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Widewail is a Burlington, Vermont-based brand reputation agency. It recently published its automotive Brand Scorecard Report for 2024. Widewail scraped over four million Google reviews of more than 17,900 dealerships. Then, it ranked car brand health based on the incidence of positive and negative reviews and the keywords contained within them.

Interestingly, many brands seem plagued by dealership staff-related complaints more than, say, the cost of goods or services.

Cars parked inside a dealership showroom in close floor-level view looking up under a dark colored car
Fahroni via iStock

In the report, brand health scores are influenced by lifetime and monthly review volume, star rating, and review response rate. Lexus earned 95 out of 100 points and top placement, while Genesis landed dead last with only 36 points.

27 of 32 brands have noted weaknesses associated with dealership employees. “Weaknesses” are defined as a Google review aspect being mentioned more or less than the industry benchmark in that area. Aspects include the following keywords:

  • Staff
  • Sales department
  • Service department
  • Finance department
  • Communication
  • Wait times
  • Knowledge
  • Management
  • Professionalism
  • Helpfulness
  • Review response rate

Widewail lists 32 OEMs from highest to lowest brand health scores as follows. We’re also including what the agency considered “weak” areas on its scorecard for each brand:

BrandScore (out of 100)Widewail’s noted “weak” areas
Lexus95Sales dept, staff
Honda88Sales dept, price/cost
Nissan87Sales dept, price/cost
Kia83Sales dept, service dept
VW80Maintenance, wait times
Hyundai80Communication, wait times
Mercedes-Benz78Service dept, communication
Audi77Service dept, loaner car
Subaru77No obvious
Acura71Management, finance dept
Ram70Management, service dept
Mitsubishi70Management, finance dept
Mazda68Price/cost, finance dept
Chevrolet65Maintenance, damage to vehicle
Volvo64Wait times
Chrysler64Warranty, communication
Jeep64Review response rate, professionalism, warranty 
Dodge64Warranty, service dept
Porsche64Communication, loaner cars
GMC63Knowledge, maintenance, wait times
Land Rover63Service dept, loaner cars
Ford60Helpfulness, service dept, maintenance
Jaguar48Warranty, communication, loaner cars
Lincoln40Low review response rate, management, maintenance
Genesis36Service dept, communication, loaner cars

Having worked as a service advisor and operations manager at a shop for more than a decade, I can attest that socially intelligent, caring staff are key to a healthy car brand reputation. Post-pandemic, it’s even more difficult to staff customer-facing businesses properly. Training is essential; the customer may not always be right, but empathy and relationship-focused service go a long way.