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American Automakers Slipping in Customer Satisfaction

It’s been a tough couple of years for everyone -- especially American automakers. The economy collapsed, two out of the Big Three received government bailouts, and gas prices have gone nowhere but up. And now they’ve got a new problem on their hands: customer satisfaction with American-made automobiles and light vehicles is dropping.

When you look at the numbers, it doesn’t seem so bad, really. It’s only a percentage point or two in most cases. But with many Asian-made vehicles gaining in customer satisfaction, Ford, Chrysler, and GM can’t afford to let buyers slip away a percentage point at a time.

Here are the auto makers who suffered a drop in 2011:

  • BMW, down 3.5% compared to 2010
  • Buick, down 3.4%
  • Chrysler, down 5%
  • GMC, down 1.2%
  • Lincoln, down 3.4%
  • Mazda, down 1.3%


Of these six, two are not American brands, but one of these brands, Chrysler, took a huge hit in customer satisfaction over the past year.

Other American brands fared better, with Cadillac, Ford, Chevrolet, Jeep, and Dodge gaining in customer satisfaction. But the biggest gains were posted by Toyota (a company overcoming its own customer satisfaction issues) and Volkswagen.

But if you’re wondering which brands earned the top ratings from the American Customer Satisfaction survey this year, regardless of where they ranked last year, here are the top 5 for 2011:

  1. Lexus, with a score of 87
  2. Cadillac, 87
  3. Toyota, 87
  4. Lincoln, 86
  5. Mercedes-Benz, 86

If you want to see the results, check out the ACSI web site. If you want help finding the car that will give you the most satisfaction, use our New Autos research tools.