Nissan, Lexus defend top spots in 2020 study


The Nissan brand scored at the top among non-luxury brands in the 2020 Automotive Reputation Report.

Subaru, Toyota, Ford and Mini rounded out the top five for 2020, the second year for the report. ranks 18,000 automotive brands and dealerships in the U.S. on a scale of 0 to 1,000 based on visibility, sentiment and engagement.

The scores are measured using online data reviews, listings, search results, social media and customer engagement on Google, Facebook, and Edmunds.

The Nissan brand finished with a reputation score of 681 compared with 672 in 2019.

Mazda took the last-place spot, with 25 fewer points than last year at 548, replacing Mitsubishi on the bottom of the non-luxury list.

Lexus was the highest-ranking luxury brand in the U.S. with a 673 score, up one point from 2019.

Tesla ranked in the bottom three with the lowest rate for responding to negative reviews and the lowest engagement scores. Tesla scored 520, down 29 points from 2019.

Cadillac, at 504 points, and Hyundai’s Genesis brand, 366 points, were the only brands finishing below Tesla in this year’s report. It was Genesis’ first appearance in the index.

Among large U.S. dealership groups, Hendrick Automotive Group posted the highest average reputation score per dealership, at 803 points and 99 percent engagement, up from its 2019 scores of 722 and 91 percent engagement.

The highest-ranked public dealership group was AutoNation with a score of 717, up from last year’s 704.

For dealerships to make the Top 100 list, they must score 866 or higher, 272 points above the industry average. Kimber Creek Ford of Pine River, Minn., was on top and Hendrick Lexus Charlotte in North Carolina was second.

Ali Fawaz, managing director at, said that although most standings stayed the same from the 2019 report, the analysis uncovered a new trend concerning the hygiene of dealerships.

Reviews concerning personal health and safety have grown by 100 percent since the pandemic hit, according to the latest report, released Monday.

A year ago there was nothing in the data that expressed concern about consumer health and safety when entering a dealership, Brad Null, head of data science at, told Automotive News.

This is the second year that has conducted the study and the first year that wearing masks, cleanliness of facilities and offering contactless delivery options have influenced dealership reputation scores.

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