I’m sure this headline will get Mopar fans’ backs up, but it’s the cold-hard truth: the American Consumer Satisfaction Index rated the Chrysler brand lowest of all automotive brands, with Jeep and Dodge tied with Mazda for second-to-last place. And though the graph above shows historical scores, the latest rating is based on interviews with US consumers in the second quarter of this year. Hit the jump for a graph of the latest ratings, but first check out those historical scores. I’m not generally a fan of this kind of survey, as exemplified by the infamous JD Power “Initial Quality” survey, but the most dramatic line on this jumbled graph, belonging to Hyundai, matches that brand’s sales progress amazingly closely. That tells me this “satisfaction index” says something about how well each brand serves its intended customer… which, as Hyundai proves, can (but doesn’t always) lead to sales growth. The counter-example: Cadillac has long been a top contender, even when it sold less-than-entirely-competitive products and was losing sales. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this year’s results.
I didn’t mean to lump the “loser” brands off to the left there, but losers they pretty clearly are… at least according to the ACSI’s criteria. Kia is unsurprisingly towards the bottom of this rating, which ACSI admits favors premium vehicles, with Chevrolet next and Hyundai, GMC and BMW (!) tied up in the next tier. The big surprise according to AN [sub]’s write-up, was Toyota which tied for first with Cadillac and Lexus. The highest-ranked mass-market brand, Toyota seems to have shaken off any effects the unintended acceleration scandal may have had in the minds of consumers. Of course, like fleet sales, incentives, this index is only one small part of what it takes to understand the market… but its results are certainly provocative.