US: Car owners’ satisfaction reaches 11-year low image

An annual survey tells us that U.S. car owners’ satisfaction with their cars has reached the lowest level since 2004 because of rising prices but also repeated due to numerous recalls.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index stated that no U.S. brand managed to improve its score from 2014, with the customer sentiment declining to 79 points out of 100, three points lower than last year.

This year, recalls have reached 36 million vehicles up to this point, after they topped at 64 million in 2014. General Motors is one of the carmakers involved in one of the biggest recalls so far, with its faulty ignition switches linked to more than 100 deaths. A number of around 33 million vehicles are at the moment part of a recall involving the Takata air bag inflators which have ruptured and led to 8 deaths and more than 100 injured people, with Tesla and VW being the last Takata customers free of airbag recalls. Car owners reported a 40% rise in recalls compared to 2014.

However, due to low costs and smaller interest rates, customers in the auto business have invested in new vehicles, which led to sales levels not seen in more than a decade, since before the recession, and to a 15% increase in average selling prices.

In the 4,300 customers’ survey, Japanese and South Korean automakers surpassed the U.S. and European producers, with Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus at the top of the list with 84 points. The luxury car brand was followed by Honda Motor Co.’s Acura, Ford Motor Co.’s Lincoln and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, all at a tie of 83 points.

 

By Gabriela Florea