A new automotive study indicates that car owners are more satisfied with their purchases than they were a year ago as manufacturers look for ways to improve the experiences their vehicles provide.
As reported by WardsAuto, the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Automobile Study 2022-2023 found that car owners rated their happiness with vehicles two points higher in 2023 than in 2022, for an average score of 79. Demographic differences among the survey’s 8,941 participants were apparent. Respondents in the 18-25 age group rated their products the lowest, seven points behind the study average, while those aged 58-76 gave more positive reviews, scoring their cars seven points ahead of the study average. Mass market and luxury segments saw similar variations, achieving average satisfaction ratings of 78 and 81, respectively.
Compared to other industries, vehicles ranked eighth in customer satisfaction. Forrest Morgeson, associate professor of marketing at Michigan State University and director of research emeritus at the ACSI noted happiness among car owners had “fully rebounded to pre-pandemic levels” while demand for automobiles remained “strong despite rising interest rates.” Morgeson attributed the year-over-year increase to rising inventory levels and improving consumer sentiments.
While rising satisfaction scores are a good sign for the automotive industry, car owners are still frustrated with some aspects of their vehicles. J.D. Power’s Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study published in July found that happiness has declined among drivers for two consecutive years. Although the decrease in 2023 was minuscule, Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at the firm, commented that the “downward trajectory of satisfaction should be a warning sign to manufacturers…” Since the COVID pandemic, OEMs have integrated innovative features and designs into their products. Given the conflating results of the ACSI and APEAL reports, car owners may be split on whether these developments have made vehicles better or worse. As time goes on, automakers will need to pay closer attention to satisfaction scores to ensure customer happiness remains stable.