Detroit cars’ customer satisfaction plunges

According to a new survey conducted by the American Customer Satisfaction Index, the customer satisfaction gap between Asian automakers and The Detroit Three is broadening.  The score of 5 out of 8 domestic brands went down in the latest quarterly survey by American Customer Satisfaction (ACSI) that was carried out from the 6th of April to the 22nd of May. The chairman and founder of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, Claes Fornell, said that the declining customer satisfaction may not yet be a very serious threat for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors but it could very soon become a problem if the declining trend continues.

Fornell said that he did not think the Detroit Three could afford to trip further back adding it is common knowledge that repeat business is very vital for ever car maker and that declining customer satisfaction only makes it very difficult to acquire customers back.

Detroit carsWhen having a closer look at the data, it can be seen that some of the automobile domestic brands had actually improved from one year ago. GMC rose from 80 to reach 85, where it ties with Cadillac, just a few paces behind Toyota, Honda and Subaru which all stand at 86. Ford had an industrial average of 83, same case with the Chrysler brand which rose from 78 to reach 83. However, some brands declined with the three that slipped by most being Dodge (from 81 to 79), Jeep (from 83 to 80) and Chevrolet (from 84 to 79).

As recent as 2010, domestic and Asian car makers were toe to toe in terms of customer satisfaction but the Asian car makers have created a significant advantage over their domestic counterparts. It is important to note that the survey conducted by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index did not include Lincoln, something that might have boosted the corporate performance of Ford. The survey also left out Scion, the entry-level brand of Toyota, which has generally not been able to establish the reputation like that of companies like Lexus and Toyota.

Fornell said he suspected that the declines in the customer satisfaction scores was caused by the increasing demand for trucks and cars, a situation that has led to the Detroit Three to increase the production rapidly, hire new workers and demand the same from the suppliers. He said that the fact that they were running manufacturing plants at slightly more than the full capacity was making it a bit hard to get everything hard.

In the American Consumer Satisfaction Index survey, the Mercedes-Benz brand had the highest customer satisfaction scores at 88 and it was closely followed by Lexus at 87. The report released in August was based on interviews through the phone that were conducted on 4,708 customers who were selected at random. From the report, the car auto industry has been doing quite well. Over the previous 5 years, the average American Consumer Satisfaction Index has risen from 80 to 83. The customer satisfaction in the automotive industry currently ranks at number 4, out of the 43 industries that it ACSI tracks. The Airline industry, which has a customer satisfaction score of 69, currently ranks fourth from the last, immediately above the social media industry, TV services subscriptions and ISPs.