These car brands are tops in customer satisfaction

Volvo, Lexus, Lincoln and Subaru led all car brands in customer satisfaction, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) annual auto study.

The 2018 ACSI Automobile Report, published on Tuesday, found that overall customer satisfaction with vehicles rose 1.2 percent to a score of 82 out of 100. European cars led the market with a score of 82, followed by Japanese and Korean automakers at 81. U.S. manufacturers posted a lower average score (79) for the second straight year.

“Car owners are often highly satisfied -- they’ve kicked the tires enough times that they’re happy with their decision when they buy,” ACSI Managing Director David VanAmburg said in a news release.

Volvo climbed the rankings in customer satisfaction to tie Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division. Volvo rose 4 percent to a score of 85, matching Lexus and recording a new high score for the Swedish brand. ACSI noted that Volvo scored well in vehicle safety and comfort.

Ford’s Lincoln was the top-rated U.S. luxury brand with a score of 84, up slightly compared to last year. Audi (83), Mercedes-Benz (82), Cadillac (82) and BMW (82) followed close behind.

Among mass-market brands, Subaru’s score (84) was down year-over-year but still beat Toyota, which slipped 3 percent with a score of 83. Honda tied Toyota for second place, followed by Volkswagen (82).

The top U.S. mass-market automakers were Ram, Buick, Jeep and GMC, which each scored an 80. General Motors' Chevrolet posted a score of 79, while Dodge (77), Ford (77) and Chrysler (74) took the final three slots in ACSI’s rankings.

VanAmburg noted that this year’s gains are threatened by proposed tariffs on car imports, a move that analysts say could lead to higher prices. Manufacturers have already come under pressure from rising costs for raw materials such as steel and aluminum following tariffs on the metals.