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Incentives a short-term sales fix; buyers value quality more: survey

November 22, 2010

Employee-price promotions may give carmakers and dealers some short-term sales gains, but improving quality is more important in the long run, a survey of U.S. vehicle owners reported this month by the Associated Press suggests.


Toyota got the top score of 87 out of 100 in the University of Michigan’s American Customer Satisfaction Index. 

Owners were asked about their overall satisfaction and their satisfaction level compared to their expectations. They also were asked to rate how their vehicle compares to their ideal vehicle.


Honda, BMW, Cadillac and Buick rounded out the top five performers. Ford got the lowest score of 75. 

University of Michigan professor Claes Fornell, who compiled the index, said Hyundai’s rapid climb shows that focusing on quality can significantly improve satisfaction ratings. Hyundai was at the bottom of the index with a record low score of 68 in 1999, Fornell said.


The survey questioned 8,096 people by phone from April 1 to June 30. Customers gave the vehicles an average rating of 80.