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John K
          "They sell 1/10 the cars others do, its not a surprise, its math. Less cars means less people to piss off. Out of 100 phone calls, 3 probably were for MB, and 97 were for GM. Customers can get pissed off if they weren't told how to unlock the doors or work the Navigation system. Numbers again, Chevy sales turkey sells 20 cars a month, MB guy hustles 6 and has more time. This is why Porsche is always up on these lists, they don't sell anything." This. Numbers are useless without context. Unless you're a degree-factory bot.
      omgcool
      • 1 Year Ago
      I still can't believe Honda ranks so high. The CR-V and Accord feel paper-thin to me. Great for roominess, but not exactly confidence-inspiring.
      DeeDee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nothing beats a Benz!
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