Americans' level of satisfaction with their new cars is at its lowest point in more than a decade, and experts are blaming a record number of recalls and rising prices. The results of a national survey of more than 4,000 car buyers released today show an overall satisfaction level of 79 out of 100, NBC News reports. That's a 3.7% decline from 2014 and the lowest score since 2004. Of the 27 auto brands tracked by the survey, 15 showed a decline in customer satisfaction. Only two—Acura and BMW—showed any increase in satisfaction. CBS News reports the worst-rated cars—Fiat, Chrysler, and Jeep—are all owned by Fiat Chrysler, which also owns the low-scoring Dodge.
The 64 million autos recalled last year appear to have hurt customer satisfaction. The founder of the survey tells NBC it's "alarming that so many [cars] have quality problems." And the increasing cost of cars—the average price is now more than $33,000—is coming as a surprise to people buying their first automobile in a decade. "We really become unhappy when we find any defect or are told we have to take our car in to have some kind of recall taken care of, even if it doesn't cost us anything," the director of the survey tells NBC. Overall, customers tend to be more satisfied with Asian- and European-made cars than their American-made counterparts. (Read more cars stories.)