Hyundai, Jeep, Kia dealer repair shops rank worst


Car dealerships have wildly varying customer satisfaction ratings when it comes to auto repair prices, wait times and overall service, with Hyundai, Jeep and Kia scoring the worst, according to the latest survey from Consumer Reports released Wednesday.

Jeep customers reported that repairs weren’t done right the first time, and Kia customers downgraded their experience based on poor communication, according to the survey.

Kia told Consumer Reports that high sales volumes in the U.S. has pushed service capacity to unmanageable levels, and the company is working to address the issue.

Eric Mayne, a Stellantis spokesman, told the Free Press that the company, which makes Jeep, uses the ratings to improve.

“We regularly consult third-party survey information for greater insight into customer experience,” he said. “However, we also compile data from multiple internal sources. As such, we are constantly monitoring and responding with actions to improve. We rely more heavily on this information, which may conflict with third-party results, as it draws from all our customers.”

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Ford, Mercedes, Nissan also near bottom

Stellantis has taken pride in customer satisfaction improvement in recent years, based on other studies.

Down near the bottom of the rankings, Ford tied with Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen and Nissan. Ford scored low on repair pricing and time to complete. The Free Press left a message for Ford seeking comment.

While this survey specifically excluded warranty and recall work, repair backlog created by those issues can directly impact overall service, Consumer Reports told the Free Press. Ford CEO Jim Farley has said the automaker is making progress on quality related to recalls and warranty repairs but more work remains.

A year ago, Ford ranked among the worst in the J.D. Power Customer Service Survey of 2020-22 vehicles.

Customers love independent repair shops

The survey also measured honesty, price, work quality, communication about the repair, whether the problem was fixed the first time, accuracy of price estimates, perks during service such as a loaner vehicle, willingness to negotiate price, discounts and repair guarantees. These out-of-pocket repairs are not recalls, warranty fixes or maintenance updates such as windshield wiper blades but, rather, problems related to worn out or broken parts.

Overall, consumers ranked independent repair shops the best, followed by Goodyear, AAA Car Care Plus, Midas, Christian Brothers Automotive and Firestone Complete Auto Care. The top dealership scores were Acura, Lexus, Mazda, Volvo, Toyota, Tesla and Honda.

General Motors dealerships made up the middle of the pack with GMC, Buick, Chevrolet, Audi, BMW, Dodge, Subaru and Cadillac.

The data is based on experiences of 10,973 Consumer Reports members with 11,670 repairs at 36 auto repair chains, independent shops and dealerships. Participants involved have no affiliation with any company but, rather, subscribe to the nonprofit magazine and submit all sorts of data for evaluation in studies that have been conducted since 1936. These are consumers who invest in safety studies and comparative research, Consumer Reports noted.

“You can plan for regular maintenance, both in terms of what it costs and how long your car will be out of service,” John Ibbotson, chief mechanic at the Consumer Reports CR’s Auto Test Center, said in a news release. “Repairs are usually unexpected, so it’s important to have access to a shop you can rely upon to get you back on the road.”

“A great way to find a shop you can trust for repairs is by getting routine maintenance done at the same place consistently, whether at a dealership or independent shop,” he said. “That way you can establish a relationship with the shop’s staff, and its mechanics can get to know your car and keep an eye on developing problems before they become bigger, more expensive issues.”

Here are some highlights from the Consumer Reports car repair survey:

  • The older the car, the less likely its owner was to take it to a dealership for repairs.
  • Independent shops received the highest scores for satisfaction with price, while dealerships tended to score lowest. Nearly all dealerships, except Acura and Tesla, scored the lowest possible rating for price.
  • Independent repair shops rated favorably for their willingness to negotiate price.
  • 68% of the participants said their repair was completed in a day or less, and 91% said the work was completed within the time frame the shop initially predicted.
  • The median repair price was nearly $700.
  • Consumers rated independent shops high for trust, reasonable prices, reputation and knowledgeable mechanics. Consumers praised dealerships for comfort — defined by clean, attractive spaces and the availability of loaner vehicles.

Dealerships provide factory warranty and recall repairs or “service campaigns,” paid for by automakers, Consumer Reports said. “But dealer service departments are also a good option when your car has a problem that requires special tools, diagnostic equipment or expertise you’re not likely to find anywhere else.”

Parts are factory-original at dealerships, and may be requested at independent shops, too. Independent shops are more likely to bargain over repair prices.

“If you’re someone who doesn’t keep a car until the end of its useful life, a dealership service record certainly won’t hurt the resale value,” Ibbotson said. “That’s because people take comfort in knowing that the car has been serviced by technicians trained specifically for that type of vehicle.”

Consumers most likely to visit dealerships for repairs owned Tesla (89%), Cadillac (61%), Audi (54%), Ram (54%) and Subaru (52%), the survey said. Consumers most likely to see repair service outside the dealership owned Chevrolet (43%), Hyundai (40%), Jeep (39%), Chrysler (31%) and Dodge (29%).

Earlier this month, Ford announced that 54% of its auto technicians must complete their training by April 1 or the company would not reimburse dealers for certain customer repairs. The company is working to complete air bag review of vehicles that may have had equipment checked but not fixed or replaced with safe equipment.

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: 313-618-1034 or [email protected]. Follow her on X at @phoebesaid


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