Early EV Adopters Forgive Reliability Problems; What About When We All Have One?

You can’t say electric vehicles as a category did poorly in the latest customer satisfaction study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index — after all, the all-EV Tesla brand tied with Lexus, Toyota’s luxury division, as the No. 1 luxury brand.

Yet owners gave EVs the highest scores in only a narrow couple of attributes, said Forrest Morgeson, associate professor of marketing at Michigan State University, and director of research emeritus at the ACSI organization.

The lack of broader appeal could be a concern in the longer term, as the whole auto industry switches over to electric vehicles, he said.

“EVs must improve before automakers can justify the price differential for a broader audience,” he said. EVs were No. 1 in the survey, in the sub-categories of Technology and in Warranties, Morgeson said.

The bad news is, EVs ranked last for dependability and customer expectations for reliability, and they have the highest complaint rate, according to the survey.

“The really important thing with these new technologies — any new technology — is the customer problems that emerge,” Morgeson said in a phone interview.

“Some are because the technology is new, and the manufacturers are still working out the bugs. Some are because the customers themselves have difficulty learning the technology they have purchased,” he said.

In the American Customer Satisfaction Index 2022-2023 Automobile Study, which was published Aug. 22, buyers rated their approval of Tesla and Lexus at 83, on a 100-point scale, followed by GM’s Cadillac, at 82.

Among mass-market brands, Toyota was No. 1 with a score of 84, followed by Subaru (82), and Honda (81). The study is based on interviews with 8,941 customers.

Morgeson said there’s plenty of precedent where respondents register complaints about a purchase, but at the same time express a high degree of overall satisfaction.

“This is not something totally uncommon in what we see. Ultimately, what we do is measure existing customer satisfaction with what they purchased. Overall, they’re quite happy with their purchases,” he said, regarding EV buyers.

In the case of electric vehicles, part of the reason for this seeming disconnect is that EVs buyers are still relatively early adopters, who are interested in the technology and highly motivated to own an EV, and therefore, likely to be ready to forgive some problems.

It remains to be seen whether that’s still the case as EV ownership becomes more common, and when every brand has electric vehicles.

“Customers will sort themselves out,” Morgeson said. “At this point, with the lower number of choices you have with EVs now, there is a learning curve at play here.”

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top