Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Fiat division has been fading in the United States for some time as sales have declined and the brand’s reputation has eroded. Fiat’s reputation was further tarnished when the brand ranked last in the new American Customer Satisfaction Index for cars. The rating was matched by stablemate Dodge. At the top of the list, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus brand finished first.
The ACSI rating is based on a score that ranges from 1 to 100. The industry-wide score for 2017 was 81. Lexus, which routinely does well in this sort of research, scored 86. Fiat and Dodge scored 75. Fiat Chrysler’s two other brands, Chrysler and Jeep, also did poorly. Chrysler scored 79 and Jeep 80.
In general, car ownership satisfaction dropped slightly last year, according to the ACSI. Also, U.S. car manufacturers posted poorer results in the latest survey when compared to the previous year. For years, they have performed worse, on average, than international car manufacturers.
While satisfaction among the customers of GM and other Detroit automakers slid or remained flat last year, foreign-made vehicles tended to have the highest driver satisfaction. More than three-quarters of the above-average nameplates in the survey are imports.
According to the ACSI, “the gap between international and domestic manufacturers has widened because of the downturn for U.S. cars.”
Luxury and mass-market vehicles also cluster at opposite ends of the customer satisfaction survey. Most brands reviewed are mass-market vehicles, but of the 13 car brands with above-average ACSI scores, seven are luxury brands. Only one luxury brand scored below average in customer satisfaction.
To determine the best and worst car brands of 2017, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed customer satisfaction figures from the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s Automobile Report 2017. The report was based on 3,934 customer survey responses between July 1, 2016 and June 20, 2017. Sales and market share data were obtained from GoodCarBadCar.net.