lexus overtakes mercedes-benz in u.s. customer satisfaction study – DOC640450
Since its launch in 1989, Lexus has worked hard to through its dealer network and post-purchase programs to be among the best when it comes to customer satisfaction, and this year Lexus has finally surpassed Mercedes-Benz to stand at the top of the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Automobiles Report for 2015.
The Toyota-owner luxury brand scored 84 out of 100 percent, good enough to top Mercedes’ score of 83, which was down by three percent from last year. BMW , meanwhile, improved by three percent to 82, and Acura was the most improved of any company in the world, posting a whopping eight-percent gain to tie Mercedes and Lincoln at 83.
BMW and Acura were actually the only two companies to improve on their score from 2014. On average, customer satisfaction ratings decreased by 3.7 percent to 79. It’s the lowest average score the ACSI has recorded since it started in 2004, but it might not necessarily be because of bad dealership experiences or poor customer service.
Higher prices are clearly hurting car buyer satisfaction, but low prices also have artificially inflated satisfaction in the years prior,” ACSI director David VanAmburg explained. “The government’s Cash for Clunkers program helped push driver satisfaction to its highest level ever in 2009 — and heavy discounting as the economy recovered kept satisfaction up for a while.”
Why it matters
So Lexus is on top, but it didn’t get there by improving. Others fell. The between-the-lines story here is that consumers are sick of recalls . There’s no real reason manufacturers and their dealer networks can’t offer excellent cars and buying experiences while selling cars at full value.
Without a doubt, mass recalls have also had a negative impact on new car experiences. A new record was set in 2014 when nearly 64 million cars were recalled, and they haven’t slowed in 2015. Recalls increased by a whopping 40 percent in the second quarter of 2015, compared with the same quarter in 2014.
Finally, and we know you were wondering who was at the bottom, of the 27 companies surveyed, Fiat Chrysler-owned companies swept the bottom three spots, with Jeep at 79, Chrysler at 74 and Fiat at 73.
2016 Lexus GS