Car brand ratings are a major anchor of many research firms and media. These include significant studies from U.S. News, Consumer Reports, Edmunds, Motor Trend, Car and Driver and J.D. Power. The most recent comprehensive study of car brands comes from the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), one of the most widely respected research firms in the country.
In its Automobile Study 2020-2021, the authors said the average score across the industry for automobiles and light vehicles was 78 out of 100. This is the same figure from the study a year ago. Cars were divided into two categories: mass market and luxury. In terms of scores, the difference between the two categories is relatively small. David VanAmburg, managing director at ACSI, commented: “Over the last few years, luxury automakers’ satisfaction lead over mass-market manufacturers has been slowly eroding. That gap is now almost nonexistent.”
The Automobile Study 2020-2021 is part of a much broader set of studies that query 500,000 people on 400 companies across 56 industries and sectors.
Honda topped the ACSI Automobile Study with a score of 82. Just behind it, with scores of 81, were Subaru, BMW and Lexus, the luxury brand of Toyota.
Honda made its mark as a motorcycle manufacturer in the last 1950s and 1960s. By many measures, particularly cars produced per year, it is the second-largest manufacturer in Japan, after Toyota, and the eighth largest in the world. It sells luxury cars through its Acura division, which was launched in 1986 to compete with BMW and Mercedes. Honda has consistently received very high-quality grades, along with fellow Japanese car companies Toyota and Subaru.
The car brand with the lowest score was Chrysler at 70, which was down 4% from last year. It is owned by Stellantis, a company created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group. It is currently the sixth-largest car company in the world.
Second from the bottom was Mitsubishi, one of the smallest-selling brands in America, with a score of 71. Just ahead of that was Infiniti, the luxury brand of Nissan, with a score of 75. Another luxury brand scored almost as poorly. Lincoln, the luxury brand of Ford, came in at 76, which tied it with Jeep, another Stellantis brand, as well as with GM’s Chevrolet and with Acura, the luxury brand of Honda.