Consumers are slightly more satisfied with major manufactured goods this year than they were in 2001, according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) produced by the University of Michigan Business School's National Quality Research Center. Out of a possible 100, manufacturing durables increased from 78.7 in 2001 to 79.0 in 2002. The high watermark for customer satisfaction was 79.8 in 1995.

In the current ASCI, scores for all four sectors in the manufacturing durables category remained the same as last year. Household appliances held steady at 82, consumer electronics at 81, automobiles at 80 and personal computers at 71.

For the third consecutive year, the automobile industry matched its record-high of 80. Within the auto sector, BMW, Buick and Cadillac scored highest with ACSI scores of 86. On the other hand, Dodge, Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac and Hyundai scored the lowest at 78. Mazda and DaimlerChryler's Jeep division had the largest jumps in improvement, at 3.8% and 3.9%, respectively.

Kenmore, Maytag and Whirlpool scored the highest ASCI in the household appliance category, each with a score of 83. General Electric had a score of 82. The average score for the sector was 82.

While the overall ACSI score for personal computers remained the same as last year, customer satisfaction with PCs has dropped 9.0% from 1994, when ASCI was first measured. Dell is the industry leader with a score of 76, a decrease of 2.6% from the previous year. Apple has a score of 73, Gateway scored 72, Hewlett-Packard scored 71 and Compaq scored 68.