Top 10 least trusted car companies in the US
Top 10 least trusted car companies in the US

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.

Here istop 10 least trusted car company in the United States below.

Car manufacturers in the United States

Some two million cars were assembled in U.S. plants in 2020, while retail sales of light vehicles in the United States reached about 14.5 million in the same year. Mexico was the largest source country for U.S. light vehicle imports in 2020.

U.S. carmakers address the world's second largest market

The United States is the seond largest automotive market worldwide. The U.S.-based automakers General Motors (GM) and Ford are among the leading manufacturers by U.S. market share, alongside Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai. In the electric vehicle segment, California-headquartered Tesla is the most successful manufacturer by far.

Consumer tastes shift towards larger vehicles

The percentage of truck sales in the United States, including vans, minivans, pickups, and four-wheeled sport utility vehicles (SUVs) accounted for about half of the market in 2019. It is expected that about every second new light vehicle model will be a crossover between the 2021 and 2024 model years.

The List of top 10 least trusted car company in the United States

10. Kia

9. Volkswagen

8. Volvo

7. Acura

6. Chevrolet

5. Jeep

4. Lincoln

3. Infiniti

2. Mitsubishi

1. Chrysler

***

What are the least trusted car company in the United States?

10. Kia

Photo: Auto News Press
Photo: Auto News Press

ACSI score (out of 100): 77

Kia Corporation (commonly known as Kia, but stylized as KIΛ) (Korean: 기아; Hanja: 起亞; RR: Gia; MR: Kia, IPA: [ki.a]; formerly known as Kyungsung Precision Industry and Kia Motors Corporation) is a South Korean multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Seoul, South Korea. It is South Korea's second largest automobile manufacturer after parent company Hyundai Motor Company, with sales of over 2.8 million vehicles in 2019. As of December 2015, the Kia Corporation is minority owned by Hyundai, which holds a 33.88% stake valued at just over US$6 billion. Kia in turn is a minority owner of more than twenty Hyundai subsidiaries ranging from 4.9% up to 45.37%, totaling more than US$8.3 billion.

While Kia received the exact same score this year as it did in 2020, and it's hardly the least trusted on this list, consumers in general seem to be underwhelmed by the brand's vehicles.

"Never buy a Kia," one owner advised on Consumer Affairs. "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."

9. Volkswagen

Photo: Hot cars - Blogger
Photo: Hot cars - Blogger

ACSI score (out of 100): 77

Volkswagen is a German motor vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony, Germany. Founded in 1937 by the German Labour Front, known for their iconic Beetle, it is the flagship brand of the Volkswagen Group, the largest car maker by worldwide sales in 2016 and 2017. The group's biggest market is in China, which delivers 40% of its sales and profits. The German term Volk translates to "people", thus Volkswagen translates to "people's car".

Volkswagen may have dropped a point from last year's ACSI rating, 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. 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."

8. Volvo

Photo: Volvo Car Group
Photo: Volvo Car Group

ACSI score (out of 100): 77

Volvo Cars (Swedish: Volvo personvagnar) (stylized as VOLVO) is a Swedish automotive manufacturer of luxury vehicles headquartered in Torslanda in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The company manufactures and markets sport utility vehicles (SUVs), station wagons, hatchbacks, sedans and compact executive sedans. The Volvo Group was founded in 1927 as a subsidiary of the ball bearing manufacturer SKF. When AB Volvo (now a separate company) was introduced on the Stockholm stock exchange in 1935, SKF sold most of its shares in the company. Its cars are marketed as being safe, solidly built and reliable while emphasizing their Swedish heritage and design.

Traditionally, Volvo has been known as a dependable car brand, but that reputation is by no means written in stone for the company that dropped one point from last year's survey.

"I messed up by believing the hype behind Volvo," one verified reviewer wrote on Consumer Affairs 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."

7. Acura

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

ACSI score (out of 100): 76

Acura is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Honda. The brand was launched in the United States and Canada on 27 March 1986, marketing luxury, performance, and high-performance automobiles. It was introduced to Hong Kong in 1991 (lasting until 2009), Mexico in 2004, China in 2006, Russia in 2014 (no longer available in Russia) and Kuwait in 2015, and was also sold in Ukraine (until 2018). Honda's plan to introduce Acura to the Japanese domestic market (JDM) in 2008 was delayed, due to economic reasons, and later withheld as a result of the financial crisis of 2007–2008.

