An Analysis of Online Sentiment and Consumer Reviews for More than 16,000 Dealerships — and How Online Reputation Drives Sales Volume

Today’s auto shopper finds a dealership to buy or service a vehicle online, and they rely on information from search results, online reviews and social media communities to help inform their decisions.

This means that it’s essential for OEM brands and dealers to build and maintain a stellar online reputation.
Dealers who proactively manage their online presence are more likely to show up higher in search, and those who neglect their online reputation will struggle to compete.

To create the 2019 Automotive Reputation Report,’s data science team applied artificial intelligence, machine learning and sentiment analysis to unstructured text of reviews and other online sources from 16,000 dealerships.

The outcome delivers rankings of the top OEM Brands, Dealer Groups and the top 100 Dealerships in 2019, and how others can develop a winning strategy to connect with more customers and increase sales and service.

Key findings include:

  • Lexus has the highest average Reputation Score (700+) for OEM Brands, along with the most consistent retail dealer locations.
  • Lincoln is generating some of the most favorable consumer sentiment within the industry.
  • Consumer review volumes are the greatest for Toyota retail dealers among all OEM brands.
  • The poorest response rate to consumer reviews and engagement in the industry is held by Tesla.
  • Top Dealer Groups include AutoNation and Hendrick; Ford and Lincoln represent 40% of the Top 100 Dealerships.
  • It is well known that Google is the leader in search. Our findings conclude that Google also dominates in online review volume, further reinforcing the need for brands and dealers to become committed to managing their online reputation.