Porsche, Lexus and Toyota named best

The Hyundai Tucson was picked as the least problematic compact in the J.D. Power and Associates survey.


Don’t we say that the first impression is always the best one? What better than an inquiry on buyers’ perception in regards to the quality of their new vehicle?

Dozens of surveys on automotive quality and customer satisfaction are completed each year. My favourite remains the one by J.D. Power and Associates, which surveys consumers 90 days after their purchase.

The Initial Quality Study reveals, first and foremost, the dealers’ ranks after analysis of the number of “problems per 100 vehicles” (PPV).

These PPV are reported by more than 63,000 responding clients that note not only the failures and defects that occur within the first 90 days of vehicle usage, but also its ergonomics and technological integrity. If the motorist must spend two hours trying to figure out how the audio system works, we can bet he won’t give it a good score.

The Toyota Corolla kept its hold on the compact car category in the J.D. Power and Associates survey.

The average recorded for 2006 is 124 problems per 100 vehicles. Who has the least? Porsche, with 91 PPV, is it at the top of the charts. The German manufacturer is tailed by Lexus with 93 PPV. As a matter of fact, Lexus, along with Toyota (106 PPV), have been at the head of the list for years.

Oh, but here’s a surprise: this time Toyota is topped by Hyundai, which recorded only 102 PPV, good enough for the third position. Look at how much progress the Korean manufacturer has made over the past two decades, the same one who tortured us with its Pony and Excel!

By no means do I wish to list all of the 37 brands that compose the North American automotive landscape, but here are some of the specs:

• Jaguar takes the 5th rank (109 PPV), just in front of Honda (110 PPV). Acura must settle for the 10th position.

• Cadillac is the American brand that is least “problematic,” which earns it 7th place (117 PPV).

• If the American brands GMC, Chrysler, Lincoln and Chevrolet record fewer problems per 100 vehicles than average, it isn’t the case for Ford, Saturn, Dodge, Pontiac, Buick, Jeep and Hummer, all of which position themselves above the industry’s average.

• The Audis, Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs of this world, respectively, occupy the 18th, 25th and 27th ranks, above the industry’s average with 130, 139 and 142 PPV.

• Down at the bottom of the charts, let’s note the failures of Saab (163 PPV), Suzuki (169 PPV), Hummer (171 PPV), Volkswagen (171 PPV) and Land Rover (204 PPV).

The Initial Quality Survey reports also the “good shots” by vehicle category. No surprise: this second chart still has Toyota/Lexus at its top. Thus, out of a possibility of 19 titles, the Japanese manufacturer “drives” off with 11: compact car, midsize car, midsize SUV, full-size SUV. In fact, it would be shorter to list what it didn’t win!

The eight other titles go to American vehicles (Pontiac Grand Prix, Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Silverado and Chrysler Town & Country), as well as Asian manufacturers (Kia Rio, Mazda MX-5 and Hyundai Tucson). Only one European representative: Porsche, with its Cayman.

If we take into consideration vehicles that finished second and third in all those categories, it is easy to notice a pronounced Asian domination: almost two vehicles out of three that show up in the top 3 are Japanese or Korean.

categories and the winners

  • Sub-compact car: Kia Rio / Suzuki Aerio (ex-aequo)

  • Compact car: Toyota Corolla

  • Compact sporty car: Mazda MX-5 (Miata)

  • Compact premium sporty car: Porsche Cayman

  • Midsize car: Toyota Camry • Entry premium car: Lexus IS250/IS350

  • Midsize premium car: Lexus ES330

  • Large car: Pontiac Grand Prix

  • Premium sporty car: Lexus LS430

  • Premium luxury sporty car: Lexus SC430

  • Midsize sporty car: Toyota Solara

  • Compact SUV: Hyundai Tucson

  • Midsize SUV: Toyota Highlander

  • Large SUV: Toyota Sequoia

  • Midsize premium SUV: Lexus GX470

  • Large premium SUV: Lexus LX470

  • Midsize pick-up: Ford Ranger

  • Large pick-up: Chevrolet Silverado

  • Van: Chrysler Town & Country

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