Detroit Automaker Scores Decline in ACSI Survey

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Detroit Free Press

The gap in cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion between the Detroit Three and Asian automak­ers is widen­ing, accord­ing to a new sur­vey by the Amer­i­can Cus­tomer Sat­is­fac­tion Index.

Get the facts and fig­ures on the lat­est quar­terly ACSI survey.

The gap in cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion between the Detroit Three and Asian automak­ers is widen­ing, accord­ing to a new sur­vey by the Amer­i­can Cus­tomer Sat­is­fac­tion Index.

The scores of five out of eight domes­tic brands declined in ACSI’s lat­est quar­terly sur­vey, con­ducted from April 6 to May 22.

The decline in cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion is not a seri­ous threat yet for Gen­eral Motors, Ford and Chrysler, but could quickly become a prob­lem if it con­tin­ues to drop, said Claes For­nell, chair­man and founder of ACSI.

“I don’t think Detroit can afford to slip back fur­ther,” For­nell said. “We know that repeat busi­ness is impor­tant to every automaker, and that decreas­ing cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion makes it that much harder to get cus­tomer back.”

A closer look at the data show that some domes­tic brands actu­ally improved from a year ago. GMC rose from 80 to 85, tied with Cadil­lac — just behind Sub­aru, Toy­ota and Honda at 86. Ford matched the indus­try aver­age of 83, as did Chrysler brand, which jumped from 78 to 83.

The three brands that declined most were Chevro­let (79 from 84 a year ago), Jeep (80 from 83) and Dodge (79 from 81).

As recently as 2010, Asian and domes­tic automak­ers were tied in cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, but Asian automak­ers have now re-established a sig­nif­i­cant advan­tage. It is worth not­ing that the sur­vey omit­ted Lin­coln, which might have boosted Ford’s cor­po­rate per­for­mance, and left out Scion, Toyota’s entry-level brand that gen­er­ally has not estab­lished the type of rep­u­ta­tion of either Toy­ota or Lexus.

For­nell said he sus­pects that the score declines are caused by a ris­ing demand for cars and trucks that has caused the Detroit Three to rapidly increase pro­duc­tion, hire new work­ers and to ask sup­pli­ers to do the same.

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