America's Worst Car

J.D. Power, America’s premier car research firm, has issued its 2023 U.S. Customer Service Index (CSI) Study. For the first time in three decades, the overall rank for the industry dropped. One car brand did particularly poorly. (These are the best-built and worst-built cars in America.)

The J.D. Power study was based on 64,428 car owners of 2020 to 2022 model vehicles. The study ran from August 2022 to December.

The total number of points a vehicle can get is 1,000. This year, the industry average was 846, down two points from last year. The rankings are based on “vehicle owner service experience.” This includes service quality, which is 32% of the total; service advisors, which is 19%; vehicle pick-up, also 19%; service facilities, 15% of the total; and service initiation, at 15%.

Electric vehicles (EVs) were rated more poorly than gasoline-powered cars. The primary reason is the rate of recalls. Chris Sutton, vice president of automotive retail at J.D. Power, commented, “As the electric vehicle segment grows, service is going to be a ‘make or break’ part of the ownership experience.”

The CSI study separates cars into two categories: luxury cars and mass market cars. Among luxury cars, the loser was Genesis, the luxury brand of Hyundai, with a score of 819. Genesis was followed by Land Rover at 824 and Ford’s embattled luxury brand Lincoln at 835.

Among mass-market cars, the loser was Chrysler at 803. Hyundai received a grade of 817, and GM’s Jeep came in at 821.

Car companies fortunate enough to get good grades should see their sales boosted by the data. Brands with low ratings are bound to be punished.

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