Unless you or a relative work for Ford, Lincoln might not be the first brand you think of when it comes to luxury cars. But that doesn't mean its cars aren't good, and that doesn't mean its owners aren't happy. In fact, they might be the happiest of any brand devotees, according to a new study.
Back in June, the American Customer Satisfaction Index chose 3,776 customers at random and had them fill out an email-based survey. ACSI then calculated customer satisfaction based on that data, and out of every manufacturer included in the report, Lincoln walked away with top satisfaction honors, scoring 87 out of a possible 100. Last year, Lincoln scored 83, which was just one point short of Lexus and tied with both Acura and Mercedes-Benz.
The runners-up were Honda, BMW, Toyota and GMC, respectively. Each of these brands had a net positive change in customer satisfaction over the past year. Only a few brands experienced lower satisfaction year over year -- Mercedes-Benz, Buick, Cadillac, Volkswagen and Acura. Even with Dieselgate looming large, satisfaction only dropped 3 percent year over year. The largest drop went to Acura (8 percent), and the highest gain went to Infiniti (9 percent).
Of the Detroit Big Three, Ford has held the highest satisfaction rates for the longest time. GM battled Ford for top honors in 2013 and 2014, while Fiat Chrysler has lagged behind its competitors since ACSI started this index back in 2012.
It's important to note that satisfaction takes many forms, and many different factors are involved in a customer's overall happiness. ACSI notes that lower prices and increased incentives have helped boost satisfaction rates, while owners with cars under recall have markedly lower satisfaction rates. Despite the preponderance of vehicle recalls holding steady from last year, overall satisfaction is still on the rise. I guess folks are just getting used to it.