This Is the Least Trusted Car Company in the U.S., Data Shows

We rely on our vehicles to get us to work, get our children to school, run errands, and provide transportation for just about every important task required to get through our daily lives. And nothing can throw a wrench into perfectly planned out, well, plans like unexpected car trouble. That’s why we consulted the recently released American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) Automobile Study 2020-2021 to find out the least trusted car company, according to consumers.

The ACSI Automobile Study 2020-2021 is based on interviews with 4,888 customers, chosen at random and contacted via email between July 6, 2020, and June 28, 2021. Customers were asked to evaluate their recent experiences with automobile brands made by the largest automotive manufacturers in the country. In the end, the study scored 27 car brands on a scale of 100 based on consumer responses, and we’ve plucked out the lowest-performing twelve brands.

Read on to discover the least trusted car company in the U.S.

RELATED: This Is the Most Unreliable Car in the U.S., Owners Say.

Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

ACSI score (out of 100): 77

Buick is an old stalwart owned by one of the original big three car manufacturers, General Motors (GM). And while the company has had some trouble over the years keeping up with the times, it’s ACSI score improved one point from last year, and its 2021 Buick Enclave was recently rated the the second-best luxury large sport utility vehicle by Consumer Reports.

Cadillac dealership
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ACSI score (out of 100): 77

Another GM brand, Cadillac, made a reputation for producing sturdy, dependable, and stylish vehicles. However, that has been less the case in recent years, as the company’s ACSI score dropped three points from last year, and Cadillac’s SRX model in particular has caused owners countless headaches, according to several reviews on ConsumerAffairs.

“I bought a used Cadillac SRX in January of 2019 and it was the worst mistake,” one verified reviewer wrote in 2020. “I have had to spend over $4000 in repairs within the first year and Cadillac has been of NO HELP at all. In fact, they gave me overinflated prices for the repairs and [an] incorrect assessment of the issue.”

RELATED: This Is the Most Popular New Car in the U.S., According to Data.

Kia dealership
Shutterstock

ACSI score (out of 100): 77

While Kia received the exact same score this year as it did in 2020, and it’s by no means the lowest on this list, consumers in general seem to be underwhelmed by the brand’s vehicles.

“Never buy a Kia,” one owner advised on ConsumerAffairs. “And if you do expect no help from them on recall parts. I’ve spoken to at least 10 people. Half say one thing. Half say another.”

Volkswagen Cars and SUV Dealership
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ACSI score (out of 100): 77

Volkswagen may have dropped a point from last year’s ACSI score, but the company is in the process of a major shift, which includes a huge push in the production of electric and even autonomous vehicles in the coming years. In fact, according to CNN Business, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess “wants electric cars to make up half of the Volkswagen Group’s sales in 2030, and 100 percent of its sales in major markets should be zero-emission by 2040.”

“There’s a lot of business potential and it’s still a long way to go,” Diess told CNN Business in reference to autonomous vehicles. “Our first fleets probably will come to market in 2025, and the first private cars driving autonomously also in 2025 or 2026. But it’s now time to invest, and to prepare. And that’s what we are doing.”

Volvo logo on front grill
Shutterstock

ACSI score (out of 100): 77

Traditionally, Volvo has been known as a dependable car brand, but that reputation is by no means written in stone.

“I messed up by believing the hype behind Volvo,” one verified reviewer wrote on ConsumerAffairs in 2020. “I messed up [by] paying for a preowned Volvo just out of warranty. I messed up by trusting Volvo would be a car that would make it past 50,000 or 80,000 or 100,000 miles without multiple expensive major car issues. Don’t be fooled like me.”

Acura dealership
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

ACSI score (out of 100): 76

While Acura only dropped a point from last year’s ACSI score, and the company has an overall rating of four out of five stars on ConsumerAffairs, there are numerous complaints about the quality of customer service and maintenance for the Honda-owned car brand.

“Acura does not stand by their product or do the right thing by the customer,” an angry verified reviewer wrote on ConsumerAffairs earlier this year. “The top people making decisions at this organization are ruthless and have no loyalty to their customers.”

A Chevrolet dealership in Warren, Michigan. Founded in 1911, Chevrolet is a subsidiary of General Motors and manufactures a variety of cars and trucks.
iStock

ACSI score (out of 100): 76

Chevy’s ACSI score stayed the exact same as last year, so while its reputation with consumers didn’t get significantly worse, it most certainly did not get better—especially considering a recent recall of its Chevy Bolt model for having the potential to catch on fire.

“I purchased a new Chevrolet for reliability and to transport my family. I’ve had it for two months and 2,000 miles and it’s been nothing but a nightmare and headache,” one Chevy owner lamented on ConsumerAffairs. “It’s been at a dealership three different times for multiple days at a time and I’ve been given no loaner. So, now instead of me being able to provide transportation for my family back and forth to school I’m unable to do that … I chose a new GM vehicle over your competitors and it’s been the biggest mistake of my life.”

RELATED: This Is the Deadliest Car in the U.S., According to Data.

Jeep dealership
Jonathan Weiss / Shutterstock.com

ACSI score (out of 100): 76

Judging by one consumer’s laundry list of complaints, it’s no wonder Jeep’s ASCI score didn’t improve from last year.

“I bought this car brand new and have now had it for two years. It has been the worst car I have ever had in my life,” the verified reviewer wrote on ConsumerAffairs. “The windshield is a magnet for chips and you can tell that it is bad quality. I have had two chips and one crack already driving on paved roads. The paint is also cheap as it chips very easily with normal driving. And the biggest issue other than all the recalls, is that my car takes the most expensive oil, which is full synthetic, and for some reason it is empty at 3,000 miles.”

Lincoln dealership sign
Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

ACSI score (out of 100): 76

Lincoln’s ACSI score dropped one point from last year, which may have had something to do with the fact that its 2020 Aviator SUV was named the most unreliable new car by Consumer Reports.

“I’ve had this car into the dealership four separate times for unrelated reliability issues totaling over three weeks of lost usage,” one dissatisfied owner wrote on Cars.com “I am very disappointed in Lincoln quality and will not buy another one like it.”

Infiniti dealership
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

ACSI score (out of 100): 75

According to Business Insider Mexico, Infiniti has seen sales decline by 50 percent since 2017, and last year, the brand only sold 79,000 vehicles in America.

In addition to plummeting sales, Infiniti recently announced it was recalling 3,569 of its 2021 Q50, Q60, and QX80 vehicles due to a software issue that prevents the rearview camera from displaying, ConsumerAffairs recently reported.

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Mitsubishi vehicles at dealership
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ACSI score (out of 100): 71

While its new 2022 Outlander Sport and Eclipse Cross models have received high marks in the 2021 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, Mitsubishi’s 2021 ACSI score dropped 6 points from last year.

“For a company all about their warranty, they really fight not to cover it,” one Mitsubishi owner complained on ConsumerAffairs. “Never buying Mitsubishi again seeing as my 3-year-old car is now my junker.”

Chrysler dealership
FotograFFF / Shutterstock.com

ACSI score (out of 100): 70

Chrysler has been a struggling brand for years, and things aren’t looking great for the brand that recently went through a merger and is now owned by automaker Stellantis. In fact, The Drive recently reported that Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said Chrysler will have a decade to prove its value, or otherwise potentially disappear for good. And the company has a long road ahead of it, as it ranked lowest on this year’s ACSI, as well as the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, CNBC recently reported.

RELATED: This Popular Car Is Being Discontinued.

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Nina Zatulini

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