Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lexus and Buick Top 2007 Vehicle Dependability Study

The recent 2007 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) conducted by J.D. Power and Associates shows that Toyota Motor Corp.'s Lexus luxury division and General Motors' Buick brand ranked as the highest vehicle nameplates in terms of dependability. J.D. Power and Associates said that this is "the first time that another brand ties with Lexus for the highest-rank position."

So how does J.D. Power and Associates rank these vehicles? Well, J.D. Power staff based their rankings for the 2007 Vehicle Dependability Study by measuring the problems stated by vehicle owners in three years of ownership. J.D. Power calculates these problems with the unit called "problems per 100 vehicles" or PP100. J.D. Power and Associates conducted a survey from more than 50,000 owners and gathered the data from January to April 2007. Among the tested vehicle brands, Buick and Lexus scored a tie with only 145 PP100. This only shows that Lexus offers high quality auto parts like Lexus ball joints. Other brands like Cadillac, Mercury and Honda also performed well in the PP100 ranking.

"With three non-premium nameplates -- Buick, Honda and Mercury - ranking within the top five, and particularly with Buick tying with Lexus for the top rank, consumers seeking a vehicle with strong dependability have good choices at various price levels. Consumers don't necessarily need to pay premium prices to obtain high quality and dependability." said Neal Oddes, director of product research and analysis for J.D. Power and Associates.

Oddes added: "Automakers may reap numerous benefits from producing dependable vehicles - not only in higher residual values, decreased warranty costs and opportunities for remarketing their vehicles, but also in higher customer satisfaction and increased likelihood of customers recommending or purchasing newer dependable models."This is why it is especially important for automakers to successfully launch new vehicle models with high initial quality and appeal -- models that perform well in these regards tend to exhibit particularly strong dependability later in their life cycle."

J.D. Power and Associates also ranked vehicle models for each segment. Toyota's Lexus brand dominated the list and earned five segment awards including the GS 300/GS430 (Midsize Premium Car), GX 470 (Midsize Premium MAV), LS 430 (Large Premium Car), LX 470, (Large Premium MAV) and the SC 430 for the Premium Sporty Car segment.

Toyota models also performed well in the segment awards. The Japanese automaker obtained four awards for the RAV 4 and Sequoia sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and Tacoma and Tundra pick up truck models. Other brands in the list that earned segment award include Ford, Honda Oldsmobile, Buick, Chevrolet, Infiniti, Mazda and Scion.
Oddes concluded: "As owners experience vehicle problems -- particularly ones that require components to be replaced -- they are less likely to repurchase or recommend their current model. Automakers can improve upon customer loyalty by working closely with their component suppliers to monitor quality, since failure of a component ultimately reflects upon the quality of the vehicle brand in the minds of consumers."

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