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Australian drivers most satisfied with Japanese cars

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2002 – November 2016, average quarterly sample n=13,358 Australians 14+ rolling monthly

Nothing satisfies Australians like our cars – especially if that car is Japanese, Roy Morgan Research shows. Over nine in 10 drivers are satisfied with their current make of vehicle, and Japanese makes (lead by Lexus) dominate the Customer Satisfaction leaderboard. 

Across all 35 categories in the Roy Morgan Customer Satisfaction Awards, Car Manufacturers have the highest overall rate of customer satisfaction. 92 percent of drivers report being very or fairly satisfied by their current vehicle make—well above the industry norms for banks and super funds, telecommunications and utilities providers, retailers and supermarkets, airlines and hotels.

A division of Toyota, Lexus leads the way with 96 percent of its drivers satisfied. As winner of the Car Manufacturer of the Year Award in 2014 and 2015, Lexus now looks set to make it a hat trick in 2016.

Tied in second spot, fellow Japanese manufacturers Mazda and Subaru satisfy 95 percent of their owners. While Subaru has long been among the leaders of Customer Satisfaction, Mazda has grown steadily and emerged from the pack over the last few years.

Top 15 Automotive Brands by Proportion of Drivers Satisfied

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2015 – September 2016, sample n=42,123 Australian drivers. Car manufacturers with fewer than 100 drivers in sample have been excluded.

Six manufacturers are tied with 94 percent satisfaction among drivers, including Japanese brands Toyota, Honda, Suzuki and Isuzu UTE, South Korean Hyundai and German Mercedes-Benz—the 2012 Customer Satisfaction Award winner.

93 percent of Australians behind the wheel of a Land Rover or Mitsubushi are satisfied, with Kia and Nissan drivers spot on average with satisfaction scores of 92 percent.

Volkswagen, Audi, Citroën, Peugeot and 2013 Award winner Volvo also gratify over 90 percent of their drivers. The second and third most common cars on our roads, Ford and Holden each score a respectable 89 percent satisfaction rate.  

New Car Purchase Intentions - November

While there are over 15 million satisfied drivers across the country, there are also over 540,000 who are dissatisfied with their current car brand—and they’re eager to replace it. Dissatisfied drivers are twice as likely as others to intend to buy a new car within the next year (7 percent). That’s almost 40,000 imminent buyers in the market with a particular need to make a more careful choice this time around.

Overall, the number of Australians planning to buy a new car in the next 12 months rose marginally in November to 569,000. The total number of prospective buyers over the next four years was unchanged since October at 2,264,000.

New car buying intentions to November 2016

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January 2002 – November 2016, average quarterly sample n=13,358 Australians 14+ rolling monthly

Jordan Pakes, Industry Director – Automotive, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“In today’s ultra-competitive new car buyer market, ensuring your existing customers remain satisfied is the first step towards securing potential long-term loyalty, advocacy and future sales. When looking at acquisition and retention costs, most sources say it costs between four to 10 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep one (and often a repeat buyer will spend more money than a new one). Brands with large volumes of existing owners would therefore do well to ensure this owner base remains satisfied to increase the likelihood of repurchase.

“As well as repurchase from the owners themselves, high satisfaction also generates positive word of mouth and brand advocacy. Roy Morgan finds that 55 percent of new car buyers seek advice from family and friends regarding their next car.

Despite these high levels of Customer Satisfaction in the industry, less than half of all new car buyers have nominated the same make for their next purchase. The right model mix is essential to securing long-term clients by meeting their evolving life-stage and style. Conversely, competitor brands need to understand how buyers’ changing needs and attitudes create opportunities for conquest with suitable vehicles.

2016 is expected to set another record for new car sales in Australia and with as many near-term buyers in the market as there were 12 months ago, it looks like 2017 will be another strong year ahead for the industry.” 

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%