Special Report

This Is the Car Americans Hate the Most

The demand for cars this year has been extraordinary. However, not all new car owners have been equally happy with their purchase. According to a recently released study that measured the excitement of owners with their new cars, the car Americans hate the most is Chrysler. 

The high demand for cars this year could be because of pent-up demand from the COVID-19 pandemic. For several weeks, or longer in some places, people could not visit dealers. Meanwhile, the incomes of many middle-class and upper-class Americans actually rose over the same period. Despite the brief recession, most of these people kept working, and gains in the stock market and home prices increased their assets.

At the same time, however, the supply of cars plunged. A tremendous shortage of the semiconductor chips used in auto electronics systems is almost exclusively the cause of this drop. As car inventory dwindled, prices soared. These are the best selling cars in America.

Another change is that people have been increasingly shopping online for cars. Nearly 90% of Americans do internet research before they buy a car, according to one study. The use of the internet in car shopping has evolved even more. A full 30% of car buyers completed their purchase transactions online in 2020. ABC News reports that before the pandemic less than 2% of vehicles were purchased online.

One thing that has not changed is the extent to which car buyers look for expert car ratings. Car and Driver, Motor Trend, and other media have been rating cars for consumers for decades. Research firms like Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book have provided similar services. The gold standard of these ratings is J.D. Power, which releases results of several large studies per year.

To identify the car Americans hate the most, 24/7 Wall St. used J.D. Power’s 2021 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study released Sept. 15. Its results are based on a survey of 110,827 owners of new 2021 model-year vehicles after 90 days of ownership. The survey has taken place from February through July 2021. This is the 26th year this specific research report has been issued.

In the methodology researchers explain the study measures “owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle.” Owners were asked “to consider 37 attributes, ranging from the sense of comfort they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat to the exhilaration they get when they step on the accelerator.”

The total number of points a car brand can receive is 1,000. (Tesla was not considered because the company did not meet ranking criteria.) Vehicles were divided into two groups: premium and mass market. The average score among premium models was 864. Among mass-market cars, the comparable figure was 845. 

The luxury brands with the worst rating were Infiniti, the luxury division of Nissan, and Acura, the luxury brand of Honda. They both received a score of 842, but that was still better than eight mass-market cars. The mass-market car brand with the worst score was Chrysler, at 826. Find out where Chrysler ranks among the most and least dependable car brands in 2021.

Chrysler was founded in 1925. For decades, it was one of the Big Three U.S. car companies, along with General Motors and Ford. It is currently owned by European-based manufacturer Stellantis. Sadly, what was once a large model lineup is down to three. Two, the Pacifica and Voyager, are minivans. The other, the 300, is a midsize sedan.

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