Acura also only dropped a point from last year's ACSI score, and the company has an overall rating of four out of five stars on Consumer Affairs, but there are numerous online 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 Consumer Affairs earlier this year. "The top people making decisions at this organization are ruthless and have no loyalty to their customers."

6. Chevrolet

Photo: Wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

ACSI score (out of 100): 76

Chevrolet, colloquially referred to as Chevy and formally the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Company, is an American automobile division of the American manufacturer General Motors (GM). Louis Chevrolet and ousted General Motors founder William C. Durant started the company on November 3, 1911 as the Chevrolet Motor Car Company. Durant used the Chevrolet Motor Car Company to acquire a controlling stake in General Motors with a reverse merger occurring on May 2, 1918, and propelled himself back to the GM presidency. After Durant's second ousting in 1919, Alfred Sloan, with his maxim "a car for every purse and purpose", would pick the Chevrolet brand to become the volume leader in the General Motors family, selling mainstream vehicles to compete with Henry Ford's Model T in 1919 and overtaking Ford as the best-selling car in the United States by 1929 with the Chevrolet International.

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 Consumer Affairs. "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."

5. Jeep

Photo: CarWale
Photo: CarWale

ACSI score (out of 100): 76

Jeep is an automobile marque originating in the United States, now owned by European conglomerate Stellantis. Jeep has been part of Chrysler since 1987, when Chrysler acquired the Jeep brand, along with remaining assets, from its previous owner American Motors Corporation (AMC).

Judging by one consumer's laundry list of complaints, it's no wonder Jeep's ASCI score didn't improve from last year, holding steady at a 76.

"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 Consumer Affairs. "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."

4. Lincoln

Photo: Leith Cars
Photo: Leith Cars

ACSI score (out of 100): 76

Lincoln (formally the Lincoln Motor Company) is the luxury vehicle division of American automobile manufacturer Ford. Marketed among the top luxury vehicle brands in the United States, Lincoln was positioned closely against its General Motors counterpart Cadillac. The division helped to establish the personal luxury car segment with the 1940 Lincoln Continental.

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."

3. Infiniti

Photo: Herrin Gear - INFINITI
Photo: Herrin Gear - INFINITI

ACSI score (out of 100): 75

Infiniti is the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Nissan. Infiniti officially started selling vehicles on November 8, 1989, in North America. The marketing network for Infiniti-branded vehicles included dealers in over 50 countries in the 2010s. As of 2020, there were 25 markets served by new car dealers. The main markets are North America and China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau).

Infiniti's score was down four points from the 2020 ACSI study, but that's not the only decline it's seeing. According to Business Insider, Infiniti has seen sales drop by 50 percent since 2017, and last year, the brand only sold 79,000 vehicles in America.

Infiniti also 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, Consumer Affairs recently reported.

2. Mitsubishi

Photo: Hioki Vietnam
Photo: Hioki Vietnam

ACSI score (out of 100): 71

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is a Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan. In 2011, Mitsubishi Motors was the sixth-largest Japanese automaker and the 19th-largest worldwide by production. Since October 2016, Mitsubishi has been one-third (34%) owned by Nissan, thus a part of the Renault–Nissan–Mitsubishi Alliance.

Mitsubishi's new 2022 Outlander Sport and Eclipse Cross models have received high marks in the 2021 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, but the brand's 2021 ACSI score still dropped six whole points from last year.

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

1. Chrysler

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

ACSI score (out of 100): 70

Chrysler is one of the "Big Three" automobile manufacturers in the United States, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It is the American subsidiary of Dutch-domiciled automotive company Stellantis. In addition to the Chrysler brand, Stellantis North America sells vehicles worldwide under the Dodge, Jeep, and Ram nameplates. It also includes Mopar, its automotive parts and accessories division, and SRT, its performance automobile division.

Chrysler has been a struggling brand for years, and things aren't looking great for the car company 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 in this year's ACSI survey, as well as in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, CNBC recently reported.

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