After three years of decline, U.S. customer satisfaction with vehicles is up in 2016, a survey released today shows.
Customer satisfaction with vehicles was up 3.8 percent to a score of 82, on a scale of 100, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index.
Lincoln took the top spot with a score of 87, displacing last year’s leader, Lexus. Honda was second with a score of 86, and Toyota and BMW tied for third with a score of 85.
Luxury cars have dominated the driver satisfaction rankings, ACSI said, but now the top tier is evenly split between mass-market and luxury vehicles.
“The rise of mass-market vehicles may well be at the expense of luxury brands in the sense that buyers now see little differentiation between luxury cars and regular ones,” said Claes Fornell, ACSI chairman and founder, in a statement. “If there is little difference, why pay more? Exclusivity may not be enough.”
VW, Mercedes, Acura
Of the 24 brands tracked by the ACSI, 16 improved and five declined from their 2015 scores.
Volkswagen’s 3 percent drop to 78 reflected the impact of the company’s diesel-emissions scandal, ACSI noted.
“Many customers or would-be customers could be turned off of VW for life and it’s hard to put a value on that,” said David VanAmburg, ACSI director, in a statement.
Other notable declines in 2016 included Mercedes-Benz, which was No. 1 in 2014, down 2 percent to 81, and Acura, which dropped 8 percent to 76 to finish last.
The score for Lexus, which was the top brand in 2015, didn’t change. However, the 84 meant Lexus tied with GMC, Infiniti and Subaru for fourth.
“Year-to-date sales are looking pretty flat, and demand for cars may slacken some,” VanAmburg said. “But the good news for Detroit is that higher levels of customer satisfaction will make [domestic brands] more competitive.”
The ACSI report is based on 3,776 customer surveys collected in the second quarter of 2016.