ANN ARBOR, Mich. (August 24, 2021) — Overall customer satisfaction with automobiles and light vehicles is unchanged with a score of 78 (out of 100), according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®) Automobile Study 2020-2021.
European manufacturers maintain their lead over Asian and U.S. cars with a steady ACSI score of 79. Japanese and Korean manufacturers are next at 78 (unchanged), while U.S. automakers improve for the first time in five years, gaining 1 point to 77.
Among domestic manufacturers, Ford rebounds 1% to 77, tying GM, which is unchanged. Stellantis (which comprises the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram nameplates) sits in third place, down 1% to 76.
Satisfaction with the mass-market segment is stable with an ACSI score of 77. Luxury nameplates continue to outpace mass-market vehicles; however, that lead is dwindling following a 1% dip to 78.
“Over the last few years, luxury automakers’ satisfaction lead over mass-market manufacturers has been slowly eroding. That gap is now almost nonexistent,” says David VanAmburg, Managing Director at ACSI. “In terms of style points and cool factor, luxury vehicles may still have the edge, but if you remove all the bells and whistles, the two are more similar than not.”
Honda roars to the mass-market ACSI lead, while Mitsubishi’s satisfaction crashes
Honda surges into first place after climbing 4% to an ACSI score of 82. Subaru is second, up 3% to 81. After a brief stint at the top of the category last year, Ram finishes third with a steady score of 80.
Hyundai rises 4% to 79, tying both Mazda (up 1%) and Toyota (down 1%). Four mass-market nameplates are locked at 78 apiece, with three brands making solid gains: Dodge (up 4%), Ford (up 3%), GMC (unchanged), and Nissan (up 3%).
Buick (up 1%), Kia (unchanged), and Volkswagen (down 1%) all score 77, while Chevrolet and Jeep are unwavering at 76.
After drastic drops, two nameplates bring up the rear. Mitsubishi plummets 8% to 71, while last-place Chrysler stumbles 4% to an ACSI score of 70.
Among mass-market vehicles, customers remain the most pleased with vehicle safety (82). They also give the category high marks for dependability (81), driving performance (81), and vehicle exteriors (81). However, the former two benchmarks each decrease 1% year over year, while the latter is unchanged.
Drivers are less happy with the technology (77) of mass-market vehicles this year. Gas mileage and warranties are rated even worse, both unchanged with industry-low scores of 76.
BMW moves into a tie with Lexus atop luxury vehicles
Lexus, which topped the luxury segment for the last four years, slides 1% to an ACSI score of 81 and falls into a first-place tie with BMW, up 4% year over year. Audi (unchanged) and ACSI newcomer Tesla are next with scores of 80. The remaining luxury vehicles all suffer customer satisfaction slips.
Mercedes-Benz drops 3% to 78, followed by Cadillac and Volvo, down 4% and 1%, respectively, at 77. Acura and Lincoln each retreat 1% to 76. Infiniti sits alone at the bottom of the luxury segment after plunging 5% to an ACSI score of 75.
In terms of the driving experience, luxury vehicles are down across the board. Drivers are most pleased with comfort (82) and vehicle interiors (82), but both elements slip 2%. Customers appreciate vehicle safety (82) as well; however, it’s down 1% year over year.
Four benchmarks fall below 80: Website satisfaction (down 4% to 79), mobile app quality (down 5% to 78), mobile app reliability (down 4% to 78), and warranties (down 3% to 78). According to drivers, however, gas mileage remains the biggest pain point, sliding 1% to 76.
The ACSI Automobile Study 2020-2021 is based on interviews with 4,888 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between July 6, 2020, and June 28, 2021.