The best & worst car brands for customer satisfaction in 2019


Automakers are finding it difficult to prove to customers that their vehicles have value and quality, according to a new American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) study, which was just released.

The 2019 ACSI report’s bottom line shows that customer satisfaction is in decline across much of the auto industry. In fact, that sentiment is evident in 21 of the 27 nameplates (auto brands) listed in the report.

Honda, Subaru, Lexus top consumer satisfaction survey

The 2019 ACSI auto report was gathered from interviews with 4,805 customers who had recently purchased a vehicle. The email interviews were conducted between August 7, 2018 and July 27, 2019.

Here are some of the highlights of the 2019 ACSI auto report:

  • Customer satisfaction with automobiles and light vehicles experienced a 3.7% drop, notching a score of 79 out of 100. Last year, the score was 82.
  • Subaru and Honda tied for first place in the mass-market segment with an 82. Toyota (81) rounds out an all-Japanese top three. GM’s Chevrolet and Fiat Chrysler’s Ram made the top five with scores of 80.
  • The luxury vehicle segment saw six of nine nameplates lose ground when it comes to driver satisfaction. Toyota’s Lexus made the top spot with an 84, despite dropping 1%. Mercedes-Benz rose 1% to claim second place (83) and five automakers — Volkswagen’s Audi, BMW, Nissan’s Infiniti, Ford’s Lincoln and Volvo — all tied with 82 scores.
Automaker  2019 score 2018 score
Lexus (Toyota) 84 85
Mercedes-Benz 83 82
Audi (Volkswagen) 82 83
BMW 82 82
Honda 82 83
Infiniti (Nissan) 82 78
Lincoln (Ford) 82 84
Subaru 82 84
Volvo 82 85
Cadillac (GM) 81 82
Toyota 81 83
Chevrolet (GM) 80 79
Ram (Fiat Chrysler) 80 80
Buick (GM) 79 80
Hyundai 79 80
Acura (Honda) 78 81
GMC (GM) 78 80
Fiat (Fiat Chrysler) 77 78
Ford 77 77
Mazda 77 80
Volkswagen 77 82
All Others 76 78
Jeep (Fiat Chrysler) 76 80
Kia 76 79
Mitsubishi 76 79
Nissan 75 80
Dodge (Fiat Chrysler) 74 77
Chrysler (Fiat Chrysler) 71 74

More key findings

The report highlights several challenges facing the auto industry, including the threat of tariffs, a renewed interest in used cars, consumer debt and the rise of ridesharing apps.

Customers reported less satisfaction in vehicles from both foreign and domestic automakers. Although they topped their American counterparts, Asian automakers experienced the steepest drop in satisfaction this year — 2% — to their lowest overall scores in half a decade. Here’s how the globe’s top automakers scored this year:

  • European brands: 81
  • Asian brands: 79
  • U.S. brands: 78

“Look first at cars that your fellow American has been by far the happiest with,” money expert Clark Howard says about this report. Get more details on specific automakers here.

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