GM and Ford Make Headlines. Where’s Chrysler?

While Lincoln and Buick made headlines for snagging the top two slots in ACSI’s 2010 results released last month, the third contender of the proverbial Big Three was conspicuously absent. Of course, the headlines could have taken a different twist—Jeep, Dodge Place Last in Satisfaction. At 77 and 78, Jeep and Dodge brands are indeed the worst satisfiers this year, with the Chrysler nameplate somewhat higher, but still below the average at 80.

ACSI results at the corporate level for the Big Three show Ford and GM brands holding to an average of 86 and 85, respectively, while Chrysler overall declines 4% to an average of 78, far below their domestic competitors. ACSI also compares U.S. versus Asian nameplates (Japan and Korea) each year, and this year the U.S. nameplates edge out Asian nameplates very slightly for the first time since 2000. If Chrysler’s lower performing brands were removed from the U.S. group, Detroit’s advantage would gain considerably.

Chrysler and GM both received bailouts that were met with uneven sentiment in the popular media, while Ford alone maneuvered through the height of the recession bailout-free. Certainly that may have helped Ford’s image in recent months, but Chrysler shows a long history of lagging behind Ford and GM in ACSI. Dodge’s satisfaction peaked at 81 in 2009 (below the industry average of 84), while Jeep has never gotten past 79. The Chrysler nameplate hit 84 in 2009, but looking at all of its measures since 1994, the brand most often ends up at a middling level of 80 (10 out of 17 years).

Click here to see the complete ACSI results for the auto industry.

Media Highlights August 2010

Press Release, August 17, 2010—Detroit Tops Auto Industry for the First Time Ever
CBS News, Ford, GM Models Top Customer Satisfaction Survey.
The Wall Street Journal, Ford, GM Brands Top Customer Satisfaction – Study
Chicago Sun-Times, U.S. Car makers top satisfaction list