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LONDON, June 4 /PRNewswire/ --
- Porsche Ranks Highest among Nameplates in U.S. Initial Quality Study
for a Third Consecutive Year
The Mercedes-Benz Sindelfingen, Germany, plant receives the Platinum
Plant Quality Award, while two other German plants also receive awards,
according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 U.S. Initial Quality
Study(SM) (IQS) released today.
The Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Sindelfingen, Germany, receives the
Platinum Plant Quality Award for producing vehicles yielding the fewest
defects and malfunctions. Averaging just 33 problems per 100 vehicles
(PP100), the plant produces the Mercedes-Benz CL-Class, CLS-Class, E-Class
Sedan, E-Class Wagon and S-Class. Plant awards are based solely on defect and
Porsche's Stuttgart, Germany, plant, which produces the Porsche 911,
receives the Silver Plant Quality Award for the Europe region. The BMW
Regensburg, Germany, plant, which produces the BMW 3 Series earns the Bronze
Quality Plant Award.
For a third consecutive year, Porsche tops the overall nameplate
rankings, averaging 87 PP100. Following in the rankings are Infiniti (which
improves from 9th rank position in 2007), Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota,
"Porsche continues its steady improvement and has succeeded in distancing
itself from its second-ranked competitor to a greater degree in 2008 -- by a
gap of 11 PP100 -- compared with 3 PP100 in 2007," said Brian Walters, vice
president of Europe, Middle East and Africa operations at J.D. Power and
Associates. "Mercedes-Benz also continues to make gains in initial quality,
improving by 7 PP100 since 2007, and garnering two model-level awards for the
CLK-Class and E-Class."
Other 2008 Plant Quality Award Recipients
Among North and South American plants, the Toyota plant in Baja
California, Mexico, which produces the Toyota Tacoma, achieves the Gold Plant
In the Asia Pacific region, Toyota's Fujimatsu, Japan, plant, which
produces the Toyota Prius, receives the Gold Plant Quality Award.
2008 U.S. Initial Quality Study Findings
The U.S. Initial Quality Study serves as the industry benchmark for
new-vehicle quality measured at 90 days of ownership. The study is used
extensively by vehicle manufacturers worldwide to help them design and build
better vehicles and by consumers to help them in their vehicle purchase
decisions. Initial quality has been shown over the years to be an excellent
predictor of long-term durability, which can significantly impact consumer
purchase decisions. The study captures problems experienced by owners in two
distinct categories -- quality of design and defects and malfunctions.
Initial quality in the automotive industry has improved significantly in
2008, with substantial gains demonstrated by nearly three-fourths of the
36 ranked nameplates. Overall quality improves to 118 PP100 in 2008, down
from 125 PP100 in 2007.
"Due to some strong new-vehicle launches, in addition to a continued
reduction in the level of defects and malfunctions, overall quality improves
by 6 percent in 2008, compared with 2007," said David Sargent, vice president
of automotive research at J.D. Power and Associates. "This gain is driven not
only by strong advances from many of the high-volume brands such as
Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, but also by very significant improvements by many
other automakers. This industry-wide improvement is a testament to the effort
that automakers are putting into listening to the voice of the customer, and
the hard work they have undertaken to integrate that feedback to design,
engineer and manufacture better-quality vehicles. From working closely with
the industry, we see the importance that is placed on initial quality.
Vehicle manufacturers and consumers alike are reaping the rewards of this
The study finds that 86 percent of the overall improvement is due to
advances in eliminating defects and malfunctions. Minimizing design problems
remains a major challenge for the industry, particularly since new
technology, such as navigation and entertainment devices, is becoming
increasingly common in today's new vehicles.
"As consumer demand for new and more advanced wireless communication,
navigation and audio technology continues to grow, manufacturers face
challenges related to how well these systems are integrated into their
vehicles," said Sargent. "In particular, issues with difficult-to-use audio
and entertainment controls and voice command recognition failure are among
the top ten problems most frequently reported by customers. Since hands-free
communication for drivers will become a mandate in more and more areas
throughout the United States, this will need to be an area of continued focus
The study also reflects that new-vehicle sales patterns in 2008 have
shifted away from the largest models and toward smaller models.
"This shift in sales preferences among new-vehicle buyers is in part a
response to rapidly increasing fuel prices," said Sargent. "The good news for
consumers in this difficult environment is that they can downsize with
confidence, as there are many models with high initial quality in the
smaller-vehicle segments. J.D. Power and Associates forecasts that 28 new
compact-vehicle models will launch by 2010, and it will be particularly
important for manufacturers to ensure high initial quality in these
2008 U.S. IQS Ranking Highlights
Honda models capture three segment awards -- more than any other
nameplate in the 2008 study -- for the Civic, CR-V and Fit. Garnering two
segment awards each are: Chevrolet (Malibu and Silverado LD); Dodge (Dakota
and Durango); Infiniti (EX-Series and M-Series); Lexus (LS and RX); and
Mercedes-Benz (CLK-Class and E-Class). The Porsche 911 has the fewest quality
problems in the industry, with just 67 problems per 100 vehicles. Also
receiving segment awards are the Ford E-Series, Lincoln Navigator, Mazda MX-5
Miata, Pontiac Grand Prix Sedan and Toyota Sequoia.
"In past years, automakers have frequently struggled to achieve very high
initial quality with new models," said Sargent. "With product launches and
redesigns often being problematic for manufacturers from a quality
standpoint, it is particularly impressive that the Chevrolet Malibu and
Infiniti EX-Series achieve such high levels of quality that they receive
awards in their launch year."
Audi posts the largest improvement in ranking, moving from 26th place in
2007 to 10th in 2008.
The 2008 U.S. Initial Quality Study is based on responses from more than
81,500 purchasers and lessees of new 2008 model-year cars and trucks
surveyed after 90 days of ownership. The study is based on a 228-question
battery designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate
problem determination and drive product improvement.
About J.D. Power and Associates
Headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., J.D. Power and Associates is a
global marketing information services company operating in key business
sectors including market research, forecasting, performance improvement,
training and customer satisfaction. The company's quality and satisfaction
measurements are based on responses from millions of consumers annually. J.D.
Power and Associates is a business unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies (NYSE: MHP) is a leading
global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial
services, education and business information markets through leading brands
such as Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek and J.D. Power
and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries.
Sales in 2007 were US$6.8 billion. Additional information is available at
Media Relations Contacts:
J.D. Power and Associates
Troy, Michigan USA
J.D. Power and Associates
Westlake Village, California
No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in
this release without the express prior written consent of J.D. Power and
Multimedia Available: To view and download supplementary charts, photos,
video, audio, text, and graphics please visit J.D. Power and Associates'
Enhanced News Release at http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/jdpower/33527/
Web site: http://www.jdpower.com