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Buyers give GM, Ford top marks |
Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. bucked an industry-wide decline in consumer satisfaction, and the automakers' Lincoln-Mercury and Buick brands were tops with buyers, according to a report released today.

Lincoln-Mercury and Buick received the highest customer-satisfaction scores and topped an annual list of automakers for the first time, gains that coincided with steep declines by Korean and Japanese automakers, notably Toyota Motor Corp.

Chrysler Group LLC, meantime, continued a history of poor scores; its Dodge and Jeep brands were at the bottom of the list, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which was founded by the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business.

The report provides fresh evidence that American automakers are making progress shedding perceptions that their vehicles are inferior to imports, and the results likely will be used by the companies to try to boost sales and market share.

"It's important in that the scores provide (Ford and GM) with a very positive story to tell," said Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at IHS Automotive in Lexington, Mass. "This is the kind of thing that will be in ads and marketing campaigns. It's interesting that three of the top five are domestic brands. That's terrific."

Overall, customer satisfaction dropped 2.4 percent to 82, said the report, which measured automakers on a 0-to-100 scale.

Lincoln-Mercury topped the list with a score of 89, the brand's highest tally ever, followed by Buick at 88. Tied at 86, BMW AG, Mercedes-Benz Cars and Cadillac rounded out the top five.

"It's not a surprise to see customers responding positively to Buick and its modern family of vehicles, beginning with Enclave and continuing with LaCrosse and now the new Regal," said Buick spokeswoman Dayna Hart. Detroit News

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