Luxury Brands Outperform Mass Market in Consumer Study

Satisfaction with luxury nameplates increases 2.6% to 80 in the American Customer Satisfaction Index Automobile Study 2021-2022, while mass-market vehicles hold steady with a score of 77.

Jim Irwin, Associate Editor

August 23, 2022

3 Min Read
Lexus 2022_ES
Lexus No.1 among all vehicle makes in consumer satisfaction survey.Lexus

Overall customer satisfaction with automobiles backslides 1.3% in the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Automobile Study 2021-2022.

The decline to a score of 77 out of 100 was determined from interviews with 4,708 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between July 2021 and June 2022.

Satisfaction with luxury nameplates increases 2.6% to 80, while mass-market vehicles hold steady from 2021 to 2022 with a score of 77.

Japanese and Korean makes improve 1 point to 79, moving into a first-place tie with European marques (unchanged). Legacy U.S. automakers average 77.

Among legacy domestic manufacturers, General Motors climbs 1% to 78, Ford slips 1% to 76 and Stellantis (comprising the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram nameplates) falls 1% to 75.

Subaru BRZ 22 cropped, RESIZED.jpg

Subaru BRZ 22 cropped, RESIZED

“For the auto industry this year, it’s all about luxury brands, with the driver experience improving nearly across the board,” says Forrest Morgeson, assistant professor of marketing at Michigan State University and Director of Research Emeritus at the ACSI.

“Luxury plates Acura and Infiniti make a splash with massive customer satisfaction gains, but most mass-market brands falter. Fuel economy is a concern for consumers with high prices at the pump, while chip shortages make mainstream plates hard to come by. Customers may be facing long wait times or settling for models that don’t match their needs,” he says.

Among all mass-market vehicles, Subaru retains first place despite slipping 1% to an ACSI score of 80, tied with Toyota (up 1%).

Four mass-market brands score 78: Chevrolet (up 3%), Hyundai (down 1%), Mazda (down 1%), and Ram (down 3%).

After leading the industry last year, Honda plunges 6% to 77, same as Buick (unchanged), Nissan (down 1%), and Volkswagen (unchanged). Ford (down 3%), GMC (down 3%), Jeep (unchanged), and Kia (down 1%) all score 76, while Dodge drops 5% to an ACSI score of 74.

Despite small gains, Chrysler (up 3%) and Mitsubishi (up 1%) share last place at 72.

Infiniti QX55 22 RESIZED.jpg

Infiniti QX55 22 RESIZED

Among mass-market vehicles, customers are most satisfied with comfort (81), dependability (81), driving performance (81) and vehicle safety (81). However, safety dips 1% year-over-year.

Drivers are least happy with warranties (75) and gas mileage (74), which slip 1% and 3%, respectively.

Lexus jumps 4% to an ACSI score of 84, good for first place both overall and in the luxury segment.

Acura and Infiniti surge 8% and 9%, respectively, moving into a three-way tie for second with Audi (up 3%) at 82. Cadillac improves 4% to 80, matching Tesla (unchanged) and just ahead of Mercedes-Benz, which inches up 1% to 79.

At the bottom of the category, BMW plunges 5% to 77, but outperforms Volvo (76) and Lincoln (75), each retreating 1%.

In terms of the driving experience, luxury vehicles improve almost across the board. Drivers are most pleased with comfort (84), up 2% year-over-year. Customers also are pleased with interior (83) and vehicle safety (83), with both elements improving 1%.

Only two benchmarks sit below 80: warranties (up 1% to 79) and gas mileage (unchanged at 76).

ACSI luxury screenshot.png

ACSI luxury screenshot

ACSI mass market screenshot.png

ACSI mass market screenshot

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