Another Day, Another Dubious Satisfaction Survey Lauding Detroit

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
another day another dubious satisfaction survey lauding detroit

While Automotive News [sub] trumpets the fact that “Cadillac Joins Lexus atop Study of Customer Satisfaction,” our experience with all manner of stat house slickery behooves us to dig a little deeper into the subject. [ “league table” here.] While we eagerly await Mr. Karesh’s analytical evisceration, I’d like to share some relevant facts. First, although the “see there IS a perception gap” study is called the American Customer Satisfaction Index™, it hails from the University of Michigan. Second, it’s a racket. The academics behind the index charge companies a $35K “corporate subscription price.” If you don’t work in automotive, no problem! The ACSI covers 44 industries! Oh, and the US government. Third, methodology (as above) . . .

The indexes (shown in the diagram above) are multivariable components measured by several questions that are weighted within the model. The questions assess customer evaluations of the determinants of each index. Indexes are reported on a 0 to 100 scale. The survey and modeling methodology quantifies the strength of the effect of the index on the left to the one to which the arrow points on the right. These arrows represent “impacts.” The ACSI model is self-weighting to maximize the explanation of customer satisfaction (ACSI) on customer loyalty. Looking at the indexes and impacts, users can determine which drivers of satisfaction, if improved, would have the most effect on customer loyalty.

Confused? You should be. Suffice it to say, the man behind the program, Claes Fornell, loves him some Wall Street. Wikipedia: “He is also the lead author of a Journal of Marketing article linking satisfaction performance to stock market growth, demonstrating that a portfolio of firms with high ACSI scores consistently outperforms the market.” That’s got to help his people sell some of them $35K subs, eh?

I wonder if anyone’s ever measured ASCI’s customer satisfaction? I know one guy they should/shouldn’t talk to: Mark Fields. USA Today‘s unquestioning coverage of this domestic heartening stat-fest ends with a quote from Ford’s el presidente de las Americas.

I think in our case, the consumers are seeing new products, they’re seeing information from third parties on our quality, and it’s all raising awareness,” he says. “All of this highlighting in the media every day is helpful to us, given that we have the evidence to back up our claims.”

Define evidence.

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2 of 17 comments
  • MichaelJ MichaelJ on Aug 18, 2009

    Detroit Todd: Without even hearing from Mr. Karesh, you assume he’s going to tear this survey to shreds, Hulk-style? Of course the expectation is that Mr. Karesh will tear the survey to shreds. After all, UofM must be biased to the domestics simply because of their location, right? Therefore Mr. Karesh must be biased to this site and will agree with the prevailing preconception here that everything domestic is bad... "Another day, another dubious satisfaction survey lauding Detroit." Implies these are coming in daily. How many such dubiousnessosities does it take before maybe...maybe...possibly...there's a little glint of acceptance that they're not actually wrong? I sure wish we could start seeing the honorable truthful non-biased scientific surveys that agree with the sentiment here that Detroit=crap and imports are perfect.

  • Happy_Endings Happy_Endings on Aug 18, 2009

    It all goes back to the old Onion headline; 98% of statistics are made up on the spot.

  • Akear The Prius outsells all GM EVs combined, which is really not saying much.
  • Akear The sad truth is the only vehicle FCA sold that broke the 200,000 sales barrier was the 200. I rented one and found it impressive. It is certainly better than the Renegade. At this point I would buy a used 200 over a Renegade. Who in their right mind would buy a Renegade?
  • Akear I just realized 80% of these EV vehicles producers are going to be liquidated within the next five years. It is not possible to survive by selling only 3000 vehicles a year. This reminds me of the bust of the late 90s and early 2000s. Those who don't learn from history repeat it.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I drove a rental Renegade a few years back. Felt the engine (TIgerShark) was ready was ready to pop out from under the hood. Very crude!! Sole purpose was CAFE offsets. Also drove a V6 Cherokee which was very nice and currently out of production. Should be able to scoop up one at a fair deal.🚗🚗🚗