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The Lexus Hybrid Drive is displayed at the International Car Show in Brussels, Belgium - 


Bob Moon: And from the kick you while you're down file, more bad news for Detroit automakers. A survey out this morning finds that U.S. nameplates are losing ground to foreign luxury brands in customer satisfaction. As Marketplace's Dan Grech reports, that doesn't bode well for the future.

Dan Grech: Customer satisfaction measures what a company has done for -- or to -- a consumer.

Claes Fornell: But it also tells what the consumer will do in return, in the future.

That's Claes Fornell, creator of the American Customer Satisfaction Index. He says the gap between Japanese and U.S. car brands is widening. In today's index, Toyota and Honda took over the number two slot from Buick and Cadillac.

Fornell: The ones with lower satisfaction will have to devote more resources, incentives, price promotions and the like. And it's really something that they can ill afford.

In the top spot, it's a tie between Lexus and BMW. The survey looked at 22 brands. Chrysler's Dodge and Jeep were at the bottom.

The news is not all gloomy. Overall customer satisfaction with automobiles is at its highest point since the survey started 13 years ago.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.