Non-luxury auto brands have become increasingly pleasing to consumers, shrinking the gap with
their luxury counterparts, according to new results of an annual survey.
Honda, which makes several models in central Ohio, was the industry’s second-ranked brand in the
American Customer Satisfaction Index.
The only brand ahead of Honda was Lincoln, Ford’s luxury brand. Next, in a tie for third place,
were Toyota and BMW. The brands were ranked on a 100-point scale.
Honda was one of several non-luxury brands receiving higher scores this year than last, in part
because of technology features that are becoming more widely available, said David VanAmburg,
managing director of the survey company.
“It’s everything, from better audio systems to GPS to crash-avoidance systems,” VanAmburg said.
“That seems to be having a lot of resonance, and Honda is one of the automakers that are leading
Honda’s score was 86, up from 80 the prior year. That was just one point behind Lincoln’s 87,
which was an improvement from 83.
The survey looks at 10 categories of customers’ satisfaction with new vehicles, including
driving performance, dependability and exterior appearance. Results are based on interviews with
3,776 customers who have had a new car for at least six months.
Of the 24 brands listed, 16 ranked better than the previous year, five did worse, and the rest
scored the same. This follows three consecutive years of declines in the average score.
Acura, Honda’s luxury brand, had a poor showing: Its score was 76, down from 83, the lowest of
any brand, luxury or non-luxury.
“Acura has been a strange one,” VanAmburg said. “It’s been kind of a puzzler to us.”
He wasn’t able to point to an issue or model that’s having problems. He noted that Acura’s
scores have been prone to big gains and drops in the past few years, which means the poor showing
might be erased by this time next year.
Matt Sloustcher, an Acura spokesman, has this response:
“Acura looks forward to reviewing results and methodology of the ACSI report, as we do with all
third-party assessments,” he said in an e-mail. “We are confident in Acura’s future based on the
re-establishment of ‘Precision Crafted Performance’ as the brand direction, and the launch” of
several new or updated models.