"The focus on satisfaction and quality is all about making sure there are no negatives, and the industry has done a great job at this over the last couple of decades," said Ian Beavis, chief strategy officer of AMCI. "That's why satisfaction alone is not enough. It takes integrity and empathy to build the emotional bond of trust that leads to loyalty and advocacy."
Alfa Romeo, with a score of 51 on a 100-point scale, was consumers' most trusted luxury brand in 2019 because of its new business model that gives consumers control over the kind of experience they want, Beavis said.
Meanwhile, Honda ranked highest among mass-market brands because of its concern shown for customers during the Takata airbag recall, AMCI said.
He added: "In many instances, it's not what you do, it's how you do it that builds or erodes trust."
AMCI Global's third annual study was conducted in collaboration with C Space, a Boston marketing research firm, and surveyed 2,500 owners across 34 automotive brands. Those surveyed own a particular brand's vehicle or have owned one in the last five years. Participants that interacted with a brand's dealership were asked additional questions about their trust in that store.
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